Mosaic Private Sanctuary

near Hermanus, Hermanus & Overberg, South Africa Book from

Reviewed by Sandra Macgregor
Escape the world for a while at this tranquil nature reserve, with luxe suites, budget self-catering and guided nature walks
Among the best places in the world for whale-watching and wine tasting, the Overberg region has somehow remained largely untouched by the trappings of tourism. Just 2 hours east of Cape Town, it makes a refreshing change. You'll find charming antique shops, pretty seaside villages, and great restaurants. Mosaic Private Sanctuary, fronted by an azure lagoon and the imposing Overberg Mountains, makes a dreamy base for your stay. Set on 1,000 hectares of private land, with fragrant fynbos all around, you could easily spend all your days lazing on your private deck and admiring the stunning views. But don’t get too comfortable in those lounge chairs; take advantage of the fabulous guided activities on offer - kayaking, bird and wildflower hikes, pontoon cruises on the lagoon.

Despite all the space, there are only 9 guest residences. Ideal for romance, the secluded Lagoon Lodge features 5 luxe suites and a communal lapa with plunge pool, laid out among century-old milkwood trees. Three km away by the 1892 Spookhuis (main building), 4 spacious, self-catering cottages offer practical budget accommodation, where family and friends can barbecue the night away under star-stained skies.


  • Location: you're a 40-minute drive from fantastic wineries and Hermanus, which has some of the world’s best land-based whale-watching
  • The stunning design, which centres on glass and stones. Floor-to-ceiling windows make the most of stellar views, and the rough, earthy stonework complements the natural setting
  • The spoiling Lagoon Lodge Suites with their kingsize beds, fireplaces, outdoor showers and private decks with awesome views
  • Lagoon Lodge Suite and Family Suite rates are all inclusive and there's good food in the lapa: fresh, inventive and flavoursome
  • Birders will be in heaven - we saw pink flamingoes, resplendent blue cranes, weavers, bulbuls and bush shrikes


    • You’ll need a car, though those staying in Lagoon Lodge Suites get transported to all their activities
    • Of the self-catering Mosaic Cottages, only Duminy has a direct view of the lagoon; the others overlook fynbos. This is also the case for Number 3 of the Lagoon Lodge Suites
    • A set dinner menu for Lodge guests, with only 1 choice for starters and desserts, and 2 choices for main
    • No pool for cottage guests

Best time to go

Though it will be late winter/early spring in South Africa, with variable weather and a little chilly at night, the best time of year to visit Mosaic Sanctuary is August through to the end of October, as this is prime whale-watching season. This is also when the area’s dazzling wildflowers are in full bloom; the region is part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the world’s smallest yet richest plant biome.

Our top tips

Birdlife is truly plentiful here, and if you’re a light sleeper you'll want to bring ear plugs so you're not woken at dawn by lyrical birdsong. But even if you’re not a morning person, this place is worth rising early for! Dawn is the best time of day to possibly catch sight of the notoriously shy caracals or, if you’re lucky, the resident African wild cat.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Lodge + Cottages
  • 5 suites + 4 cottages for 3-9
  • All inclusive lodge, self-catering cottages, cafe for lunches
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Plunge Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Daily Maid Service
  • Towels & Bedlinen
  • Bicycles Available
  • Quad bikes to hire


Mosaic Private Sanctuary offers 2 types of accommodation. The LAGOON LODGE is for guests staying on an all-inclusive basis, and located 3km from the main property in a secluded grove of milkwoods. There are 5 standalone Lagoon Lodge Suites (all with kingsized beds; the Lagoon Lodge Family Suite also has a raised platform which can fit 2 mattresses for children), and all are designed to melt into their surroundings. Luxurious yet with a down-to-earth feel thanks to the use of stone and wood, the décor is elegant but with nothing superfluous to interfere with the sense of space. In ours, a comfy bed with safari-style mosquito netting faced massive floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors, which opened onto a large wooden deck overlooking the lagoon and mountains (Room 3 overlooks fynbos instead). The bathrooms all have outdoor showers and large, deep tubs indoors. There is no A/C but ceiling fans help cut the heat and there are now fireplaces in each of these rooms for chillier nights.

All rooms are connected to the communal lapa via wooden boardwalks; this is where Lagoon Lodge guests eat their meals. Out front there's a gently heated plunge pool that overlooks the lagoon and mountains.

The 4 SELF-CATERING MOSAIC COTTAGES (Milkwood 1-3 and Duminy) are set near the 1892 Spookhuis, which houses the Mosaic Lagoon Café , conference centre and library. They are less stylised than the suites but priced accordingly, and a great option for families or groups with lots of space, modern furnishings, fully equipped kitchens and fans. Each cottage has a spacious outdoor area with a braai for barbecues (Milkwood 3's is an indoor braai). They vary in size: each has 1-3 double bedrooms, and can sleep an additional 1-5 guests in bunk rooms/rollaway beds/sofabeds. See Rates for details.

