Blue Gum Country Estate

near Hermanus, Hermanus & Overberg, South Africa Book from R2,100

A blissfully peaceful rural retreat with superb food, close to the sea, the Winelands and the Overberg mountains (2 hours from Cape Town)
The setting could hardly be more bucolic: a group of low buildings festooned in greenery, wrapped in a huge stand of ancient blue gum trees, looking over a small lake to the leafy banks of the Klein river. Arriving at this small country hotel you instinctively slow down a pace or two and the ethos is to make sure that each guest has a peaceful, utterly relaxing stay.

Blue Gum could hardly be more Cape: a low cream and white gabled farmstead with neat lawns and flower beds, and a predominantly English-country-style interior of stripes, checks and floral prints. Sitting in the cosy carpeted and panelled bar, looking out through curtained windows to the starkly beautiful foothills of the Overberg, you could be in Scotland - if it wasn’t for the weather, of course. The 12 guest bedrooms are deeply comfortable, and the food is simply fantastic. Families will love the facilities, which include games room and outdoor play area. And you're perfectly positioned for discovering the myriad treasures of the Cape's 'Whale Coast'.

Highs

  • A quiet, rural setting with 130 acres of estate cushioning you from the outside world
  • A perfect choice for foodies: head chef Isaac has a wealth of experience and his cooking is superb, plus there’s a wine list to match the food
  • Relaxed, happy, easy-mannered staff who really help you get into that ‘I’m on holiday’ mood
  • Masses of activities at the farm as well as an amazing range of excursions
  • Just 20km from Hermanus, and 2 hours from Cape Town and the Winelands

Lows

  • There’s a distinctly ‘hotelly’ feel to the dining room/lounge/bar area, which has been expanded to accommodate wedding parties
  • You can sometimes hear noise from the road

Best time to go

To get the most out of Blue Gum, avoid the wetter winter months (June-September), when outdoor activities are less fun and it is too cold to swim. That said, the best months for whale-watching are July to November (you can also glimpse them during June-August). At any other time of year this is a great choice of holiday destination; for swimming come between December and February, and fynbos flowers are at their spectacular best in the South African spring, between September and November.

Our top tips

With so many other places to visit in this amazing country, younger travellers without kids might find that couple of nights at Blue Gum is about right. Families could safely book 4 or 5 nights thanks to the abundance of in-house entertaiment on offer - pool, tennis, walks, boules, biking.

Great for...

Family
Foodie
Wedding
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 12 rooms
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Tennis Court
  • Bicycles Available
  • Conservatory
  • Quad bikes
Room: Mountain View Cottage

Rooms

Blue Gum has just 12 guest bedrooms: 5 spacious suites in the Manor House, 5 mountain facing cottages and 2 smaller Blue Gum Cottages, the latter are found to the side of the Manor House. Beds are big, with percale linen, duvets and a double bank of pillows.

The Manor House Suites (both Junior and Deluxe) are enormous, decorated in an Afro-colonial style with dark wooden furniture - including many family heirlooms - and ethnic prints, figurines, pots and cushions. All open onto decked verandas with long views across the valley, and the Honeymoon Suites have a private garden.

The 5 adjacent Mountain View Cottages are also cheery, light-filled spaces but here the decorative cue is more English country, with a cream and white colour scheme, pine floors and a mix of stripey and floral prints. They all have private verandas, wraparound views of the rocky Klein river range and armchairs and cosy fireplaces inside. For more space, choose the Mountain View Family Cottage which has an additional twin room.

With the exception of the Blue Gum Cottages, all bathrooms have both a bathtub and a shower - some of the bathtubs in the Manor House suites are within the main bedroom itself - and grab views out to the valley. You are treated to a full range of Earth shampoos, creams and soaps, as well as scented candles and bath salts.

There's always a vase of freshly cut fynbos flowers waiting after your day’s excursion, plus a glass of local wine and a selection of local cheeses.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite tv
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

It is the food that lifts Blue Gum high into the ‘special’ category; its restaurant opens to hotel guests daily, and also serves breakfast, lunch and dinner - from Tuesday to Sunday - to devoted local foodies. Head chef Isaac has many years of creative culinary experience, and resolutely sticks to a ‘keep it fresh and local’ formula when sourcing his ingredients.

His breakfasts are huge buffets, laid out in Blue Gum’s light-filled restaurant. Ours included fresh muffins, cereals and yoghurts, a whole range of delicious Cape cheeses, as well as a huge fruit salad, stewed and candied fruit, juices and a big cooked breakfast to follow. Lunch is served in the restaurant from Tuesday to Sunday, but afternoon tea is always served in the conservatory - make sure you try the homemade scones and jams.

