A few months ago I visited the Holiday Fair in Utrecht and met René Bongers, the owner of guesthouse The Eight Bells Mountain Inn. Coincidentally, my husband and I spent one night in this charming, South-African hotel during our honeymoon, 20 years ago. As we passed Mossel Bay during our planned trip, we accepted his invitation to visit the hotel again.
During our travel from Stellenbosch to Oudtshoorn, we made a stop for lunch in Mossel Bay for a trip down memory lane.
You can find the hotel along the R328 between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn - perfectly situated to explore this area.
Wining and dining
Wining & Dining
René was already waiting for us upon arrival and since we not only attach great importance to a nice room, but also good food, he offered us a delicious lunch. On sunny days you can enjoy your meal on the lovely terrace with fabulous views of the surroundings. As we were passing through on an overcast day, we ate at the rustic-looking restaurant. White tablecloths, silver cutlery and great food. At lunch I can highly recommend the Plowman's Platter.
The Eight Bells Mountain Inn consists of four separate parts:
- The Pool Terrace with cozy white houses. The corner rooms are connected to a "rondavel" serving as a separate bedroom for children. So perfect for families. And it goes without saying, these rooms are overlooking the pool.
- We were staying at the time in the Swiss Village. Wooden chalets with a terrace where you can enjoy a fabulous view over the forests and mountains. Again, there is one chalet for families.
- Rose Court is set in the garden, near the main building.
- Palm Court is the former stables . Beautiful rooms with views of the mountains and garden. Palm Court is named after the magnificent 20 meter high palm tree that stands in front of the rooms.
Wake up and have this view from your bed! What else do you want?
Children are more than welcome at this hotel. For the little ones there is a cozy playroom where they can amuse themselves for hours. Outside there is a playground with a real tractor, toys and a trampoline, and, of course, there is a pool. In addition, the hotel has many family rooms with a separate sleeping area for the kids. While the kids are in bed, you can sit on your terrace, enjoying the view while sipping a delicious South African wine.
From The Eight Bells Mountain Inn you can make many excursions. Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital, is only 50 km. During the ride to it you enjoy the spectacular views of the Little Karoo. Thirty-five km the other way and you're in Mossel Bay. Here there are plenty of shops and restaurants. During the season (October-November) it is an excellent place to see whales. And for the daredevils among us: you can cage dive with great white sharks. It is also the best place for golfers.
You don’t feel like making trips? No problem, the hotel itself offers a lot of activities. It features a tennis and squash court. Outdoors, there is a bowling green and on the domain of more than 160 hectares runs a wood footpath.
Horse lovers will definitely love it over here. Twice a day you can take a trip through the area. A guide will take you into the mountains for an unforgettable ride. Here no tame, skinny horses for tourists but beautiful, well-groomed horses that graze in the surrounding meadows.
From the hotel you can also make a wonderful day trip over the Swartberg Pass. This panoramic route of about 300 km takes you through different landscapes at a height of 1500 meters. Lunch in Prince Albert, stop for a wine tasting at Mountain Water Wine Cellars, visit the Cango Caves, ....
René attaches great importance to the environment and the hotel is fully self-sufficient. The water here comes from a local source, electricity is generated by its own generator, and hot water comes from two conventional boilers. Horse manure, leaves and waste are composted to fertilize the garden. Moreover, he supports the local school and he has even given them a rugby field.
If you pass this region during your visit to South Africa, I can highly recommend The Eight Bells Mountain Inn. Be sure to check their website and let me know if you've been there.