Planning a holiday is always exciting, a new city to explore, plenty of time to soak up enough sunshine to last you the rest of the year and of course, the journey on the open road. The only speed bump seems to be whether you are making the smart, green choice about your destination. Now there is a simple solution a mere 2 hours’ drive from Cape Town and nestled into the southern tip of Africa, the Overberg.
Made up of a total of 25 towns and villages, the Overberg is located in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom and home to a plethora of fauna and flora that surpasses even the Amazon Jungle. Consisting of mostly Fynbos species, The Cape Floral Kingdom covers most of the Overberg and is home to over 200 bird species found in the area, including Blue Cranes, Double-Collared Sunbirds, Sugarbirds and African Fish-Eagles.
The oceans are not to be forgotten as they house some of the most magnificent creatures of the blue. The warmer waters of this area plays host to the Marine Big 5 (Southern Right Whales, Great White Sharks, Cape Fur Seals, Indo-Pacific Bottlenose Dolphins and African Penguins) every year and makes for the perfect habitat for a variety of pelagic birds, including Black Oystercatchers, Cape Cormorants, African Penguins and Cape Gannets.
Image courtesy of Villa Felicita, Stanford
Teaming with incredible biodiversity and unique endemic species of fauna and flora alike, the friendly folks of the Overberg have taken it upon themselves to invest in the future of the area. Various Non-profits, sanctuaries and conservation areas have been established in the area to ensure the continued preservation of the unique biodiversity of the area.
With the lovely locals of the Overberg so deeply invested in nature it comes as no surprise that many of the accommodations make it a priority to be environmentally friendly and support community upliftment. Nestled between the majestic mountain ranges and deep blue ocean lies a variety of eco-friendly lodgings to suit every need and astound all.
Image courtesy of Graze Slow Food Cafe
Image courtesy of Stanford Tourism Bureau
When staying in the relaxed villages it is often the smaller details that show the true spirit of the region. The charming hamlet of Stanford shows its true colours with a variety of stunning accommodations situated on the banks of the Klein River with its nearby Bird Sanctuary. The village also offers two very popular markets where locals can buy and sell a variety of home-baked goods, organically grown veggies and free-range animal products.
Image courtesy of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve
Those looking for an added touch of luxury need not worry the Overberg offers accommodation in some of the most pristine Nature Reserves in South Africa. In the expanse of endless hectares of Fynbos, you can find a 5-star eco-paradise with its feet firmly planted in conservation and the development of sustainable life skills of local communities. Right next door you can also find a nature retreat that is aimed at the conservation of its natural surroundings and achieves this by means of solar-power, recycling, clearing of invasive vegetation and implementing other green policies.
Image courtesy of De Hoop Collection
For the few that prefer to leave the hustle bustle far behind and truly immerse themselves in the heart of nature you will be pleasantly surprised. Close to the fishing village of Gansbaai you can choose to camp under the canopy of the Southernmost Forest in Africa and spend your days walking in between ancient Milkwood trees and your nights staring at the starry sky. The forest is expanded each year thanks to a gathering of tree-loving locals that enjoy a festival dedicated to planting indigenous trees and taking in the beauty of the Forest. Some might prefer waking up to the sound of the crashing waves instead of singing birds and they might be interested in heading to the coastal hamlet with the only official double barrel name.
Arniston/Waenhuiskrans offers a small number of cosy accommodations, but the most impressive is definitely the nearby Nature Reserves. Known for an array of outdoor adventures, pristine untouched beaches and biodiversity, the Reserves offer an array of self-catering, camping and luxury lodgings. The Reserves not only hold an impressive collection of bird and antelope species but also includes one of the largest Marine Reserve Areas in Africa which is visited by Southern Right Whales every year.
Image courtesy of Greyton Tourism Bureau
The Overberg also holds the tranquil little town of Greyton, fondly known as the Green Heart of the Overberg. This oak-lined village at the foot of the Riviersonderend Mountains is aiming to be one of the number one eco-friendly towns in South Africa. With several green initiatives underway including one to phase out the use of plastic bags, the village also holds a variety of lovely green accommodations. Taking great care to recycle, use biodegradable cleaning products and make use of renewable energy, some of the accommodations also lend themselves as learning centres with courses on waste management, natural building, upcycling and much more.
When visiting the quaint hamlets and historical villages of the Overberg you are guaranteed 2 things: stunning natural settings and country-style hospitality. Set amongst beautiful landscapes and rooted in nature, the accommodations in the Overberg is a must-visit!
About the Author: Candice Lombard
Twitter: @canexplore ; Instagram: @canexplore
With a background in travel and tourism and passion for nature and networking, Candice Lombard strives to inspire people to travel and explore the world and all its wonders. She has worked on some of the most exclusive local and international eco tourism brands over the past few years, however, at the end of the day she still calls the Overberg her home.