Cape Town is a wonderful city.
A wonderful city, on the brink of a severe water crisis.
Just a few, short months ago plans were afoot for something called Day Zero. A scary, apocalyptic-like date when the taps were expected to run dry and residents and visitors would be limited to 25-litres of water each, per day.
Yet as June rolls in, the rains have started – seemingly a lot earlier than last year, although the weather forecasters are not yet dancing for joy. The Mother City is far from out of the woods on this one, but at least there is no impeding Day Zero. For now.
And on the foothills of Table Mountain you’d be forgiven for thinking, "What water problem".
Mini waterfalls are sparkling and glistening all along this unique national park, an official World Heritage site and home to one of SA’s eight biomes – our beautiful fynbos, with ericas, pincushions and proteas dotted along the paths.
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But the many hikes - to suit all levels of fitness - along with the waterfalls are not the only winter pleasures to enjoy within this park.
Nestled along one of South Africa’s most scenic drive’s Chapman’s Peak, is where you’ll discover the boutique luxury of Tintswalo Atlantic. Winter is probably the best time to enjoy this five-star lodge, hidden within the ocean-facing region of the park.
We arrived on a crisp Friday afternoon after a few days of rain, with another cold front brewing – all adding to dramatic views as we parked our car in the secure parking just off Chapman’s Peak. From their you’re whisked down the mountain side in five short minutes to the beautiful lodge below, perched just above the pebbly beach - as the crisp Atlantic ocean air greets you.
A crackling fire makes an inviting entrance, as does the decorative silver table saved from the devastating fires that ravaged parts of Table Mountain in 2015 – with the lodge almost entirely razed.
Safe to say it has been remarkably restored. The niche lounging areas are slightly larger than before and a key aspect of the rebuild is the extension of the front deck, now raised higher but sadly missing its milkwood trees.
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A guest was snuggled up on the couch, barefoot and fancy free – deep in conversation with our host and Tintswalo Atlantic GM Melissa Du Rand. A characteristic of all the staff, who are genuinely interested in your well being and comfort from get go.
While Tintswalo offers transfers to the Mother City’s #BigSeven drawcards like Table Mountain and Cape Point, as well the V&A Waterfront - the whimsical weather means snuggling in the plushness of the resort and allowing you to feel like there is no other place you’d rather be at that very moment.
It’s easy to while away the afternoon indoors enjoying a glass of fine Cape wine or bubbly beside a handcrafted ceramic fireplace, found in each of the bespoke suites. There is also the option to indulge in some therapeutic massage treatments in the convenience of your room. Best to arrange this in advance if you do want to experience it.
If you’re not up for exploring some of the footpaths of the national park, then you could venture out for a short stroll along Tintswalo’s private pebbled beach – any keen instagrammer can appreciate the panoramic views of Hout Bay harbour, the dramatic Sentinel mountain peak, all lapped by the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
Dining at Tintswalo
The lodge’s open-plan kitchen is professionally headed up by former Masterchef contestant, Guy Clark – with a slick operation to offer light lunches and of course dinner - a rather intimate affair.
Of course, to stick with the cosy, winter warmer in-house feel of your stay you can book a selection of winter menus, presented as 3-course lunch (R590 pp) or 5-course dinner (R830 pp). Reservations are welcomed from non-resident guests (subject to availability).
What really struck me about the menu we experienced, which offers all-the-rage dishes such as pulled pork is that the vegetarian or meat-free options are hearty and creatively thought out.
It includes dishes such as Carrot, Ginger Cochugaru soup, topped with bottom of the pack root crisps, a mix of mushrooms in one tasty main Oyster, Shitake, Shimeji, Fried pasta sheet, Caciotta, Lemon and handmade Jalapeno yoghurt.
The passion fruite pomme puree might seem mismatched with the lemongrass pork belly – an already sweetish, textured meat – but the love and attention that goes into the meal is hard to miss. The use of responsible tourism practices, such as re-usable straws should definitely be applauded.
Currently the lodge is running a winter stay promotion exclusively for South Africans offering a stay for two people in one of its Luxury Island Suites from R7 060 per suite.
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It’s important to note – the winter package is valid from 1 May to 31 August and includes airport transfers and shuttle to the V&A Waterfront, a light lunch and a bottle of wine on arrival.
The winter package includes a full breakfast. After being served coffee and warm croissants and pastries in your room - be warned this is quite a spread with three courses, ending with a warm plate option – so do make sure you’re not rushing off anywhere to enjoy this one.