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.
Villiersdorp might still be considered undiscovered from a tourism perspective but, as Brian Berkman says, there are gems here, especially in the Bossieveld area where Pendennis Farm is located, that are worthy of the journey.
Grabouw, with its vibrant food and market scene, is relatively close by, as is Worcester, but there is enough to keep you and your pets happy in Villiersdorp, and especially when you stay at Pendennis Farm just as you leave this important agricultural town.
There are a number of accommodation options available on the farm, which are in converted and updated cottages, but the Container House at Pendennis Farm is newly built from repurposed refrigerated containers and can comfortably accommodate eight people.
The best part is the price, pitched at an affordable R320 per person. This is the sort of location where it may well be affordable to extend a stay, and with your beloved pets with you, there is no reason not to.
Although clearly visible from the exterior, once inside there isn’t much, except for the varying floor levels and the tongue-and-grove look of the walls, to indicate you are staying in a converted container. There are fans to help keep your cool or, if you ask for it, an apple bin can be filled with water for you and a friend to splash in.
For pet owners, the fact that this property is large and entirely fenced means it removes any anxiety about letting your dogs run free while at home.
And, the fact that Pendennis’ Max Schumacher and his fiancée Annabelle work to rescue and re-home dogs, means they are all animal lovers at heart, and that you will be in good company.
The Container House has two bedrooms with double beds; one bedroom with a queen-sized bed, and one with double-bunk beds. There are two bathrooms with loos and shower, and one also has a large tub.
This is the kind of self-catering stay that has all the things travellers need: Wi-Fi, multi-plugs where you want them, comfortable beds and powerful showers. They are also decorated with heirlooms, artworks, photos and collections of old books that are interesting to look at. If you’d like to whip up a feast in the well-stocked kitchen, there are even German-language recipe books for inspiration. All of this makes up for the lack of a TV.
Pink Lady, Lemon Cottage and Lavender Cottage, along with fun Teepee and safari-style tents for fair-weather camping, are also available for rentals. There are gas and wood-braai facilities outside. Also outside and under cover is another large table, but with acid-lime-green painted cane chairs.
The back area is mostly enclosed by a prickly-pear hedge on one side, while the front has shade-cloth covered parking.
Make a point of visiting the dog-friendly walking and MTB trails on the nearby Stettyn Estate, and don’t miss their wine tasting room which has recently been refurbished. Expect great cheese and charcuterie platters. The Mountain Brewing Co is nearby, as well as a few wine estates such as Eagle’s Cliff and Villiersdorp Cellars.
At the Caltex garage (as you depart Villiersdorp from Grabouw side) is Vilko, a convenience store that is very well-provisioned, and will carry everything from home bakes and just-harvested cartons of fruit, to high quality meats and farm and hardware-type implements.
www.pendennisfarm.co.za, firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone +27 72 363 1937
Brian Berkman says that with the recent launch of SunPet rooms at the SunSquare Hotel in Cape Town’s Gardens area, travelling to the city with your cat or dog is now easier than ever.
SunSquare Cape Town Gardens offers pet-friendly rooms with Sealy Pet Beds, and more!
De Waal Park, established in 1895, is a fully walled and gated park, and was one of the city’s first dog-friendly locations. Julie loved to chase and bark at the squirrels once they escaped into a tree. To our great relief, Julie only had pleasant interactions with the many other dogs there whom were also off their leads.
What’s special about De Waal Park is that it is large enough to use for proper exercise (for you and your pet) and has many amenities, from children’s playthings to tables for picnic use. Nearer the top of the park, is a Victorian bandstand that has a pop-up coffee and croissant service. The park’s many trees also have QR codes, so if you want to learn more about them, or indeed donate money to the Friends of De Waal Park, both can easily be achieved with a mobile phone.
A few meters away from the hotel is a charming Italian restaurant, The Woodland Eatery at 8 Breda Street that even welcomed Julie inside. Make a point of eating here when you visit.
A little further afield, on Dunkley Square, is Maria’s, which also invited Julie into the restaurant as the wind was howling, and offered her a raw lamb’s tail bone to munch on as we settled in. The cuisine is Greek, and reservations for this rightly popular restaurant are essential.
In a similar vicinity to Maria’s is The Yard at 6 Roodehek Road, which is a high-energy, vibey and casual eating experience with beer, burgers, wings and pizzas on the menu. Pooches are welcome.
Finding nearby pet-friendly accommodation has been quiet tricky until recently. With the launch of their new SunPet rooms, the SunSquare Cape Town Gardens provides a wonderful amenity for folks travelling with pets. Most impressive is the pet bed made by no less than Sealy. While Julie curled up on the bed, I lay on the floor and rested my head on it to be close to her. That was probably the most comfortable my head has ever been!
SunPet rooms come at a R250 premium, and a R500 returnable deposit is payable. What you get for this, in addition to having your beloved pet with you, is the fabulous bed, branded food and water bowls, a synthetic grass patch, toys, poo bags and, most importantly, vinyl floors, which means keeping the room hygienic is easy. Currently there are five pet-friendly rooms on the hotel’s first floor.
Pets and humans are welcome to dine together on the deep covered balcony at Zepi, the hotel’s buffet and grill restaurant, and from where a generous breakfast buffet is served. Order from the Woof Cuisine menu some Steak Frites (R65) or Paw Licken Chicken (R35). There are purrific items on the menu to order for cats too.
Julie loved being poolside with us. There is a large garden adjacent to the pool, and plenty shade too. We ordered a couple of items from the pool menu, which include pizzas, ranging in price from R120 to R165, and Burgers, at R110. Salads include Caesar and Japanese Crab Salad. It was easy to connect to the Wi-Fi, and we had excellent coverage wherever we were in the building.
Pets need to be on the lead, and under their owner’s control at all times. If you want to go out to the theatre, or to a restaurant that does not welcome pets, with advance notice the hotel will arrange for a pet sitter to stay in your room while you are away. And, if security is a concern, rooms come with large digital safes with plenty room for laptops and the crown jewels. You obviously cannot leave your pet in the room unattended. They also have a vet on speed dial, if necessary.
When the hotel General Manager Richard Keet comes over to greet you and your fur baby, you will soon realise that he must have been a driving force behind the hotel becoming a pet-friendly one. We loved the view of Table Mountain from our window; the plenty and free parking, and a really comfortable king-sized bed in a super clean room and bathroom.