Bain­skloof

IT’S CLOSE TO CAPE TOWN, FA­MOUS FOR SPEC­TAC­U­LAR SCENERY AND OF­FERS HEAV­ENLY RIVER SWIM­MING. HERE’S OUR CHOICE OF WON­DER­FUL BOLTHOLES ON OR NEAR THIS BOLAND MOUN­TAIN PASS

Getaway (South Africa) - - The Final Cut -

HOW TripAd­vi­sor lists ac­com­mo­da­tion rated by guests, but as much as we love peer re­views, they don’t of­fer a com­par­a­tive voice – so how do we know No. 1 is re­ally the best? Pippa de Bruyn, who has re­viewed ac­com­mo­da­tion for 18 years for the likes of From­mer’s and The Tele­graph, scours TripAd­vi­sor and other on­line sites when re­search­ing a des­ti­na­tion. For Bain­skloof, she cre­ated a longlist of 24 to in­spect. The fol­low­ing made the cut.

WHAT ARE YOU LOOK­ING FOR?

• A gor­geous dinky farm cot­tage (pg 40) • A house and gar­den for dog lovers (pg 40) • Cot­tages in a na­ture re­serve (pg 41) • Best value in the val­ley – with hot tub (pg 41) • Designer lux­ury with catered meals (pg 42) • A ro­man­tic hide­away with a view (pg 42) • A re­mote, rus­tic stone cot­tage (pg 43) • River swims and space to play (pg 43)

WHAT I FOUND ABOUT AC­COM­MO­DA­TION HERE

• Tourism is still in rel­a­tive in­fancy in this area, with an au­then­tic farm­ing com­mu­nity that has ren­o­vated or built a few cot­tages to cater for wed­ding venues such as Olive Rock. • Self-cater­ing dom­i­nated here so TripAd­vi­sor, which hardly fea­tures self-cater­ing, is not much help. Check out Wolse­ley ( wolse­ley­tourism.co.za), the clos­est town (20 min­utes) or, for the full spec­trum of op­tions in the area, in­clud­ing the beau­ti­ful Slanghoek val­ley, visit breedek­loof.com and study op­tions un­der Wolse­ley, Slanghoek and R43; for peer re­views, see book­ing.com. • There is lim­ited stock on the ac­tual Witte River, the crys­tal-clear stream that runs through Bain­skloof’s Limi­et­berg Na­ture Re­serve (and one of the main rea­sons to visit). I looked fur­ther afield, at the north-east­ern end of the pass, par­tic­u­larly prop­er­ties on the Breede River en route to Wolse­ley but also in the Breedek­loof Val­ley as a whole. • Prop­er­ties on the Breede, close to the Witte, still had wa­ter in mid­sum­mer but else­where it dries up in Novem­ber and only starts to flow with the rains (roughly from April). En­quire about river lev­els when you book, if this is im­por­tant. The Witte River flows all year round, and can be­come a rag­ing tor­rent in win­ter. • There are plenty of truly fab­u­lous dog-friendly op­tions.

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