Hog Hollow Country Lodge

near Plettenberg Bay, Garden Route & Eastern Cape, South Africa Book from

Friendly, comfortable and stylish lodge with delicious food, between the Tsitsikamma Mountains and the Indian Ocean
‘Life is good’, says owner Andy Fermor - and it is clear from his relaxed smile that he really means it. Looking around at the soft green lawns, the turquoise pool, the flower-covered cottages, the wooded valleys and the blue peaks of the Tsitsikamma Mountains, it is hard to disagree.

When Andy and his wife Debbie bought it in 1993, Hog Hollow was just a patch of pastureland and some sheds. Later that year, Mandela was released, sanctions were lifted and the couple gave up surfing and started building. To the amazement of locals, they even converted the circular water reservoir into a honeymoon suite named The Round House. The result of their perseverance is an elegant lodge with 16 suites, an acclaimed restaurant and immaculate gardens. It is now a prime stopover on the Garden Route, with many attractions on its doorstep: Storms River, Nature’s Valley, Keurbooms Beach, whale-watching… and excellent communal cuisine when you get back. Andy’s right: life sure is good.

Highs

  • The wonderful views from the wooden sundeck, over forested hills and valleys
  • The delicious food - one of the best meals we had along the garden route
  • The rich animal, flower and birdlife
  • You're close to long, pristine sandy beaches with Indian Ocean rollers, kids will love it
  • The friendly, integrated staff - it was the first hotel where we met a Xhosa in a managerial role

Lows

  • This is the countryside, and there may be the occasional creepy-crawly in or around your room
  • You'll need a car; it's tucked in a tranquil valley, 20km from the nearest shops
  • Though we enjoyed the informal dining with fellow guests, it might not suit everyone (but separate tables can be arranged if you prefer)

Best time to go

It is most popular in the African summer/autumn (December to April) but the fireplaces and cosy sitting rooms make it a snug option for winter trips (May-August). Winter days can be wonderfully clear and sunny, but the nights are cold. Book well ahead for Christmas and Easter.

Our top tips

You could happily spend 3 or 4 days here as part of a Garden Route tour, with all of Plettenberg, Nature’s Valley and Storms River on your doorstep.

Great for...

Eco
Family
Foodie
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Luxury Lodge
  • 16
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Sauna
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are 16 suites spread over half a dozen cottages around the grounds. All of them are decorated in African style: earthy hues, woven fabrics, wooden bedframes, mosaic shower-walls, cane partitions, ceiling fans, pictures of wildlife, stripy silk cushion covers, khaki curtains and blinds. There are no TVs to remind you of home. Outside on the wooden deck are chairs or a hammock - just in case you need a further excuse to lie and gaze at the view.

The 6 Garden Suites are arranged on one level, with kingsize or twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, a lounge, a fireplace and a private balcony with chairs.

The 3 Loft Suites are each spread over 2 floors. The downstairs lounge has a double sleeper couch and an ottoman which can be made up for children in the evening, and a private deck with a hammock. Upstairs, the bedroom has kingsize or twin beds with an ensuite bathroom.

The 6 large Forest Suites, which are further from the main building, are freestanding with a bedroom (kingsize/twin), an ensuite bathroom, a lounge, and French windows to a private deck with a hammock.

The Round House is a 2-storey 'honeymoon suite' converted from the circular water reservoir. It has an ensuite bedroom and a wooden balcony upstairs, and a winding staircase linking them to a downstairs sitting room.

All bathrooms have a shower and a bathtub, and most are spacious - one guest was heard to complain that they were too big!

Features include:

  • Cd player
  • Coffee tea making
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Terrace
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Sitting indoors around a large rectangular table, chatting to the other guests, you can enjoy a set 3-course dinner with local ingredients and wines, with 3 main dishes to choose from. Carnivores will enjoy the smoked venison or the chicken breasts stuffed with spinach and feta, while fish-eaters can order the day’s catch, such as kingklip, elf (shad) or steenbras. The veg dishes are quite unusual - try their aubergine casserole or sweet potato and corn polenta. Dessert might be pears poached in red wine with cinnamon ice cream, beautifully presented with the thinnest lavender wafer and berries. With most dietary requirements catered for, dinner is excellent value and also one of the best we had along the Garden Route.

Breakfast is a full ‘farmhouse’ buffet of fruit salad, cereals, eggs, bacon, muffins, flapjacks, cold meats, cheeses, potato and leek patties and even fresh lychee juice - all included in the room price. If that didn't fill you up, light lunches such as salads or sandwiches can be taken on the panoramic wooden deck; picnics and lunch baskets can be made up on request.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children meals
  • Coffee tea making
  • Communal dining
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Walk down the Matjies river - it snakes through a shady valley within the Hog Hollow Nature Reserve

  • Take a boat trip from Plettenerg Bay to observe the seals, dolphins, sharks, penguins, cormorants, terns and (in season) whales

  • Swim or surf at Keurbooms beaches, 10 minutes’ drive away, or take a 3-hour cruise up the Keurbooms river

  • Explore the nature reserve on Robberg Peninsula (20 minutes' drive) - seals, oystercatchers, sandy beaches and barely another soul in sight

  • Discover the lagoon, river and coastline of Nature’s Valley (15 minutes' scenic drive)

  • Observe primates at Monkeyland - a sanctuary for captive-bred species

  • Go bird-watching in the wetlands and afromontane woods inland

  • Visit Storms River Mouth, with its swing bridge, river gorge and boat trips

  • River-rafting, canoeing, climbing, bungy-jumping, kloofing (canyoning), mountain biking, bass- and fly-fishing, diving and snorkelling can all be booked through local operators

  • Or just lie back in your hammock and consider how good life is…

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Fishing
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Horse-riding
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Scuba diving
  • Surfing
  • Swimming
  • Trekking
  • Whalewatching
  • Wildlife

Kids

Although children are welcome, bear in mind that most people come here for the tranquility and there are no TVs - it's just that kind of place. However, there is a communal television in the far lounge in the main house. Note that it's a long drive from Cape Town airport - you will want to stop enroute rather than drive straight here (or you could take an internal flight to land closer). That said, it's fab for families and the lodge welcomes them with open arms.

Under 2s go free; there's a supplement for those 2-12, which includes the early kiddies dinner. Children in their own room pay full rates.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

The Loft Suites have a double sofabed and an ottoman which can be made up for children in the evening; they can sleep 2 adults and 2 children aged 12 and under.

Babysitting:

Babysitting is available by arrangement.

Baby equipment:

  • 2 cots

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

Children's meals:

Children can have a separate earlier dinner, or can join parents at the later dinner if they want. The chef is also happy to prepare child-friendly meals and accommodate dietary requirements.

Kids Activities on site:

  • Communal pool
  • Woodlands and gardens to play in

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Keurbooms beach is 10 minutes' drive away
  • Boat trips and whale- and dolphin-watching will keep them busy
  • Robberg Peninsula Nature Reserve
  • Plenty more with a wildlife/outdoors theme, including Monkeyland

Families Should Know:

There are unfenced dams and a pool on the premises.

Distances:

  • Airport: 5 hours (Cape Town)
  • Hospital: 30 minutes
Kid Friendly:

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