The visual beauty of this place called Arniston is beyond pleasure for my eyes. Let me tell you more about this unspoiled village with it’s rugged coastline which has been sculpted into dramatic contours, overhangs and caves. I’m dedicating this post to my dear friend (HW), who believes that Arniston is boring and way too far a drive from home.
On my first visit to Arniston I fell in love with it’s refreshing clean air and the fact that it’s situated along the coastal line of the Indian ocean. Beautiful turquoise beaches, picturesque landscapes all cramp in this little fisherman’s village. Cosy little eateries with stunning views and romantic walks on the powder white sand is all you need to let yourself go.
Then I have to mention the Arniston Spa & Hotel. Its interior design is made in light tones and enriched with pictorial details to create an atmosphere of elegance, relaxation and comfort.The restaurant offers a number of sophisticated wines and a drool-worthy menu that is both delightful and appetizing. Bon appetite` darlings. Be sure not to miss out on their absolutely fabulous spa treatments, what more can a girl ask for?
My friend told me I was crazy to return, but I love Arniston. No matter where I go, it always calls me back, like it has a piece of my heart.
Two-hours from Cape Town, Arniston is accessible along a finger of road that extends 25-kilometers past the closest town, Bredasdorp, towards the southern reaches of South Africa’s coast. Relatively isolated and undeveloped, Arniston is known as a coastal retreat. Set against an aquamarine sea, the village is dotted with thatch-roofed white-washed cottages, the most famous ones forming the 200-year old Kassiesbaai, home to generations of villagers – in fact, the only people allowed to live there are the few that have been born there.
Kassiesbaai, a 200-year old fisherman’s village of Arniston, now a National Monument.
One of the worst nautical disasters of all time where 372 lives were lost and only six survived when this East Indian ship – which had until then survived pirate attacks and eight journeys between Great Britain and the Far East – sank unceremoniously in 1815. Apparently the owners of the ship didn’t put much thought into accurate navigation and decided it would be better to save a couple of bucks than to buy a marine chronometer, yesteryear’s GPS. Travelling in a convoy of six other ships, the Arniston had to rely on them for accurate navigation. As with most things in life, you don’t really need them until you really, really do. Unfortunately for the Arniston the weather did not play along and a week before her demise she was given a death sentence. The weather turned against their favor.
Rough seas and gale force winds damaged her sails, separating her from the convoy. The storms continued. Strong ocean currents led to one navigational error after the next, and eventually the Captain fatally headed north, running all 1468 tons aground over the L’Agulhas Reef just 900-metres from shore.
After a week of death row, it was all over for most within a few hours.
Today the ribs of the ship can be seen among the sand dunes, and fragments of its once proud brass-plated hull shine out in shades of weathered green to those who are lucky enough to find them.
The famous cave which can be accessed during low tide are a familiar tourist attraction. From Romans beach it’s an easy walk up and down the dunes to reach a hidden haven. I imagine myself how pirates must have used this cave as their hideaway in the olden days.
The rumbling of the waves as the sea heaved itself against the rocks below us sounded deep and powerful while the sight of birds gliding by just out of reach in the window of the cave’s opening formed a tranquil scene, all to the soundtrack of the whistling wind.
“Oh, yes!” I exclaimed, pink-cheeked and breathless, feeling more like a winner than ever. We’ve made it! The view is breathtaking.
The resort we were booked in is cosy and comfortable. The bedrooms has crisp white bedding and their buffet breakfast are top class. I swear everything I’ve ever had from their restaurant was extra fresh and mouth-watering. The fruit salad, the pastries even the garden salad was most delicious. Our rooms were serviced daily, laundry service was on offer plus for the fitness junky they have a well equipped gym.
I love holidaying around our beautiful country, but one thing is for sure. I will always return to dear old Arniston to find rest and relaxation for my tired body and soul. I don’t know if it might be the sad history of all the fisherman that has brought on this soft spot I have for this area or is it just because I spend my honeymoon here a couple of moons back .