December. Summer feels. Shining smiles. Glowing skin. Looking forward to a break? Our holiday ideas for vegans in the Western Cape include amazing, plant-based attractions that will inspire you to jumpstart your New Year’s Veganuary resolutions.
1. Go bos on the Garden Route:
Peace of Eden is an incredible all-rounder that tops the Garden Route road trip list. As the first fully-vegan lodge in South Africa, the strictly plant-based destination celebrates cruelty-free cuisine and eco-conscious living. Its handful of charming, private cottages are niched away in lush Rheenendal gardens overlooking an indigenous forest valley. For an immersive adventure, stay in a purpose-built bush tent and wake up to a canopy of trees in the comfort of a cosy bed. Guests can order delicious, freshly-made vegan cuisine prepared with care by lead ladies Jennifer and Jessamine. Nature lovers are invited to explore the natural surrounds with a specialised, FGASA-qualified field guide and expert birder, Howard, who focuses on nature trails, wildlife spotting and responsible, natural foraging.
If you’re taking it easy, there are many safe, secret spots on site to simply reconnect with yourself, your health, the environment and the creatures that inhabit it. Try the little lily dam for a good time with your selfie. The lodge extends its ethos down the N2 to the local weekly Wild Oats Community Farmers’ Market in Sedgefield. The Peace of Food vegan stall conjures up delicious, on-demand meals for healthy and naughty appetites alike. That’s every Saturday morning 8 am till 12 noon sharp.
2. Give Greyton (animals) some love:
13 km from the N2, Greyton Farm Animal Sanctuary is home to nearly 150 rescued and reclaimed pigs, sheep, goats, geese, chickens and ducks enjoying a forever home safe from abattoirs and factory farms. Since its inception in 2014, the non-profit project has offered a safe haven to creatures of all kinds who are orphaned, sick, disabled, surrendered, abused, neglected, or retired from farm life. Animals roam freely by day and are safely housed from predators by night.
The farm offers carefully-supervised adoption and invites extended volunteer stays. “The sanctuary attracts an incredible bunch of people to it,” says recent volunteer, Megan Schalit, on the website, “people who really care about the animals and their stories – it is amazing to see what an impact it has on each and every one of them.” Nicola and Rohan welcome visitors by prior appointment exclusively.
Pop in to Pure Cafe, a plant-based eatery in the heart of the quaint little town. Whether it’s a decadent hot chocolate and delicately baked croissant, a kinder cottage pie or a berry delicious dairy-free shake, you’re spoilt for choice.
3. Feed your soul in Hermanus:
Listed by Huffington Post as “one of 8 awesome wellness retreats you didn’t know about”, Bodhi Khaya is vegan-friendly retreat on a 217 acre fynbos plot in the foothills of the whale route. A mere 2 hours from Cape Town, this sanctuary for the spirit runs a variety of yoga retreats, and a new Earth School which blends ancient indigenous spiritual wisdom, modern technology, mindfulness and ecological restoration. Earth students embark on a transformation path at their own pace, and develop a more intimate relationship with the environment, lifestyle, and community they’re contributing to and growing through. Stretch your soul at this vegan-friendly vegetarian centre.
Hermanus is also home to what the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) calls one of the top whale watching sight on earth. You can watch the antics of Southern Right, Humpback and Bryde’s whales from the air with a charter flight or on the ocean with a cruise boat, but there are also many spots on land for the budget traveller. Look for viewing terraces at Old Harbour, great vantage points at Kwaaiwater, and along the Cliff Path which has a 12 km stretch that promises some really close encounters with these sages of the open sea.
If you’re more of a land lover, discover the birds, bees, and the beasts of untainted Fernkloof Nature Reserve in the KleinRivier Mountains above the ocean town. Chris is a Cape flora expert with a doctorate in indigenous fynbos who offers a two-hour walking tour. “The Cape Floral Region is world famous for the diversity and beauty of its plants. To the casual visitor, the ‘fynbos’ can look unimpressive,” he points out. “This experience will take you on a journey to learn exactly what is fynbos and what makes it so special.” Chris knows a lot about the area’s natural history of birds, insects and geology and promises you’ll find flowers not to pick any time of year.
Not necessarily vegan but definitely trending, hire an accomplished local photographer to snap your scenes for you. Carmen Visser captures magical moments with a warmth and ease matched only by her amazing compositions and edits.
4. Make your mark in The Mother City:
Finding compassionate food is easy in Cape Town. Veganos can safely eat at one of the many vegan restaurants like Kind Kitchen, Constantia (which also as an urban counterpart in Woodstock), Plant in the city bowl, or the Mount Nelson (vegan!) high tea. We think a holistic lifestyle goes one step further. Pay it forward on your vegan holiday by becoming a short-term volunteer and give back with gratitude.
You could dig in at a community garden like Tyisa Nabanye permaculture garden on Erf 81 overlooking the beautiful city with a view of Table Mountain. You could help out at an independent animal shelter like Dog Animal Rescue Group (DARG) or TEARS. They always need dog walkers, cat coddlers, help with maintenance, and professional expertise. They might even let you to choose your volunteer shift duration, times and days. You don’t need a whole lot of time to make a big difference, just a whole lot of heart. Please remember that it’s important to book your volunteering in advance.
5. Grab a cab on the West Coast:
No visit to the Western Cape is complete without wine, right? Far be it for vegans to be left behind on this one! Org de Rac Wines, 90 minutes north of the Mother City on the N7, has a treat for your ethical taste buds. Master Winemaker Frank Meaker told Wine.co.za that “…due to our organic approach in the vineyard we cut out many additives in the winemaking process which happened to include animal-based fining agents.” Its Piketberg wine tasting experience promises guilt-free flavours that suit the gorgeous, open surrounds.
This northernmost Swartland region winery has “some of the oldest soil compositions in the world, formed 80 million years ago with the shifting of tectonic plates in the region,” he continues. “Beautiful soils of sandstone and clay, especially rich in iron, hence the characteristic red colour.” Feast your eyes and your palate with the assurance that no animals were harmed in the making of your cabernet sauvignon, shiraz, merlot and more. Cheers!
Hungry for more? Click or tap on our list of vegan restaurants and eateries so you can help save the animals one plate at a time.
P.S. Not taking a break right now? These holiday ideas for vegans in the Western Cape are available year-round and make a great autumn city break or short stay in deepest winter. Take care to call in advance to find out if there’s room/availability as some destinations may take breaks over the cooler months, or be fully booked!