Vermaaklikheid, Cape Overberg

If you have not heard of Vermaaklikheid it is probably better that you not know. Certainly once you do, you are sworn to secrecy, as this gorgeous escape from it all just 310 km from Cape Town in the heart of the Overberg Region, is the rarely found, often spoken about kind of idyll that remains elusive to most. And those who know of it would like to keep it that way.

Most of Vermaaklikheid rests on, or has access to, the Duiwenhoks River. It's tidal and its shores are washed with fynbos rich banks and a bevy of birds - over 100 species live here. The village, for it is little more, is your real quaint seaside type village, despite being 10 km or more from the beach, rich in thatched cottages, for thatch is freely available in the valley.

More importantly Vermaaklikheid is big on peace and quiet. Unbelievably, and despite being fairly close to the towns of Witsand, Riversdale and Heidelberg, Vermaaklikheid is unspoiled, tranquil and remote. It is also easily accessible from the N2, despite its outback ambience.

When here expect to do little other than fish or read. If you must then you can always canoe along the Duiwenhoks River, which is also safe for swimming. Head off to the river mouth and you'll stumble over a couple of fishermen intent on hauling in a few kob, steenbras or musselcrackers. The coastline here is gorgeous, with limestone cliffs, caves, snorkeling, boating and a line of milkwood trees. Look out for the old-fashioned kapstylhuises along the shore, the boat houses and jetties. Bliss.

De Hoop Nature Reserve is not far from here and well worth a day trip during whale season.

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