Wild Coast Magic:This festive season, escape to Ocean View Hotel for unforgettable family holidays
If your family has not yet decided on where it is spending this festive season, my advice is to look no further than the Wild Coast. This region, with its unmistakable rocky coastline, sun-bathed sandy beaches, unspoilt lush indigenous forests, secluded coves and many river mouths, is one of South Africa’s most spectacular holiday destinations – one paradise where you will wish for time to just stand still.
All of this will be on your doorstep at aptly-named Ocean View Hotel, which is nestled between towering cliffs and a sparkling sea, at the historic hamlet of Coffee Bay which, thanks to tarred road all the way from Umthatha, makes it probably the most accessible resort on the Wild Coast.
Still, this journey is not without a little adventure of its own as the road twists and turns through some of the most majestic countryside in the region making it hard to keep one’s eyes on the narrow strip of tar.
Ocean View Hotel itself is an oasis of civilisation in the midst of wild splendour. Its tropical garden with neat lawns, a crystal-clear swimming pool and sparkling white hotel buildings are in stark contrast to the rugged bush, rolling hills and turbulent waves that surround the hotel grounds.
I have always found the reception area, with its oceanic décor, welcoming as is the hotel’s friendly staff. The rooms are always spotless and neat, and true to a beach holiday resort, were designed to facilitate sandy feet, wet towels and afternoon naps with doors opening onto the sea breeze and the melody of the surf.
Accommodation at Ocean View is characterised by light, airy double or twin rooms – most of which boast spectacular views of the Indian Ocean while the spacious family units look out across the hotel’s gardens. All rooms are comfortably-furnished with en-suite bathrooms. Tea/coffee facilities are also available for your convenience.
The Sea View rooms have individual patios and furniture so you can enjoy a drink or your coffee/tea sitting and watching the ocean beating at the cliffs. Room and laundry service is available with friendly staff to accommodate whatever you may need.
My kids love their swimming pool, jungle gym and trampoline while my wife and I appreciate the fact that a child minder can be on hand to give us a break too.
The hotel garden’s gate opens straight onto a magnificent beach set between two prominent headlands while a lagoon, easily wade able at most times, enters the ocean below one headland. The rocky feet of the headlands offer good snorkelling opportunities, excellent fishing while beachcombers will enjoy the shells and drift wood.
Ocean View Hotel’s restaurant is one of the best places to eat in the area and we have travelled great distances while staying at other locations on the Wild Coast just to eat here. They offer breakfasts to suit any appetite, from cereals, yoghurt, bacon, egg and other favourites, juice and coffee - everything to energize you for a day of adventures or relaxation.
Lunch can be chosen from daily specials or their buffet and includes fresh fish, seafood, soups and other favourites, fruits, delightful desserts - all freshly-prepared to sate your appetite. Dinner can be a dinner buffet, soup, main courses from a selection of meat dishes, freshly-caught fish or other seafood specialities as well as fresh salads or vegetables. Dessert is usually a choice of fruits, cheese and biscuits, tea and coffee.
There is also a great wine and drinks menu available making for a delightful end to a lovely day of relaxation or exploration.
Meals may be enjoyed in the restaurant or on the veranda with its view over of waving palm fronds, white beaches and the deep blue Indian Ocean. The hotel bar is also a great place to relax and make new friends.
For the adventurous, activities in the area abound. Coffee Bay got its name in 1893 after a ship full of coffee beans ran aground there. Instead of searching for coffee beans and shipwrecks, you can take long hikes and short walks, horse riding, canoeing, swimming and, as already mentioned, fishing, snorkelling and beachcombing.
One of the best walks is from Coffee Bay to the famous ‘Hole in the Wall’. This is not for the unfit but a spectacular reward waits those who take the challenge - the ‘Hole in the Wall’ itself is one of South Africa’s great landmarks and should be on everyone’s bucket list.
Ocean View Hotel is a great destination for a memorable family holiday and one that I personally recommend. See you there…
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