It was our Great Escape! Five days of freedom from deadlines and the frenzy of the city sparked by the Christmas marketing glut that seems to binge earlier each year.
With Cape Town retreating in the review mirror of our new humming-bird blue 2019 Toyota Hilux, we dashed through touristy Hermanus and north along the mountain-fringed coastline, before turning left at the vintage village of Stanford and onto the R326 in our search for Napier, our first surprise stop on our small town writer’s road trip.
Enveloped by calm rolling farmlands as far as the eye could see, we must be forgiven for entertaining wild thoughts of an even deeper escape from the disruption of life in general. How wonderful it would be, we mused, to find a homestead here and simply disappear.
It seems Google maps was as distracted by the rolling peace because it could only find Napier in New Zealand at first shot. Finding my reading glasses, we landed back in the Western Cape both physically and digitally.
Tyre Tracks to Distant Horizons
Napier in the Western Cape is your next destination on the map when looking for a road less travelled. (Apologies to Dr M. Scott Peck for borrowing his book title, but I’m pretty sure he’d approve the likeness of horizons).
It’s the type of town you would miss if you blinked too rapidly, but most likely to become a firm and favorite getaway for travelers looking for small town quirk untainted by technology; tranquil farm stays; and idyllic day trips spent exploring the Cape Agulhas region.
For a mind-watering taste teaser watch the 60 second Explorio clip here, it’s exactly what you will see and provides a wonderful celebration of Napier’s ‘sky line’ and country roads which feature regular sightings of Blue Crane, South Africa’s graceful national bird.
Secret Getaway Far from the Maddening Crowds
Headed towards a newly-opened accommodation establishment; Stellar Overberg Traveller’s Lodge is guaranteed to recall your connection with nature. No big branding, no brash marketing, instead Overberg Traveller’s Lodge is a small town secret which was whispered in our ear. One we are delighted to be able to share with you too.
Originally a working wine farm, Tibor and Doris Tokay, together with their two young children, sold up their home in Switzerland and bought the property in May this year to offer travelers genuine ‘Old World’ hospitality according to the individual visitor’s needs.
Sharing a bottle, made from their own Sauvignon Blanc grapes at the long table of their homestead patio where they so warmly welcomed us, their love of Africa really came to the fore.
Tibor has a strong association with South Africa having spent his childhood here. Doris’ began hers when Tibor first brought her here at 18 years of age, a journey which culminated in them celebrating their wedding vows shortly thereafter. So began their journey of nearly 30 years travelling with their two children through Southern Africa until they chose Napier to settle in as their new life and home.
Swiss Family Robinson in Napier
With admiration, I sat and enjoyed their view which evidenced the hard work and passion they have poured into their wine farm.
The winery has been converted into four double luxury rooms with a circular Boma and long lap pool stretched out before it. A family suite is situated closer to the main farmhouse. Tibor runs tours and day trips for international guests and locals make use of this luxurious but practical farm stay as a roadside stop for families and small private groups such as bike tours.
The farm cultivates four different types of wine and olives after which each of the four suites are named. Our suite was super spacious at 37m squared, with a gorgeous European flair evidenced in the bathrooms.
Tibor is a fantastic photographer and each suite features magnificent shots of wildlife and vast landscapes gathered on their family travels. Doris matches his skills in the garden. Apart from the grape vines which gently quiver in the breeze trimmed by beautiful hand-stacked stone walls, she has also recreated a Fynbos garden set with the loving care of a botanist. Buckets of fresh pink and green hues of flora colour the guest patios, followed through inside each bedroom with small touches of fresh flowers, stones and grass details in the bedroom and bathroom.
Everything thrives at Stellar Overberg. Their tousle-haired children can be seen running through the vineyards to feed the free-range chickens, nimbly ducking past the scarecrow in its pink Onesy and side stepping the myriad of baby tortoises which choose to call it home too.
In the evening as the sun sets in a dramatic display of orange, reds and purples, the frogs begin their chorus from the edge of the forest. As an avid dog-lover, their three pooches offer each a character all of their own. Their latest rescue Emma, showing strong cross breed connections with a jackal stole my heart completely but if you’re not a dog lover, the dogs can be kept away from the guest suite accommodation.
Free Range Al Fresco Fare
Apart from the delicious welcome bottle of wine, the highlight of our stay was our breakfast basket delivered to our patio table after our leisurely morning dip in the pool.
Using their own free-range eggs, it was the most flavourful scrambled eggs I have ever enjoyed. Using only local products from the surrounding farms, we were served fresh berries, cultured yoghurt, baked breads and aromatic coffee too.
We waved our goodbyes soon after, not with a slight twinge of regret for having to leave such peaceful freedom. With a well-functioning Internet connection, Stellar Overberg is a writer’s retreat heaven… or anyone for that matter who enjoys upmarket country living. As one of the newest guests to have enjoyed their unique blend of Swiss South African hospitality, this gem is going to become a firm favorite for all who first journey here.
In their own words and African travel experiences, Tibor and Doris offer you a chance to be “touched by this country so close to our hearts, that you may take home the jewels of adventure and the dust of its red earth to remind you to return again one day…”
Small Town Secrets
New on the Vine
For a short time only, Stellar Overberg Traveller’s Lodge is offering a 15% opening discount. Visit their website at https://stellar-sa.vacations/ and book your stay at their affordable rates. Expecting their first season of grapes on the vine, 2019 is set to be an exciting year for them.
Special Occasions and Tours
With a large international network of incoming guests, Tibor offers specialised travel services which include airport transfers all the way to extensive travel planning for trips into Southern Africa. Custom plan your African experience with a selection of Fatbike rentals, guided day tours, airplane safari flights, support vehicles for motorbike and mountain bike tours and hiking expeditions. Or plan your wedding there and commemorate your special day in a small and special setting and make memories forever.
Tibor and Doris Tokay are wonderfully warm hosts and ready to help you organise your custom tour.
Mercédes Westbrook is a business and travel editor with over 22 years in the custom magazine publishing industry writing for local and international inflight magazines, and conference and incentive travel publications. She currently runs her own media and content creation company Firehorse Media at www.firehorsemedia.co.za.
Dieter Losskarn is a celebrated German travel author with six travel books under his belt published and sold in Europe and now translated into Dutch. He has also held the title of Motoring Editor for GQ South Africa magazine for the past 14 years and runs his own Taxi Cab of Good Hope day tour business in an original New York Checker Cab in Cape Town. Find out more about him at www.lossis.com