Glamping in winter is definitely something that our family is considering making an annual tradition. Our kids love traditional camping and literally beg us to sleep in a tent throughout the year. Glamping offers the easiest way to give kids that camping feeling without the unwanted inconveniences, one being trying to sleep in the cold!
AfriCamps at Stanford Hills is located just past Hermanus and their permanent tents offer the perfect getaway for those looking for that cosy winter retreat. Situated conveniently just over two hours from Cape Town the travel is made even more delightful by a stop at Peregrine Farm Stall, Elgin – a must do!
Stanford Hills Estate is well known for its’ exquisite selection of wines. Staying on the farm offers the perfect opportunity for wine connoisseurs to enjoy some wine tasting. Besides wine, the farm is a major exporter of indigenous flowers, proteas and pin cushions.
As you can imagine there is plenty of beauty to behold on the estate as the tents at AfriCamps at Stanford Hills are located in an olive orchard and you are literally surrounded by the natural beauty of these two industries.
The views across the dam, over the rolling hills covered in fynbos and then down over the vineyards and towards the little sleepy town of Stanford are simply breathtaking.
The open space and fresh country air are a formidable combination to get one into that relaxing holiday vibe!
The charm that is Stanford Hills Estate literally permeates every aspect of the farm. From the friendly and warm hostess, Leigh-Ann, to the restaurant staff who made our family welcome, comfortable and well-fed! The entire place is a combination of ‘family friendly meets relaxed country living’. This place is really easy for families to enjoy.
The Tasting Room offers a grandma’s farm style kitchen with real down to earth authenticity that one rarely finds at a restaurant. The open spaces mean children can burn off their excess energy and the open plan restaurant which opens out onto the rolling green lawns and kids playground means that parents can sit, relax and chat over a cheese board whilst little ones enjoy playing with building blocks on the floor nearby – did we say family friendly!?
Complete with two doting ridgebacks who find their spot on the stoep and between the joyful games of kids, Stanford Hills won our hearts quickly. This delightful restaurant is open to both farm guests and to the public. They also host a number of fun events during the year.
We relished the fresh country living, the natural beauty of the estate, the doses of warm winter sunshine, the fresh showers of rain and the many delightful wintery experiences.
Glamping Through The Seasons
AfriCamps offers glamping at 8 different sites around South Africa. Their tents can be booked throughout the year and they are the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding areas.
Over holidays and popular long weekends the camps do get booked up well in advance so make sure you are ahead of the pack and plan ahead a little! Their easy online bookings on their site makes it really simple to secure your spot!
AfriCamps at Stanford Hills offers a relaxing country experience on a working farm in an area known for its small town charm. This spot also offers a perfect spot from which to explore Stanford village itself and the surrounding countryside.
Accommodation at AfriCamps at Stanford Hills
There are five AfriCamps tents at Stanford Hills and they are located with stunning views over the small dam and across the valley. The luxury tents are set up on a wooden stand off the ground and they all have a lovely wooden deck and built in braai place.
The tent can be kept zipped up in the front and if the weather warms up enough one can upzip the entire front to enjoy the sweeping views. Luckily, winter in the Western Cape means the likelihood of at least a few hours of sun during your stay. This means you can enjoy the coffee and pastries your purchased from Ou Meul bakery in Stanford Village on your deck.
The tents have adequate space and can accommodate 5 people in two small rooms – one queen and the other a queen and a single bunk above it. Linen and towels are provided and the bathroom is neat with a shower, toilet and hand basin.
Winter time means that we could make full use of the electric blankets to warm our beds and a log fire in the enclosed fireplace every night kept us toasty and warm!
The beds are all made with stunning white linen, down duvets and two large polar fleece blankets were provided to add some extra warmth. We were as snug as bugs!
Food and Catering at AfriCamps at Stanford Hills
The Tasting Room is the restaurant situated on the estate and it provides the most delicious breakfast options, a lunch menu and wine tasting, complete with scrumptious mezze boards of cheese, meats and farm style breads.
It is well worth planning to spend at least a few mealtimes at this wonderful spot – it also makes your own catering workload so much easier – without any preparation or dishes to sort out afterwards.
The children also can be well occupied whilst you enjoy your meals as the playground is situated adjacent. Parents can easily keep an eye on the kids while enjoying their meal.
Each tent also has their own braai place, microwave, small gas stove, bar fridge, toaster and kettle and so food preparation is really easy.
We enjoyed a lovely braai on the deck and made full use of our kettle as we enjoyed numerous rounds of warm coffee and hot chocolate to keep away the evening chill.
Our kids loved the novelty of hot chocolate in front of the fire, all cuddled up on one couch to watch a family movie on dads laptop. This is what memories are made of!
Stanford Village is a stone’s throw away and has a convenience store and so we could purchase all of our daily essentials easily.
Braai packs and breakfast baskets can also be ordered via the farm shop and there are plans to extend the shops offering to include daily basics – so keep an eye on this if you plan to visit later in the year.
Stanford also offers a variety of lovely eating places ranging from bakeries to coffee shops, lunch spots and Italian eateries.
Winter Activities at AfriCamps at Stanford Hills
Enjoy a paddle on the little dam. Canoes, life jackets and paddles are available free of charge at the farm shop.
Bring along your fishing gear for some fun bass fishing on the dam.
Take a leisurely early morning walk to spot birds around the nearby dam and enjoy listening to the different calls.
Head down to the small dam in front of the tents and enjoy teaching your kids to skip stones across the water.
Take a wander to the children’s playground which is situated on the stunning rolling laws and boasts the most divine country views! The children are sure to enjoy the tractors, putt-putt and climbing frames! There is also a fun pirate ship which was being renovated while we were there. Enjoy a game of outdoor tic-tac-toe on the grass, a game easily mastered by even young children.