Dinners at Blue Gum are superb: a set menu that can be adapted to meet individual dietary requirements. You dine in the rather formal restaurant or - far nicer, we think - on the garden-facing deck. Sundowners and nibbles are served here before dining. You can also order limited room service if you'd rather dine more privately.

Our starter was chicken tikka salad, followed by a fillet of the leanest beef, served on harissa potato fondant with butternut squash, beetroot and a red wine sauce - just scrummy! And dessert was a Dutch Cape classic: a rich apricot Malva pudding. The wine recommendations for each course are always listed on the menu. We followed their advice and couldn’t fault the Beaumont Chenin Blanc, nor the Raka Shiraz. Guests at Blue Gum can also try the estate’s own Cold Mountain red.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity: Akkedisberg Pass

Activities

  • Whale-watch: the Southern Cape coast is one of the best places in the world for seeing whales at close quarters. The beaches are near-deserted and there are boat trips available

  • If you’re feeling really adventurous, go cage diving with great white sharks; Gansbaai, the world capital for great white sightings, is only a 20-minute drive from Stanford

  • Visit Hermanus where you can sail, surf, kayak, windsurf, scuba dive and go fishing

  • Laze on your terrace or in the hammock with a pair of binoculars; 110 different bird species can be seen on the estate. Then challenge your partner to a game of tennis or boules

  • Explore the estate on a quad bike or ride out on one of Blue Gum’s mountain bikes (there are smaller bikes for kids), then take a river cruise with Platanna River Cruises

    • Play a round of golf; there are 7 courses within easy driving distance

    • Hike out or horse ride into the surrounding mountains. Routes for suggested walks are available

    • Visit local wineries and maybe drive north to the Cape Winelands around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

    • Take a day-trip to Africa's southernmost point at Cape Agulhas, with its wave-lashed lighthouse. There is also the fishing village of Waenhuiskrans (aka Arniston) with its wonderful dunes; both are about 100km away

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Birdwatching
    • Boat trips
    • Cycling
    • Fishing
    • Golf
    • Hiking
    • Horse-riding
    • Kayaking
    • Plantlife / flora
    • Sailing
    • Scuba diving
    • Surfing
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Whalewatching
    • Wildlife
    • Windsurfing
    • Wine tasting
  • Kids

    We felt Blue Gum would be a perfect place for a family holiday, the owners have 2 kids of their own and have travelled extensively with them in South Africa and Europe so they know what is required from an establishment. It's pretty easy terrain for a pushchair. There are 6 extra beds available to add to suites and cottages. All suites and cottages have bathtubs. Usefully, there's a mobile phone signal everywhere in property. Children under 10 are not allowed in the Manor House rooms.

    Best for:

    Babies (0-1 years), Toddlers (1-4 years), Children (4-12 years)

    Family friendly accommodation:

    To the side of the Manor House, there are 2 Mountain View Family Cottages; each has a double room and a twin room plus space for a rollaway bed and a baby cot. Adjacent, the Mountain View Cottages can accommodate an extra bed and a baby cot. The Blue Gum Cottages are also a good choice for families with older children as the rooms can be made up as doubles or twins, and they can interconnect. Both of these room options offer privacy for the parents and the child as they have their own bedroom. If the child is younger the Mountain View Cottages are better as they are adjoining rooms. For the older child the Blue Gum cottages are better.

    Babysitting:

    Babysitting is available by arrangement, the sitter will be English speaking.

    Baby listening:

    Baby monitors available to borrow

    Baby equipment:

    Baby cots are available on request - there are 4 available. High chair, pram or pushchair to borrow, children's backpack (to carry a toddler in), baby bedding, potty, baby bath.

    Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

    Children's meals:

    Food is available all day. Children under 12 are not allowed in the dining room after 7.30pm, but a children’s supper is served a couple of hours before dinner, and of course if your child has particular likes or dislikes, do let them know. They can also serve half portions of adult mains for children. There's also a microwave available for guests to use for bottle warming.

    Kids Activities on site:

    There's an on-site outdoor children's play area. Bike hire is available, with smaller bikes for kids. Kids will also love the pool which has a shallow end. There are games consoles to borrow, plus children's DVDs and a playroom with toys and books.

    Kids Activities nearby:

    Farm animals can be seen at the local cheese farm which has a petting zoo. Horse riding also nearby.

    Families Should Know:

    The pool is unfenced. The nearest doctor is about 10 minutes away.

    Distances:

    • Airport: 120 minutes
    • Hospital: 30 minutes
    • Nearest shop: 10 minutes
    Kid Friendly:

    Our guests' ratings...

    9/
    Rooms
    10/
    Food
    10/
    Service
    10/
    Value
    10/
    Overall

    {{ review.firstName }}{{ review.countryName ? ', '+ review.countryName : '' }},
    Feedback is only from guests who have booked and stayed through i-escape

    Rates for Blue Gum Country Estate