If you follow me on Instagram, you might have noticed that a little while ago my family and I visited a little patch of heaven in Stanford, Western Cape called Mosaic Private Sanctuary. I can honestly say that it is one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited, and I completely lost myself in the tranquility and nature that surrounded us.
Mosaic Private Sanctuary is situated only 2 hours outside of Cape Town – and they have it all. Ocean, magnificent mountain views, a lagoon, nature, bird life and beautiful night skies. Mosaic, in my opinion, is one of South Africa’s most incredible hidden gems, a luxury boutique resort laced with earthly beauty – and it is situated on the Whale Coast, so now you know where to go whale watching this year.
Mosaic Private Sanctuary is famous for the Spook Huis, built in 1892. For over a century, people have sailed across the lagoon or traveled the dirt roads to visit the abandoned “Spookhuis” (Afrikaans for Ghost House). Some camped on the grassy shore by the old stone homestead and told scary stories in the moonlit nights. For years people have reported seeing the figure of an elderly lady looking like Agnes Stroud (one of the original owners) sitting under nearby Milkwood trees with a parasol… on approaching she could not be found. Thus the “spook” of the Spookhuis. Unfortunately, I did not bump into their lovely ghost, and no-one at Mosaic has ever seen her – so I guess she is at peace with the gorgeous restoration of her once abandoned home.
“Restoring this property has been realizing a dream and is part of our lives’ work. Our mission on Mosaic is one of renewal and restoration. Renewal for those who stay here… Restoration of hope and livelihoods in the local community through job creation and education… Restoration of the eco-system in our little corner of the Cape Floral Kingdom.” – Breese Johnson, owner
Today, the Spookhuis is better known for its gourmet picnics, cheese platters, delicious desserts, barbecues, wine, spirits & great hot beverages that can be enjoyed under the canopy of ancient Milkwood trees. If there is a chill in the air, you can have your meal or refreshments around roaring fires in their cafe, lounge or library. A perfect place to spend a day with family and friends. A day, however, was not enough for me – so we opted to stay in one of the Milkwood Cottages for two nights. Mosaic Private Sanctuary is split into two resorts – the self-catering Milkwood & Duminy Cottages by the Spookhuis and then the Lagoon Lodge further down the road, which is a more luxurious option. Upon arrival, we were greeted by friendly staff who showed us to what would be our home for the next two days.
The beautiful stone cottages are surrounded by Milkwood trees and fynbos gardens, and perfect for families to enjoy plenty of space, activities and time together. After a particularly tough year, this was the perfect place for our family to “restore” ourselves and start 2016 with a new sense of appreciation. Each of the cottages have a unique layout and have been built in an environmentally friendly way with stone from Mosaic. All have kitchen facilities, indoor fireplaces, outdoor patios and BBQs, and are serviced daily by the loveliest staff.
Our cottage was beautiful, and suited our needs perfectly. I loved the earthy, home-away-from-home feel. It was light, yet cosy and warm. It reminded me of the kind of place a writer would go to write his/her best-selling novel… The main bedroom was my favourite part of the house, with high wooden ceilings, a little desk, and beautiful big windows looking out onto the gardens.
After unpacking, we decided to take a stroll through the gardens to the lagoon before returning to our cottage to have dinner. I honestly don’t have the words to describe the feeling of looking at something this beautiful. I felt at peace for the first time in months… nature really is the best way to heal a broken soul. These photo’s can never do the scenery justice, but I tried…
We returned to our cottage only to have the picnic basket we ordered waiting for us on the dining room table. You would notice on the photo’s above that there are numerous picnic tables scattered around the property, where you can enjoy your food should you wish. It was quite late and the wind was chilly, so we rather opted to have our meal on the patio at our cottage. Now let me start off by saying that I did not have high hopes. As a Vegan family, we have more often than not been disappointed by the lack of catering or imagination at establishments. I was so surprised when I lifted the cover… the chef went out of her way to create the most beautiful and truly delicious meal. Freshly baked bread, a gorgeous summer salad and structured olive, butternut, baby marrow, sweet corn, tomato, onion marmalade and walnut towers decorated with edible flowers (to my daughters’ delight)… it tasted even better than it looked. It truly was a feast, and the amount of effort and thought that went into our little picnic basket really impressed me.
After dinner, we bathed the kids, read them bedtime stories and sat on the porch sipping tea in the cool evening air. We went to bed to the sound of crickets and the wind rustling through the old Milkwood trees.
We woke up bright and early the next morning – somehow our kids missed the memo that we were on holiday and their internal alarm clocks went off earlier than usual! We prepared our breakfast in the quaint kitchen and prepared ourselves for the day’s activities. The plan was to go out on the lagoon with the boat, and we walked up to the Spookhuis to wait for our guide. While waiting, we explored the beautiful old house. The library was incredible – stocked with some of the oldest books and instruments. I could lose myself in there – If I did not have the kids with me I would have spent our entire stay in one of the corners with my nose in a book.
