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. The result of their perseverance is an elegant lodge with 16 suites and two villas, 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.
- The wonderful views from the wooden sundecks, over forested hills and valleys
- The delicious food and sociable vibe - one of the best meals we had along the Garden Route
- The fantastic location: it feels off the beaten track yet wildlife sanctuaries, adventure sports, boat trips, even vineyards, are all within a short drive
- You're also 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
- Rooms are rustic and comfortable rather than luxurious and this is the countryside so there may be the occasional creepy-crawly
- 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)
- No WiFi in the Suites, though there is a connection in both villas and the main lodge - so you're not completely cut off
Best time to go
Our top tips
- Luxury Lodge
- 16 suites + 2 villas
- Restaurant and bar
- All ages welcome
- Open all year
- Outdoor Pool
- Beach Nearby
- Pet Friendly
- Disabled Access
- Car recommended
- Restaurants Nearby
- Air Conditioning
- Guest Lounge
There are 16 suites spread over half a dozen cottages around the grounds, plus two villas set 400m away from the main lodge. 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. Outside on the wooden deck are chairs - just in case you need a further excuse to lie and gaze at the view.
The Suites are arranged on one level, with kingsize or twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, a lounge, a fireplace and a private balcony with chairs. Another cluster of 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 chairs.
The three Family Suites are each spread over two 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 chairs. Upstairs, the bedroom has kingsize or twin beds with an ensuite bathroom. All Suites have air-con, but no WiFi connection.
The Villa at Hog Hollow and Forest Lodge Villa sleep 6 and 8 people respectively. Both have private pools with wooden decks, incredible views of the forest and mountains, as well as large living areas, kitchens and double bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms. The villas have WiFi, but no air-con - there are fans should you need them.
All bathrooms have a shower and a bathtub, and most are spacious - one guest was heard to complain that they were too big!
Sitting indoors around a large rectangular table (or separately if preferred), chatting to the other guests, you can enjoy dinner made using local ingredients and wine. Since our last visit, the three-course set menu has been replaced with a la carte delights. We're yet to try the dishes for ourselves, but carnivores will enjoy the rack of lamb or grilled sirloin, while fish eaters can order the fish of the day, such as kingklip or hake.
The vegetarian and vegan options sound curiously delectable, and we're assured the penne a la vodka is a firm favourite. Desserts include a coffee crème brûlée and a chocolate truffle tart. 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, or something sweet with fresh orange juice or lemon water - all included in the room price. If that doesn'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 upon request. Our favourite lunch spots nearby are Enrico's Italian restaurant with its wonderful setting overlooking Kerboom's beach and the Newstead vineyard for delicious platters and wine tasting.
Both the private villas have their own kitchen so can be used on a self-catering basis, or you can dine at the main lodge.
- Communal dining
- Kids' meals
- Vegetarian options
- Walk down the Matjies river - it snakes through a shady valley within the Hog Hollow Nature Reserve
- Swim or surf at Keurbooms beaches, 10 minutes’ drive away, or take a 3-hour cruise with a picnic up the Keurbooms river (try stand up paddle boarding here too)
- Spend a couple of hours meandering along the lush forest walkways at Birds of Eden - the world's largest free-flight aviary with over 3500 birds and 220 species. There are also wildlife parks and sanctuaries for elephants, monkeys, wild cats - even snakes and crocodiles, all within a 10-minute drive.
- Go horseriding through the surrounding farm meadows and indigenous forest and stop en route at a vineyard for wine tasting and tapas.
- Take a boat trip from Plettenberg Bay to observe the seals, dolphins, sharks, penguins, cormorants, terns and (in season) whales
- For some retail therapy, we love the eclectic Old Nick's Village (on the way to Plett). Don't miss Prêt-à-pot ceramics and the Mungo weaver's factory where you can watch the softest woven towels and linens being made.
- 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)
- Visit Storms River Mouth, with its swing bridge, river gorge and boat trips
- River-rafting, canoeing, tubing, zipline treetop tours, climbing, bungy-jumping (the world's highest), kloofing (canyoning), mountain biking, Segway tours, bass- and fly-fishing, diving and snorkelling can all be booked through local operators
- Or just settle into a chair on your deck, overlooking the forested mountains, and consider how good life is…
Activities on site or nearby include:
- Boat trips
- Horse riding
- Mountain biking
- Plantlife / flora
- Scuba diving
- Whale watching
This is a fab stopover on the Garden Route for families and the lodge welcomes them with open arms. Special kids' turn downs each evening include a glass of fresh milk and a gingerbread man, plus there are stories, toys, bucket and spades and bodyboards available. There are so many activities nearby to keep kids of all ages entertained that we've taken our family to this region more than a dozen times. We'd recommend a stay of at least 4 nights to enjoy the unspoilt beaches, adventurous activities and wildlife experiences.
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.
Family friendly accommodation:
The Family Suites have a double sofabed and an ottoman which can be made up for children in the evening; they can sleep two adults and two children aged 12 and under. The 2 pool villas are both ideal options for larger families, sleeping 6 and 8 people in each. The 4-bedroom villa also has a large games room with a pool table, table tennis, TV and films.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available
Babysitting with one of the hotel's staff is available by arrangement.
- Box of toys
- Bucket and spade
- Body board
- TV, board games and videos in the play room at the main lodge and in both villas
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
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 lodge pool, plus private pools in both villas
- Woodlands and gardens to play in
Kids Activities nearby:
- Keurbooms beach is 10 minutes' drive away (kids will love the pizzas and pasta at Enrico's overlooking the beach)
- Amazing array of wildlife sanctuaries within a 10-minute drive including Birds of Eden, Monkeyland, Jukani (wild cats), as well as elephant and reptile sanctuaries
- For older kids, treetop ziplining, blackwater tubing and Segway tours are just a 30-minute drive away at Storms River
- Boat trips and whale- and dolphin-watching will also keep them busy
- Robberg Peninsula Nature Reserve is just the other side of Plettenberg
Families Should Know:
There are unfenced dams and a pool on the premises. The pool in The Villa at Hog Hollow can have a net covering on request. The pool in the Forest Lodge Villa is unfenced. As it's a long drive from Cape Town airport you may want to stop en route in the Overberg.
There are no TVs in any of the suites. However, there is a communal television in the far lounge in the main house, plus one in the children’s playroom. Both villas have a TV.
- Int'l Airport: 5 hours (Cape Town), Domestic airports 1.5 hrs (George), 2.5 hrs (Port Elizabeth)
- Hospital: 30 minutes
Hog Hollow is situated near Plettenberg Bay along the Garden Route of South Africa.
George (130km) or Port Elizabeth (220km) are the nearest airports, though they only receive internal flights. International guests can fly to Cape Town (525km) or Johannesburg (1177km), then either drive or take a connecting flight. Alternatively, it is possible to charter a helicopter from Cape Town to Plettenberg Park (25km). Click on the links below for a list of airlines.
From the Airport
The journey from George Airport takes approximately 1 hour and 40 minutes; transfers can be arranged through the hotel or you can self-drive (see below). From Port Elizabeth Airport it is a 3-hour drive.
If you are touring along the Garden Route, the lodge is just under 6 hours east of Cape Town, and 20 minutes (20km) east of Plettenberg (just off the N2 highway). For car hire see our car rental recommendations.
Detailed directions will be provided when you book through i-escape.
More on getting to South Africa and getting around.
- Cape Town International 525.0 km CPT
- Cape Town International 120.0 km GRJ
- Beach 10.0 km
- Shops 20.0 km
- Restaurant 10.0 km