Winter weddings abroad are often associated with crisp white isles and snow-capped mountaintops in the distance. In South Africa’s Western Cape, winter weddings don’t have to stand back, though. From venues that boast panoramic views over scenic white mountain ranges, rugged African landscapes and untouched, white sand beaches, couples can choose from a wide range of venues, all within three hours’ drive of Cape Town.
While South African summers are well cherished, the winter options available from Cape Country Routes Collection (CCR) will easily do away those wedding jitters.
CCR (www.capecountryroutes.com) is an independent group of top-tier accommodation and wedding facilities. Kagga Kamma Game Reserve in the Southern Cederberg Mountains is ideal for a customised couples’ getaway and to ‘secretly’ set engagement plans in motion with its particular proposal packages.
Plotting your engagement or want to ‘drop a hint’? Renowned for its luxurious four-star cave and hut suites, a few nights’ stay at the Reserve is enough to kick-start the next chapter in your relationship. The Reserve sets the perfect scene for you or your significant other to pop the question. Start off with a romantic, private pre-setup candlelit dinner against the backdrop of fascinating rock formations and the Cederberg landscape. Or opt for dinner under the stars in the Reserve’s designated Open Air Room. Opt for a scavenger hunt and gourmet picnic that leads to ‘finding’ the key to unlocking the next stage in your relationship. As with most post ‘I do’ expectations, no wedding is complete with a memorable honeymoon, especially for cosy winter evenings. Rest can be assured with various unique packages offered at Kagga Kamma Game Reserve.
Don’t let the winter chill steer you away from the coast. Discover the tranquil setting of Arniston Spa Hotel, located near the southernmost point of Africa. Perfectly set in a sheltered bay, a favourite spot for whales to gather later in winter, the destination makes for great ‘selfies’ and photos with family, friends and your right-hand man. A great option for pre-wedding occasions such as bachelorettes, pre-wedding escape or scouting a wedding venue, the four-star hotel offers an old world charm and breathtaking sea views. The warm hospitality naturally comes along with a weekend tailored to your needs and will certainly help take the load off pre-wedding plans.
If ‘intimate’ is your thing, mark your special day with close family and friends in Cape Agulhas, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet. Agulhas Country Lodge, one of CCRs more quaint four-star wedding destinations, offers spectacular 360-degree sea views from an elevated level and its natural limestone venue. Couples can coordinate a delicious bespoke wedding menu to fit the budget.
The renowned Whale Route offers something for everyone, including the boys. De Hoop Nature Reserve is set within a natural World Heritage Site on the outskirts of Bredasdorp. It forms part of one of the West Coast’s most beautiful and largest nature sanctuaries. Complete with sea, sand dunes, diverse floral and wildlife, it offers the groom-to-be a ‘boundless’ pre-wedding outdoor adventure with his mates.
Ladies looking for a winter spa breakaway along undisturbed shores should consider SPA @ De Hoop’s Whale Away Treat. An exclusive June special rewards guests to an 80 minute pamper session after exciting excursions in the Reserve. Winter also marks the launch of the spa’s new nail treatments, an exciting addition to the destination’s broad-ranging offerings.
De Hoop Collection’s specialist team and in-house wedding coordinator are ready to help plan small to extravagant weddings, vow-renewal ceremonies and other special occasions.
Planning a pre or post wedding road trip to the Cederberg or Cape Whale Route this winter?
Keep these six great tips, courtesy of Cape Country Routes, in mind for a smooth journey:
- Car assessment is key. It may seem a cliché, but check that your vehicle’s nuts and bolts are in tact. It will save time, money and a lot of frustration! Riaan Griesel, owner of Arniston Spa Hotel advises to create a quick checklist for filters, belts, fluid levels, oil, tires, alignment, lights and wipers.
- I spy with my little eye… With a few hours spent together on the road, it can be a good idea to steer away boredom with a few fun things to do on a long drive. “Your first trip together can be ideal to start collecting honeymoon memories on camera”, says CCR spokesperson, Maika Goetze. “It’s certainly also a good time to rekindle childhood car games and to spark further conversation on the road”.
- Road closure check-ins. “While planning your route, check for stop-and-go’s that may throw you off a schedule that entails important appointments”, recommends Kagga Kamma Game Reserve marketing and communication coordinator, Angeline Verster. “You’ll thank yourself afterwards!”
- Charge the way ahead. Make sure your mobile phone is fully charged, phone charger is packed or a charged power bank is on hand, advises Agulhas Country Lodge owner, Phil Fenwick. “There is nothing like being stuck next to a dark, wet road on a cold, winter’s day without being able to call for help”.
- Accommodation booked? These days, it’s not so easy for things to fall into place at the last minute, and booking accommodation ahead of time can save you a lot of hassle. Add an exciting itinerary to your route with activities at pit stops, or a short stay at a guesthouse on the way to your final destination. Try building your own package from the offerings at www.capecountryroutes.com
- Spread the word. “Don’t be shy to reveal the reason for your trip”, says De Hoop Nature Reserve owner, William Stephens. “You might just get extra special treatment and hospitality for being on your last pre-wedding or first post-wedding trip!”