Unfortunately it was too windy to go out on the boat, so we ended up going out in the 4×4 open air safari vehicle to explore the local fynbos and visit the beach. It was so bumpy, but somehow Knox still managed to fall asleep on our way there and back! Our guide was so clued up and we learned a lot about the local flora and fauna. It was so much fun… then the vehicle stopped. Look at that sand dune… do I look like someone who climbs sand dunes???! Well, I did it anyway, crying on the inside. It was so worth it – the beach is so hidden and has an “untouched” feel to it. This secret beach is where you will be watching the whales during whale season – swimming and frolicking in the water right in front of you. I was handed a glass of wine and I sat back watching the kids pick up shells and playing in the water. Walker Bay Beach is a destination to be savored – it felt sacred, like we were trespassing on a spot humans were not supposed to know about. It is a meeting point of mountain and sea, uniquely laced with spectacular marine life, coastal fynbos, and birds. Mosaic is the only place from which you can venture to a secluded part of this gorgeous beach, and it is accessible only by 4×4.
We returned to Mosaic and lazed around a bit, before heading to the Spookhuis Lagoon Cafe for lunch. After the incredible dinner we had last night, I was looking forward to what they would have on offer for us – especially as the main pull to the restaurant at the moment is their casual Southern style barbecue inspired from Tennessee and Texas (pulled pork, beef brisket and chicken – menu changes), mixed with spices and homemade bread from Southern Africa. Vegetables are gathered daily from Mosaic’s organic garden and roasted or put into salads. There are also great cheese and meat platters as well as desserts on the menu. We received a massive platter of fresh fruit and veg, after which the kids munched on delicious freshly baked chocolate brownies. It was so nice to enjoy our meal and drinks while our kids played in the Milkwood trees.
The barbecue is a casual affair. Outdoor seating is on the patio, or at picnic tables on the Lagoon edge or under Milkwood trees. Indoor seating is also available. A Boules court provides hours of fun. The Lagoon Cafe is open Wednesday-Sunday 11am-5pm.
In the afternoon we set out on the quad bikes to explore further – the kids had so much fun! Once again, Knox fell asleep… he must have a thing for engines and bumpy roads. The Fynbos Quad Biking tour was a highlight of our stay. We rode along the edge of the lagoon and up to high points on Mosaic where we were treated to a 360 degree view of the ocean, lagoon, and mountains. Along the way we learned about the magnificent flora, birds, mammals, and lagoon wetlands. These beautiful characteristics are inherent to the fynbos biome of South Africa’s southern coast, and it is truly a terrain like no other.
After the rough quad bike ride (I think I’m getting old) I treated myself to a massage at the Rain Africa Spa which is situated at the Lagoon Lodge. Thanks to mother nature, their setting provides a tranquil, and soothing backdrop for any treatments, and coupled with products from Rain Africa, it’s an experience worth indulging in.
The rest of our stay was dedicated to spending quality time together, healing as a family (we had suffered a great loss a few months before), getting ready for the start of a busy year and just getting some peace and tranquility.
Life can sometimes really get tough, and with our current busy lifestyles it is so important to just schedule some time with the family – away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Time where there is nothing that ‘has’ to be done, where everything can wait and you can just be. I can highly recommend Mosaic for just that – the tranquility and peace you experience when you change the pace of life and really slow down, even for a weekend, is so worth tapping into every now and again.
Thank you Mosaic, it was the perfect start to our year.
Caffeine and Fairydust readers can enjoy a special promotion on the already discounted rates for May – August 2016.
* Book into a Mosaic Cottage April – August and receive a free quad bike excursion valued at R300pp!
* Book into the Mosaic Lagoon Lodge April – August and receive a 15% discount. Lagoon Lodge is inclusive of all meals, house beverages and Mosaic activities.
All you have to do to qualify for this amazing promotion, is sign up for their newsletter by clicking on this link – you can unsubscribe at any time.
* Terms & Conditions Apply. These specials are applicable on MOSAIC‘s already discounted winter rates May – August. Valid for new bookings only which have been booked and confirmed before 30 April 2016, and while this special is being promoted. Subject to availability. Mosaic Cottage Special: Cottages can be booked on a catered or self catered basis – additional charges apply for catered stays; ages 16 years and older are permitted to drive the quad bikes. Ages 4-15 may ride with an adult. Please note that we value your information. You may unsubscribe from our newsletter at any time using the Unsubscribe button in the newsletter footer
for more information, please visit the Mosaic Private Sanctuary Website.
Reservations: +27 76 313 2814
Office: +27 28 313 2814
Cell no: +27 82 825 3211
Click here to see their rates.