It was time to get away for a weekend. We have not done this in a while, so we were looking forward to visit the village of Stanford. Deon booked two nights in a quaint little village house and before we knew, it was time to pack our bags.
Stanford was founded in 1857 and named after Sir Robert Stanford who was the owner of the original farm. It has been declared a Heritage Site and it is the third most preserved village in the Western Cape. The village is located on the banks of the Klein River and river cruises are popular in summer.
We had to pack some “padkos” for the two hour’s drive from Durbanville where we live. We took the scenic road along the coast and drove through Gordon’s Bay and then through the small coastal villages of Rooi Els, Betty’s Bay, Pringle Bay, Kleinmond and the much larger Hermanus, popular for whale watching. At last, after almost two hours, we reached our destination.
Our accommodation, called Lavenders Blue, was a beautiful thatched roof cottage with white washed walls and blue framed windows, lots of lavender in the peaceful garden and a huge open fireplace inside – as pretty as a picture. We could not wait to enjoy the fireplace as it was very cold and rainy outside. If you are interested in renting this beautiful cottage, contact Ansie Reitsma.
But, first of all, we had to explore the town. The village is one of a few places in the country with leiwater. Leiwater (channelled water) is water fed to properties in a town for irrigation use. Each property with this channelled water access has a turn every week to use the water. A beautiful mountain watches over this tranquil village with its wide streets and period houses. It is a bird watcher’s paradise, you can go for a 3 km walk along the Klein River (which means small river); go on a boat cruise during which you could spot the Cape Clawless otter or just enjoy the beautiful fynbos vegetation. There is a market square in town where farm markets are held. We strolled down the streets while admiring the beautiful buildings and took lots of photographs. Antique shops; art galleries; old church buildings and a hotel are all part of the scenery.
The town has good restaurants of which Mariana’s Home Deli & Bistro (which has won an award for the best country restaurant); Havercrofts; Table Thirteen and Graze are a few. Springfontein Eats has its own Michelen star team, but unfortunately both Springfontein and Mariana’s were closed until September. The first evening we booked a table at KC’s, but were not impressed with the food or the service.
On Saturday morning we took a leisurely drive along the coast and visited the villages of Gansbaai; Franskraal and Pearly beach. We popped in at Tolbos Bistro in Gansbaai for lunch and had a wow experience, as the food was excellent and the service great. You could do some shark cage diving in Gansbaai, but we didn’t fancy being so close to sharks on a Saturday morning. Back at our cottage on Saturday evening, we decided to order a pizza from Table Thirteen, a local restaurant, rather than having a meal somewhere else. It was a treat enjoying good pizza and wine in front of a cosy fire in our beautiful accommodation.
On Sunday morning it was time to pack up again and head back home. We took our time again, enjoying the beauty of the Overberg and the scenic coastal towns. On our way home we decided that Stanford has the same characteristics of our favourite village, Greyton, situated also in the Overberg. Both are definite contenders for retirement which lies in the near future.