At Home in Hermanus

by Jared
 * This article first appeared here in the Saturday Citizen

Within South Africa’s Western Cape province, few seaside towns rival Hermanus for its world-class whale watching, wine estates, oysters and fresh ocean air.  The town which started out as a humble fishing village, draws visitors from across the globe to enjoy the pure Atlantic atmosphere, dubbed ‘champagne air’.  Visitors stroll along the dramatic coastal walk alongside the green belt of fynbos, take a dip morning dip in swimming coves, enjoy long lazy days on the sandy beaches, and immerse themselves in the gallery and wine culture.  Hermanus offers the perfect respite to revitalize from the bustle of their demanding lives.

The Hemingway House

On a recent visit, I stayed at the Tuscan-style villa called The Hemingway House.  Ideally situated atop a cliff on the world-famous Hermanus trail, the home offers a slice of heaven amidst proteas and charismatic Cape Sugarbirds overlooking Walker Bay.  It is possibly the largest villa I have ever stayed in at 1078m2 and effortlessly accommodates groups of sixteen.  The home has every creature comfort with six gorgeous bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms, and it boasts three kitchens, two bars, a wine cellar, four lounges, a jacuzzi, and a heated pool – as well as many charming fireplaces and reading nooks to disappear and recharge.  Thoughtful touches throughout the house to make the experience luxurious from Africology bath products to Nespresso coffee machines in each of the bedrooms.

The home’s new owner, a native South African now living in the United States, discovered the villa on a morning run along the exhilarating cliff path and imagined the ultimate retreat for friends and family.  “A private setting that feels like an exclusive hotel all to yourself,” she said.  Inspired by the five-star Amangiri resorts, she tastefully refashioned the home in a timeless, gentle layered style to create an inviting and upscale look in collaboration with designer Ingrid Louw from Il Bespoke.  Natural materials have been used throughout the home, drawing the beauty of the outdoors inside with handcrafted furniture and decor sourced from artisans throughout Africa.

While the home has only recently been introduced as a holiday home, it’s not hard to see why it’s in high demand.  Gracefully perched between downtown Hermanus and Grotto Beach it is ideally located to enjoy the best of the seaside town and the six surrounding wine regions.  Mornings were nothing short of idyllic, sipping a cappuccino on the balcony while watching the pink sunrise, or picnicking on one of the many hidden sandy beaches against the backdrop of the mountains.  In the afternoon, we lounged around the heated pool, protected from the wind in a stone-clad courtyard before with a book plucked from one of the many bookshelves.  Evenings were spent sipping bubbly in the jacuzzi and stargazing and cooking over the capacious outdoor fireplace poolside, before retiring to the wine cellar to swirl an Old Fashioned and relive the day’s events.

The destination was also perfect for work, with a solar inverter system and high-speed internet which enabled me to write uninterrupted from the well-appointed and quiet study.  Oh, and did I mention a stay includes daily weekday house service from Violet – who discreetly makes sure the house is kept in top form? This home is a must-stay for friends and family.  The house is bookable online at

Creation Wines

While at home in Hermanus, you might be tempted to take a short drive into the scenic Hemel-en-Aarde Valley to sip through some of the country’s most premium wines. Answer the call at Creation Wines, a favourite with locals and foreign visitors alike with good reason. Their continuous efforts at innovation, and brilliant hospitality offerings earned them the coveted fourth position in the world, and number one in Africa at the 2023 World’s Best Vineyards Awards.

I took a journey through their recent summer menu titled ‘Cultivating Creation Energy. Carefully designed and approved by doctors, nutritionists, and even a neuroscientist, this fine-dining experience adopts the Ayurvedic lifestyle approach – an age-old philosophy that food is medicine for the body and soul.

Without wanting to give away too much, the journey includes a welcome experience, five chapters and a few other experiential surprises in the mix. Personal highlights are undoubtedly the Duck Breast, Edamame, Fennel, Pistachio Gremolata course paired with the Creation Reserve Pinot Noir… and then a little later a glass of the Creation Syrah, Grenache to complement the ‘Oh so Umami…’ chapter of Bone Marrow, Broth, Capers, Lemon, Cape Seed Loaf. Lastly, a tantalizing combination of Custard, Figs, Num-Num, Almond, and tuiles are served with the Elation – Creation’s Cap Classique. Each of the dishes are paired perfectly with wines from the Creation collection – a thoroughly sensorial experience.

The seasonal menus at the scenic Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge venue are also available as a plant-based option. The experience lasts 2-3 hours and is priced from R1185 per person, all-inclusive. Congratulations also to Creation for their recent Eat Out Award and of course to Chef Eleanor Coetzee who was one of the celebrated chefs who cooked for over 900 of us on the evening of the dinner.

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