Bring along a book or magazine to enjoy. From the comfortable deck at the tents to the lovely Tasting Room Restaurant there are plenty spots to enjoy a leisurely read. My favourite spot was snuggled up in bed whilst enjoying the sounds of the rain outside. There is something truly special about being so close to nature and enjoying her beauty.
Enjoy some wine tasting at The Tasting Room.
Do your family a favour and book a horse ride at the African Horse Company which is conveniently situated on the estate. This was certainly one of our highlights. The horses are really calm and most responsive to the wonderful guide who led the kids on their horse while I could ride alongside. Besides the most stunning views, the thrill of riding on horse back for these suburban kids was great. They lapped up the ride and begged for more! The horses Luke, Snowflake and Princess crept into our hearts and we found it hard to say goodbye. It was really such a special time with these amazing gentle creatures. This is certainly an experience you will not want to pass up.
Make the most of the cooler weather by cuddling up in front of the indoor fireplace and enjoy some board games, chess or cards.
Alternatively, set up a family movie night on your digital device.
Enjoy sundowners on your deck while the sun sets over the hills and you enjoy a sip of the best Stanford Hills Wine.
Bring your mountain bikes and enjoy exploring the estate. Our kids loved hopping on and off their bikes and riding along the farm roads. There are plenty of short routes to enjoy together! It was well worth bringing the bikes along.
For the more adventurous a unique whale watching aerial safari is available from African Wings Safari which departs from the airstrip on Stanford Hills Estate.
Toast some marshmallows on the fire then add some to a warm mug of hot chocolate!
Spot the fynbos flowers. Using Google as a guide we enjoyed identifying some of the flowers on the farm. Take a little wander through some of the fields and be delighted by this unique flower kingdom – one of only seven unique flower biomes in the world! We spotted bright red pin cushions, bearded proteas, little ericas and some small pink vygies.
Older kids might enjoy some outdoor sketching so bring along some pencils and a sketch pad.
Winter Activities in the Wilderness Area
Visit the most delightful family-orientated Klein River Cheese Farm which allows one to enjoy a selection of the best cheeses as you make up your own picnic in their deli. The Klein River Cheese Farm is a celebration of family, nature and cheese! They offer the most delightful deli where one can select the items for your own tailor-made picnic or order their fabulous cheese platters. They also offer special small baskets for kids which we found were the perfect mix of picnic goodness for them. Rustic basket in hand you can enjoy selecting your perfect picnic spot on the rolling laws, under the shade of a tree or select one of the tables in the delightful children’s playground. The playground offers children a wonder world of climbing apparatus, ramps for motorbikes, swings and climbing walls- all perfectly positioned to keep energetic kids occupied for a good few hours while parents can relax and breathe in the country lifestyle. There are also small brown bags of animal food on offer for R5 and our kids loved feeding the local pig population, greeting the two friendly donkeys and admiring the sweetest fluffy rabbits and love birds in the aviary.
Older kids will be intrigued by the wide variety of cheese on offer and our oldest enjoyed tasting each type and giving us his foodie opinion – they have a very informative board up in the deli which makes it easy for choosing which piece of goodness you would like to try next! Be warned – you will find it really hard to leave this slice of cheese farm heaven! One consolation is that you can stock up on their cheeses before you leave and take a block (or five!) of their artisan goodness home with you!
Read about our previous visit to this lovely farm here.
Hike to the rock paintings in a cave at nearby Phillipskop Estate which is just a short drive away and on arrival you will be rewarded by the sweeping views back over greater Stanford countryside. This estate boasts something really special – a short, flat manageable hike through stunning fynbos, a brief scramble on a steep path takes you to an amazing little cave set in the mountain side – with a views back down the valley and historical rock paintings to marvel over!
These paintings were only recently discovered and are very rare specimens in the Overberg area. Our kids managed the hike and loved the thrill of following the map and then ‘finding’ the paintings. We loved imagining who the people were who painted them and the light drizzle only added to the feeling of adventure! The type of adventure that we are sure Bear Grylls would approve of!
Entrance is just R40 an adult and R20 per child which is paid at reception or placed in their honesty box.
Ferry cruises on the Klein River Lagoon are also a really special activity for families to enjoy together and there are a few local operators such as the Lady Stanford River Cruises Company.
Visit the beaches and enjoy the stunning sea views from De Kelders or Gansbaai. You might even be lucky enough to spot of of the first whales arriving for whaling season.
Take a wander around Stanford Village. This lovely historical town boasts an array of quaint little buildings, old cottages, picturesque gardens and a healthy smattering of gift stores and antique shops to tickle your fancy. Stops by the Tourism Centre just to the lift half way down the main street and you can pick up a little town guide for R10 which is a lovely way to learn a little more about the town. Our kids enjoyed using the map to guide as along our short walk into a few of the little village stores, a small historical blurb about a few, a quick stop at the old church and then free play at the jungle gym on the central green. Make sure you round of your stroll with refreshments at one of the quaint coffee shops!
For the brave among us, a visit to the Panthera Big Cats will delight you as you get up close with some of these large felines!
What a wonderful Winter break, the perfect way to refuel and refresh as a family before hitting the second half of 2019!
Keep an eye out over the next few months for our final review of AfriCamps in Spring in our Glamping through the Seasons series.
We will also be offering you a chance to enter to win a weekend away with AfriCamps. You won’t want to miss that!
*AfriCamps at Stanford Hills is located on a working farm and therefore there are numerous dams with open water on site. The farm is family friendly but please note that one needs to keep an eye on children to avoid the risks associated with open water.