Features include:

  • All-inclusive for Lagoon Lodge guests
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Fan
  • Full kitchens in cottages
  • Hairdryer
  • Plunge pool
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


The rates for Lagoon Lodge guests are all-inclusive, and meals are served at the Lodge lapa. Dinner is a 3-course set meal, with a choice of only the main course, though special dietary requests can be accommodated. When we stayed, the menu was fresh, inventive and flavoursome with a salad of pine nuts, watermelon, pomegranates and feta stealing the show. The meat and vegetables are locally sourced with many herbs and vegetables coming from Mosaic Private Sanctuary’s organic garden. Regular features include chicken and beef with garden-fresh vegetables and homemade bread. The wine menu is large and reasonably priced with a focus on local wineries.

Breakfast was generous but standard. Eggs are made to order with sides of toast, mushrooms and tomatoes. Fruit cups and bran muffins sit on a side table for you to help yourselves to. Guest staying at the self-catering cottages can order breakfast, lunch and braai baskets to be delivered.

The Mosaic Lagoon Café at the 1892 Spookhuis is open from 11am-3pm daily, to all guests and the general public. Lagoon Lodge guests can be shuttled over. The small, fresh menu emphasises locally made cheese and charcuterie platters. Breakfast baskets, drinks and dinner dishes or braai platters can be delivered to the self-catering cottages, and homemade preserves, muffins, bread and desserts are sold at the cafe. Otherwise, the nearest place to buy food is a 15-minute drive away in Stanford. You'll need to buy everything, including salt, pepper, teabags etc as nothing is provided in the cottages. Each cottage has an oven, hob, microwave, fridge and braai.

If you want to eat out, you'll be spoilt for choice, though there's nothing within walking distance. Springfontein Eats at the winery of the same name 3km away is fantastic (its owners previously held a Michelin Star in Germany). Marianna’s and Mogg's Country Kitchen are local favourites. All 3 of these restaurants will require advance booking. Madre’s Kitchen in Stanford offers delicious, garden-fresh comfort food, but watch out for the resident cat, who tried to swipe a piece of fish off my plate! For dinner, it’s worth the drive to Hemel-en-Aarde where several wineries such as Newton Johnson have popular fine-dining restaurants.

Features include:

  • The Mosaic Lagoon Café for lunches and groceries
  • Organic produce
  • Vegetarian menu
  • All-inclusive for Lagoon Lodge guests


  • A plethora of activities are on offer (they differ slightly depending on the season) and most are included for Lagoon Lodge guests; see Rates. Options include kayaking, guided bird and wildflower hikes, guided quad-bike tours and 4x4 beach excursions, trips to idyllic Walker Bay beach for drinks and walks (and dolphin and southern right whale sightings in season), or pontoon cruises along the lagoon

  • Or explore the nature reserve independently; Mosaic has mountain bikes for rent

  • Whale-watching from Hermanus is a must in season (August to October). Mosaic will help make bookings on a boat trip

  • Shark-cage diving in the nearby town of Gansbaai is the perfect activity for adrenaline junkies; the area hosts one of the world’s largest populations of great whites

  • Stand mere feet away from charming African penguins at Stony Point in the town of Betty’s Bay. Signage to the penguin viewing area is sparse, so if you get lost, as we did, just ask a local for directions - they’re used to it

  • Wine tasting is practically a national sport. Some of the country’s best wines are made here; ask staff for vineyard recommendations

  • Enjoy a pint of beer (our favourite was the Honey Blond Ale) at the Birkenhead Brewery in Stanford, home to one of South Africa’s most popular craft breweries

  • Visit nearby Klein River Cheese for a delicious opportunity to sample and buy locally made, award-wining cheeses

  • Visit the Mosaic Rain Spa and enjoy some hot stone treatment or a massage. They offer gel manis and pedis too; great when you're travelling

  • Explore the stone-age wonders of Klipgat Cave, where humans lived over 70,000 years ago

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Boat trips
  • Breweries
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Kayaking
  • Mountain biking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Quad biking
  • Shark-cage diving
  • Traditional cultures
  • Whalewatching
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting


Children of all ages are welcome, though kids aged 8+ will get the most out of the activities on offer. This is not a place to let young kids run around unobserved as the occasional snake has been known to make an appearance. Mosaic can provide a baby cot or extra bed in the Lagoon Lodge Suites, but most families opt for a cottage.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years), Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

The self-catering cottages are perfect for families, with kitchens, living rooms and space outside. Milkwood 1 sleeps 3, Milkwood 2 sleeps 4 adults + 2 children, Milkwood 3 sleeps 4 adults + 4 children, and Duminy sleeps 9. There's also a Lagoon Lodge Family Suite with a double bed and space for 2 single matresses for children on a raised platform.


Child minding can be arranged for an additional fee


  • Airport: 2 hours
Kid Friendly:

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