Escape to Kommetjie: My Top 5
In September last year the sibling phone calls began. The great Christmas organisation plan had begun. Children of divorced families; can I get a show of hands – how many of you enjoy Christmas? None? I thought so! The balance of family politics, minute planning so no one parents sees anyone more than the other, the squabbling, it’s a mess, and that’s on a good year!
So by October, when I realised I would need to start planning in detail, I found myself searching for tickets to Cape Town instead of my usual route to Jozi.
In December I escaped, running away from all responsibility and all expectations, to the best little town on the west coast of Africa. Kommetjie.
I didn’t plan it very well (or maybe I planned it brilliantly, by not planning at all), but it was enough that I had air-tickets and a place for the family to sleep – everything else I figured, I would just figure out on the way. And what I discovered – is that figuring it out on the way – that’s the most fun of all!
If you’ve never been, Kommetjie is the other side of the mountain in Cape Town. It has a reputation for being something of a hippy-type artist town, a surfers paradise and (for many Capetonians) it’s quite far because to get there the most direct route is over Ou Kaapse Weg, apparently the 20 minute drive is a deal breaker (yes Jozi people I can hear your scoffing and knee slapping from here). But Kommetjie really is the soul of what you think a small town should be. It’s pretty and full of secret nooks and crannies that will delight you as much as it did me, so let me share some of them with you here.
We stayed in an amazing place called the Upside Down Beach Cottage, about 200 steps from Long Beach which meant everything was pretty much within walking distance, which is great because you really don’t want to be thinking of things like parking and not partaking of the local grape! So try to find accommodation as close to the centre of Kommetjie as possible (we advise looking on www.accommodirect.com/destinations/cape-town/ for your perfect spot).
Ok this place is ridiculous! There is a gorgeous old Cape Duch farmhouse (with the most astoundingly beautiful door) dating back to 1795 which houses a bakery, delectable treats (including amazing biltong), drinks, snacks and a restaurant. Behind this is a collection of shops (think books, clothes) and restaurants (think best sushi ever on your left and best burgers and breakfasts on your right overlooking the wetlands). There is a riding school where you can go for outrides, and even some camels for camel rides around the farm. I mean come on!!! It’s incredible! Why isn’t there a place like this in every town! And the food! Don’t even get me started!
On a Thursday night take a slow stroll up to the Lighthouse Pub and Grill for happy hour. The food is outrageously good, and in any place other than Cape Town the food would be lauded far and wide. But trust us, it’s incredible, and there is pretty much nothing on the menu that isn’t exceptional, though our party of 6 did all have the ribs. Repeatedly. So clearly those were a winner on an epic scale. The drinks are really reasonable too, and having spent a fun night listening to 80’s music, eating ribs and working your way through the drinks menu, you will be glad you listened to us when we said you should rather stay close so that you can walk home!
Saturday morning saw us meandering into town for a browse and to get some wine for the afternoon picnic on the beach. There is a great little store in Erica Road called The Village Place that stocks a lot of Cape wine and of course, artisan home-made bread, cheeses, cold meats, croissants (oh my hat what good croissants), and other treats which are just mandatory on your holiday of indulgence. The food is amazing and well-priced and you really can eat like a king for almost nothing! On the Saturday we were in town (and indeed I believe she is there almost every weekend) there is a lovely woman who sits outside the shops selling her home-made wares to support her family. You have to try her éclairs and milk tarts! Just not when we are in the area, because they are so delicious that I want to buy them all! … In fact upon reflection maybe you should buy them. Especially when I am down, my jeans can only take so much pressure!
Driving towards Kommetjie from Noordhoek on the M65, you will spot Rodgers Fruiterers on the left hand side. When you first spot it you will view the claims to great coffee and smoothies is nothing short of super-dodgy. But it was the plea for pancakes (ok it wasn’t a plea, I lost a bet), which ultimately made me stop. Before you set foot in this store, I want to give you fair warning. It’s not going to be pretty. You will go in determined to walk out with nothing, and you will leave with armfuls! Not an armful. ArmFULLS! I stopped for pancakes.
1 if I could get away with it. I left with coffee from the in-house Barrista (and yes that’s with a capital B – cos he is AMAZEBALLS), 2l of watermelon and cucumber juice so fresh I had actually just watched it get made! A green health smoothie for me (having just gone for a run I felt I just had to try one), 12 pancakes so fresh, thick and hot they dripped from the foil, freshly made bread, home-made cheese from the incredibly huge selection of hand-made cheese bought from the maker herself, a number for the local Breyani maker and some of her samosas, as well as some fresh fruit and veg that were calling me from the moment I walked in! As I said, this is a problem store, bring your bags!
These are of course, just a smattering. Kommetjie is so much more. It’s the beach (which I hope you go to for at least an hour a day), the people who are welcoming and friendly and of course the spirit. Which is serene and beautiful.
Remember to book your accommodation early on www.accommodirect.com/destinations/cape-town/