The Hemel-en-Aarde valley is one of those places that more than lives up to its name and reputation. Translated into English as Heaven and Earth, the soaring mountains that encircle this beautiful valley truly feel as though they are stretched heavenwards and it’s a simply magical spot to spend a few days … or more.
We recently spent two nights at High Season Farm which is the perfect spot for some rest and relaxation, or to use as a base to explore all that this beautiful area has to offer. High Season offers 4-star self catering cottages in a farm setting. Hemel-en-Aarde is about 90-minutes outside of Cape Town making it an easy weekend escape if you live in Cape Town and surrounds. You’re also just 10-minutes from the popular seaside town of Hermanus so you are really spoilt for choice when it comes to sightseeing and activities with plenty to keep the entire family happy.
You could spend a good few days just exploring the Hemel-en-Aarde valley with no need to venture further. There are excellent wineries and restaurants, plus a multitude of outdoor and adventure activities from quad biking to zip lining, hiking and MTB trails.
And views at every turn!
Views for miles. Views to die for.
Artists, I’m sure, would be filled with inspiration, and you could be mistaken for thinking you are in an actual painting yourself at times. Once you’ve had your fill of views and wine tastings you can head into Hermanus for whale watching, to walk the famous cliff paths or to spend time at one of the beautiful beaches.
We stayed in The Lodge at High Season Farm which is the original farm house dating from the 1900’s. As the ‘grand old lady’ it occupies a prime position with sweeping views of the farm and valley beyond from the wrap-around stoep and picturesque scenes from each of the bedrooms. The Lodge has recently been refurbished and was an exceptionally comfortable stay and a real home-from-home. With three large bedrooms it can comfortably sleep six guests and there is more than enough space for everyone to relax. Each of the spacious bedrooms is beautifully decorated with high quality linens and very comfy beds, and each looks out onto the rolling hills and grazing cattle. The open plan living areas have a lounge with fireplace and comfy couches, and a dining area with large dining room table. There is also an outdoor seating area at the braai area and a breakfast table in a sunny spot on the stoep. The spacious open-plan kitchen is equipped with everything you need for a self-catering stay or, you can choose to order a delicious breakfast or braai basket from the lovely Jani. There is Wi-Fi in the house (cell phone reception at the farm is patchy), as well as a TV with select DSTV channels.
The stoep was the perfect spot for a quiet morning cup of coffee. As the sun’s rays crept over the mountain peaks and lit up the valley the fragrant honeysuckle surrounding the lodge was filled with a chorus of chattering birds. This was also the perfect spot for our evening sundowners – I just love that quiet stillness that evening brings at the end of a hot day. We were even treated to some spectacular sunsets – the Nguni cattle silhouetted against a vibrant pink and orange sky were a striking sight.
On one of the mornings a huge cloud bank rolled through the valley below bringing welcome cool weather to the vineyards and farms. This slightly cooler climate and the proximity to the ocean all play a role in creating the ideal grape growing conditions for which the valley is well known, and it produces some highly acclaimed wines from more than 15 wine estates including Newton Johnson, Hamilton Russell, Bouchard Finlayson, Creation and more.
We were spoilt with picture perfect weather during our stay which meant that the lure of a trip to the beach was too strong to ignore. After a scenic morning walk around the farm we headed into Hermanus for a few hours at the beach followed by a lovely lunch at Fick’s Pool restaurant on the cliff path. Our afternoons were spent alongside the swimming pool at High Season Farm which is the perfect spot to soak up the late afternoon sun. You could spend hours just watching the Nguni cattle as they move from one lush green grassy spot to another – there is definitely no need for a lawnmower with hungry cattle around! The cattle are free to roam all over the farm, which is why each of the cottages is surrounded by a rustic fence – mostly to protect your vehicle. Apparently the cattle just love wing mirrors – and the more expensive the better! High Season is a working farm and you’ll get a glimpse of the day to day running – expect to see chickens and ducks, farm dogs, the occasional tractor and the sights and sounds of farm life.
There are 8 cottages spread out across the farm ranging from 2-sleepers to 6-sleepers, each with their own charm and style. All of the cottages have ceiling fans for hot summer days and indoor wood burning fireplaces for cooler evenings, as well as patios and braai areas. Most of the cottages welcome well-behaved pets on request. Lemon Tree cottage has a pretty view of the dam and resident ducks while the aptly named Paddock cottage has a lovely sunny patio with views of the paddocks and chickens. The other cottages are Pine Tree, Oak Tree, Wild Olive, Agapanthus and Protea and each is pretty as a picture.
If you’re planning a trip to the Overberg region, or are looking for a relaxed country getaway either as a couple or as a family (or even with your pooch) it’s definitely worth considering High Season Farm.