Of all our hideaways in the West Coast National Park, this is the closest to the beach and has the most intimate relationship with the lagoon. Hout Huisie is enviably positioned all on its own near the tip of a little peninsula in Schrywershoek and backed by a marshy wetland. With no shops or restaurants to distract you, this is a place to unwind and let your days be governed by the moods of Langebaan Lagoon and the gentle rhythms of life in this West Coast hamlet.
Centerpiece of the community is a small Anglican church and a picturesque graveyard where one gravestone inscription reads, ‘Sakkie Pieterse, a man who would give his last fish.’ There are three clusters of whitewashed, chalkstone cottages strung along a bluff overlooking lagoon beaches where boats are drawn up on the sand. The older buildings, many dating from the 19th century, have end chimneys, reed ceilings, window frames and rafters fashioned from the timbers of wrecked ships and interiors full of flotsam, antiques and lagoon memorabilia.
In the 1960’s Theodore Wiehahn bought Schrywershoek, a large farm that extended across the peninsula from lagoon to Atlantic.
The blue-roofed timber bungalow is a distinctive landmark sitting alone on a sandy point just south of the hamlet of Churchhaven. The interiors are rustic chic, with two bedrooms and a lovely deck that’s only a few paces from the beach. The sweep of white sand at your doorstep is effectively a private beach, never frequented by more than a handful of others from the distant cottages.
The cottage is filled with the presence of the lagoon, its quiet lapping a dreamy constant, its kaleidoscopic blues and greens a balm to the eye after the harshness of the surrounding veld in summer. One of the privileges of staying at Hout Huisie is that guests have sole access to the southern end of the lagoon, which lies within the farm’s borders. You can wander for hours along these pristine shores, impossibly rich in bird life, and not see another person.
Guests spend their days watching the parade of flamingos that stain the lagoon rosy pink, picnicking on the beach, cycling in the national park or walking the lovely paths through marshlands and fynbos covered dunes. Evenings here are simply ethereal. Take a seat in the spectacular braai lapa at the water’s edge and crack open a cold one as meat sizzles on the grid. The wind has dropped and the sky’s palette is reflected in the water. You watch as an old timer rows his fishing boat into the deeper blue of the channel. Soon the night sky – free of light pollution – is thickly packed with stars, their pinprick lights mirrored in the lagoon.
This cottage provides a perfect family hideaway throughout the year: each season has something different to offer. Take your bicycle, kayak, running shoes, hiking boots, bucket-and-spade, loads of reading material … and let this magical corner of a magical lagoon help you unwind, re-evaluate and recalibrate.
Hout Huisie is currently available for photo shoots, versatile in its ability to echo beach or island locations in Greece, the New England coast, the Caribbean or just about anywhere in the Mediterranean. And if you’re seeking a castaway, Robinson Crusoe chic experience, look no further!
What we love!
- What makes Hout Huisie so special is its isolated location and intimate relationship with the lagoon. The water changes hue throughout the day.
- A paradise for hikers and mountain-bikers.
- The pristine, fynbos surroundings deep inside a national park.
- A back-to-basics, barefoot lifestyle at the water’s edge.
- It’s the perfect launchpad for viewing the spring flowers in Postberg’s wildflower reserve.
- Exploring the shoreline with its magnificent birdlife, especially the huge flocks of flamingos. Lagoon birding is exceptional with more than 250 species recorded. In summer the shallow, southern (Schrywershoek) part of the lagoon is home to the largest number of migrant waders in South Africa, including curlew sandpiper, little stint and turnstones. Look out for specials such as bar-tailed godwit, terek sandpiper and chestnut-banded plover.
What you need to know…
- Make the most of life on the lagoon… there are SUPS and Kayaks available to rent during your stay.
- This is 100% off grid.
- Only 12 vault batteries can charge a cell phone and laptop.
- Sunshine is needed to recharge the batteries. Use sparingly
- Water is pumped into the water tanks from a water source. Use with care and sparingly.
- This is a place of tranquility, please keep it this way.
- You need to bring drinking water
- The road is sand and can be loose in places.
- The nearest neighbour is about 100 metres away
- No dogs permitted.
Reviewed by Justin Fox