A few weeks back, my husband surprised me with a little breakaway down the Cape West Coast to a town I had never heard of before. Jacobsbaai is a rural little seaside village situated midway between Saldanha Bay and Vredenburg in the Western Cape of South Africa. It’s only a short drive away from these two popular West Coast towns, and yet, Jacobsbaai feels remote enough so that you feel completely removed from civilisation.
Although less than 2 hours from Cape Town, Jacobsbaai is serene and remote with unspoiled views. The overwhelming presence of the ocean is the major drawcard to the area – the village boasts seven individual bays! The icy sea mist, salty aroma and sounds of tides ebbing and flowing envelope the area.
We were warned that Jacobsbaai had no real shops and no ATMs so we would need to bring along everything we needed for the weekend. And this was all a part of the adventure.
The very idea of slow-paced living is exactly what we bargained for! As it was my birthday weekend, we decided to leave the kids with their grandparents for two nights and venture out to a little guesthouse in the bay known as Baviana Beach Lodge. The plan was to do as little as possible and to enjoy some much-needed rest and relaxation (kid-free) after an extremely busy first quarter of 2018! The lodge provided this and more and we found it ideal for self-catering, with all the basic necessities we required for a peaceful breakaway.
Gravel roads lead you through the town, lined with natural vegetation and limewashed houses – many standing vacant during the off-season months. Building restrictions have really limited the development of Jacobsbaai but have also resulted in a pristine coastline. Many of the striking white houses are typical of a West Coast fishing village and although empty at this time of year, I could just imagine the bustle that the Bay experiences during busier summer months!
As we arrived a little late on a Friday evening, we were greeted by… well, no one! We had pre-arranged to collect the key for our little duplex accommodation and we had the entire lodge to ourselves. A peaceful retreat right in the heart of the bay with immaculate sea views! Who could ask for more!
The lodge is situated right on the seafront so it was easy to meander down to the rocky coastline and enjoy the beauty of the ocean right outside our front door. A perfect location for those seeking refuge from the city – but perhaps not an ideal spot for families with young kids, unless you’re after the adventure of water sports and outdoor activities.
In that case, Jacobsbaai is quite well known among adventure seekers as a spot for boating, diving and fishing. Hiking and bird-watching are also popular in the area.
With no real plan, we decided to wing it for most of the weekend. We drove along the coast to see what else we could find in the area and we spent most of the weekend exploring the many seaside villages scattered along the coastline, from the more popular beaches at Paternoster and St. Helena Bay to Stompneusbaai, Saldanha Bay and Langebaan.
A trip to the West Coast is also incomplete without a taste of the ocean. We found the perfect little lunch spot overlooking Saldanha Bay Harbour where we feasted on the freshest seafood while seated on an open deck overlooking the fishing trawlers that had docked for the day.
Apparently, the landscape comes alive in Spring with a beautiful display of West Coast flowers and wildlife. I guess we will have to go back to see this for ourselves! As for an autumn weekend getaway – we found it to be a tranquil retreat which worked wonderfully as a base from which to explore the West Coast.
In the end, we had a great time reconnecting and dreaming about our future plans. A perfect time of reflection and a very relaxing stay in the ideal setting!