The COVID-19 pandemic has put everybody’s resilience to the test this year. Everybody is stressed, exhausted and in need of a break – and the Manor House at Fancourt might be just the escape you are looking for.
If you did not feel quite confident enough treating yourself to a holiday during the busy festive season, there are countless reasons why you should go for it sometime during the first half of 2021. But why the Garden Route? And why the Manor House, in particular?
The annual World Travel Awards (the Oscars of the travel industry) announced their winners at the beginning of November, with the Manor House at Fancourt named as South Africa’s Leading Country House Hotel – so you know you’re getting luxury and hospitality beyond compare. Dating back to the 1850s, The Manor House is a 5-star, 18-suite boutique hotel that delivers the opulence, quiet sophistication and romance of an exclusive country retreat.
A romantic Garden Route escape
The Manor House was built in the style of a Cotswold mansion and it has served as a restful, romantic haven for guests for decades. The most notable aspects of the Manor House include its gorgeous garden (complete with a peaceful gazebo), its private dining decks, swimming pool and library – just calling for you to curl up with a good book.
The Manor House is a child-free zone on the Fancourt Estate, so while you are welcome to enjoy all the facilities and action on Fancourt, including its wide-open spaces and nature trails; award-winning golf courses; and blissful spa and leisure centre, you can also retreat to the Manor House for the quiet, peaceful and oh so grown-up luxuries it is so well known for.
Think private dining under the stars, couples’ spa treatments in the privacy of your room, tea in the library (or in the garden’s charming gazebo) or hours lounging poolside with a page-turner.
After the long, taxing year that was 2020, you’ll be excused for hiding out at the Manor House for the duration of your stay. However, it is good to know that Fancourt is a safe base from which to explore the rest of the Garden Route and its many pleasures and treasures. Some travellers will be looking for an adrenalin-inducing adventure while others will be hoping to sit back, relax, and indulge in life’s more sophisticated pleasures. Here are a few ideas to add to your itinerary.
Whimsical wine tastings
The Garden Route is earning a reputation for its expansive winelands and award-winning wines, so a tasting or two should definitely make it onto your list of must-dos. Explore the wine route by hopping from estate to estate (the Manor House team can recommend their favourites) or book a romantic picnic and enjoy platters of cheese, charcuterie and local produce – complete with sweeping views and wicker baskets.
Alternatively, try your hand (and test your palate) at a wine and chocolate pairing, wine and candyfloss pairing, and, of course, a classic wine and cheese pairing.
Garden Route game drives
The Garden Route’s resident wildlife is most active at dusk and dawn – hence the reason why sunset and sunrise game drives are so popular. The early birds who don’t mind being up and about while it’s still dark will have the opportunity to observe the animals rousing from their slumber and starting their leisurely morning stroll towards the waterhole or preparing to head out on a hunt. Sunset game drives, on the other hand, promise sights of herds retreating to their resting places and getting cosy for the night. Obviously, both options also have incredible views of the honeyed African landscape in store and with any luck you’ll have a morning coffee or sundowner in hand!
Galloping horse rides
The Garden Route is home to a variety of scenic hiking and horse trails, providing travellers with a chance to get up close and personal with nature.
Black Horse Trails offers some of the best horse riding between Plettenberg Bay, Knysna, Sedgefield, Wilderness & George, which could see you trotting through indigenous forests and down peaceful, off-the-beaten-track trails as you explore the most beautiful rides in the Eden district (no crowds or public roads on these gorgeous routes!). Riders of all levels of experience are welcome, just note that this is a cash-only business as there are no credit card facilities this far out in paradise!
Toast to health and happiness for the duration of 2021 with oysters and bubbles! Knysna is world-renowned for its oysters, so consider a Knysna Heads Oyster Experience that includes a slow cruise from Thesen Island Harbour towards the Knysna Heads, with light snacks and drinks onboard – and wonderful views of The Heads.
After the many challenges faced in recent times, everyone deserves some time off to indulge, reflect, and recover. Head to the Garden Route (where Fancourt’s health and safety protocols are firmly on place), de-stress at the ultra-luxe Manor House, support local and make 2021 the year to remember for all the right reasons!