Pets Need a Break too

Luxury travel writer, brian berkman, searches out the fabulous and often affordable options available to you and your pets. Julie, his rescued mixed-breed doggie-daughter, insists on joining them.

Brian Berkman says while Julie loves Greyton’s wide-open spaces, she barks at the many horses, cows and dogs in the village.

The Sonderend Mountain rises above the Hemelsbreed Estate, just a few kilometers outside of Greyton. And with names meaning “without end” and “heaven’s wide”, you get what you expect you will – wide, wide, wide-open spaces and a dwarfing mountain. That Hemelsbreed is just outside Greyton is, for me, one of its most charming features. It means that if you want the vibe of Greyton’s village life, charming as it is, you can easily enjoy all the village has to offer. But if you want only the sound of nearby sheep, horses and birds overhead, you have a choice of three highly recommended accommodation options on the farm.

Although Witpeer Cottage, a one-bedroom cosy cocoon, has a low back wall under the pergola, most dogs of average dexterity will easily be able to jump over the wall. But that there is no fence in front of the cottage, or indeed the other houses on the large farm, means if you want to let your animals run loose you may.

Of course, other people staying on the farm may decide to do the same thing. However, when we visited, the nearby and much larger Wildevy farmhouse was not occupied, and Julie stayed obediently nearby. For reasons I’ve yet to understand, Julie not only barks at other dogs and baboons, both of which she sees plenty of at home, but in Greyton she barked at the many horses that seem to freely roam the streets along with cows happily meandering the Main. We also encountered many other dogs in the village, but most were on the lead like Julie.

Sitting on the deep front stoep (verandah) of the Witpeer cottage, in a deep Adirondack-style timber chair with a comfy cushion, was a wonderful pleasure and we chose to have all our meals outside on the wrought-iron table which looked down into the valley. There is an outside fireplace and braai and most of the time we were sitting close by.

If you don’t choose to self-cater, we can recommend Fiore near the entrance of the Greyton village, which is both a nursery, with a lovely and shaded back area, and a restaurant with a wood-fire pizza oven and a tasty menu. Dogs are welcome too. Nearby Abbey Rose is also excellent.

Greyton is now famous for its Saturday morning market which we have, unfortunately, always missed. We have been there mid-week and taken a gander past the much smaller version where you can get freshly baked breads and pastries along with some fruit and veg. There are bric-a-brac items available for sale too.

And with names meaning “without end” and “heaven’s wide”, you get what you expect you will – wide, wide, wide-open spaces and a dwarfing mountain.

If you are traveling in larger groups, The Wildevy farmhouse accommodates 12 people in total if most in your party are happy with dorm-style loft accommodation. There are three king-sized bedrooms each with an ensuite bathroom although all are not fully private. With a jungle-gym play area, a pool and swings hanging from tall trees, there is much here to keep you busy and equally important, benches under trees and many quiet corners for contemplation within the beautiful environment.

The waterlily covered dam is breathtaking and guests are invited to swim in it or use the little rowboat. Owner Estelle van Loggenberg loves trees and planted over 500 of them when she and her husband bought the farm and restored the properties. Although today there is little trace of it, a devastating fire destroyed many trees and some buildings too. Estelle has decorated all the accommodation to a very high standard and has not only thought hard about what will make the guest experience better, but also provided it.

Wildevy rates are R3000 for six people and R250 per person in the loft. Witpeer Cottage on Hemelsbreed is R1100 per night for two people and even less mid-week. A R100 special pet-cleaning fee is levied.

Julie’s dad and Pringle Bay resident, Brian Berkman, explains why life in his village is so precious.

The number of rescued dogs in Pringle Bay, a mountainous and coastal village and the last bay in False Bay, increased ahead of the Covid lockdown as animal shelters like KAWS were forced to close. The economic devastation and countless deaths caused by Covid will long be remembered, but what we remember is that was also how Julie came to be in our lives.

Friends who lived nearby in Pringle Bay adopted Julie, then called Bumbi, in answer to the shelter’s plea before shuttering. But, with two large golden retrievers already, they tried to find Bumbi another home. Not long after, we invited Bumbi into our home, felt that for us she was a Julie and not a Bumbi, and that is how Julie came into our lives.

That Pringle Bay is a dog-friendly place to visit is a given. Although dogs are only permitted on the kilometer-long beach on the lead, more often than not people ignore the directive and let their dogs run free.

In Pringle Bay, the best place for a pet lover to stay, is at the home of Julie’s first parent, Angela Woodward, a former professional caterer and now someone who supplies and installs fences. Both occupations are relevant as the kitchen in Protea Cottage, her house high on the mountainside of Pringle Bay, has a cook-centric kitchen with everything you will need and plenty you won’t know you’ve always wanted. An example of how well provisioned this kitchen is, is in the selection of coffee-making tools. There are a number of stove-top moka pots, in different sizes, along with French Presses if you prefer plunger coffee. There is a fabulous Smeg hob and stove, a dishwasher, great fridge and then also an indoor fireplace/braai. And, if the mood, season, skill and licence permit it, you could pick mussels from the rocks, catch Rock Lobster and make a paella for a large crowd on possibly the largest such pan you can get.

As a fencing expert, the property is a showcase for what Eco Fence can offer. Locking gates in front of all the doors, perimeter fencing and electric fencing to keep baboons and others out of the property. I venture even the most skittish person will feel fully secure there. And, for additional peace of mind, there is an alarm with perimeter beams linked to local armed response. The fully fenced property means you can allow your dogs free rein.

In Pringle Bay, the best place for a pet lover to stay, is at the home of Julie’s first parent, Angela Woodward, a former professional caterer and now someone who supplies and installs fences.

The open-plan kitchen, lounge and dining room are perfect for a crowd and the rooms can accommodate eight people in four bedrooms. There is one full bathroom with loo and bath, a shower room, a separate loo as well as an outdoor shower with hot and cold water. Outside, there is a sundowner deck with table and chairs, and, at the base of the garden, a timber covered area with two sun loungers.

As a proclaimed biosphere, Pringle Bay is a nature lover’s paradise and a special place to see fynbos and birds, including the very rare Cape Rock Jumper which you will find in Rooiels, a neighbouring village. The Stony Point Penguin colony in Betty’s Bay is a very short drive away.

Places to eat out include the well-known Hook, Line and Sinker for fish, Simply Coffee and 365 for breakfast through to dinner, La Galleria for an excellent bistro menu and HRK, Hanging Rock Kitchen, named after Hangklip mountain in Pringle Bay, for pizza (currently open on Friday and Saturday evenings only).

Bring your own linens to Protea Cottage. A R400 cleaning fee is applied to all bookings. Rates for two people are R1200 per night or for five to six people, R1700 per night. Contact Angela Woodward 083-650-8563 or

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