The drive is no doubt further than popular Knysna, but it is absolutely worth the extra hour or so to reach this haven of natural beauty… Nature’s Valley might just be the most ideal beachside holiday spot you can imagine.
For starters, it’s completely unspoilt. Tree-covered hills surround the beach on all sides, and the beach itself is vast and white and beautiful. The ocean is much warmer than Cape Town (although not quite as warm as Durban, unfortunately) and there’s a beautiful, still lagoon for younger kids to play in or for those who are more adventurous to take to with canoes or paddle-boats. The town itself (if you can call it that) consists of holiday homes, a café for the bare essentials and a lone bar-restaurant where exhausted hikers from the Otter Trail end up, ravenous and thirsty for a cold beer.
Staying in Nature’s Valley is about as relaxing a holiday as you could hope for. Days begin early, no need for alarm clocks here, and an early morning beach walk and swim is practically obligatory. Once the wind picks up (as it often does, unfortunately) it’s time to head back for a sandy afternoon of lazy lunching, reading books and hanging out with friends or family. Then it’s time for an afternoon walk or swim on the beach or round the lagoon, before the just-as-obligatory evening braai.
Nature’s Valley offers the kind of beach holiday I remember having as a child in KwaZulu-Natal – completely laidback, relaxed, sandy and sun-soaked. Only it’s possible to have it just five hours from Cape Town. Guaranteed, it’s something of a mission to bring all the necessary food and drinks for a whole holiday, but because it’s more inconvenient than some of the other nearby towns, it has remained gloriously tucked away. Let’s hope it stays that way!