Originally published in GPS.OutTraveler.com
By Jeffrey James Keyes
When you finally make it to South Africa, a dip in the Indian Ocean is a must. From May to December, not only are the beaches at Hermanus great for swimming, the coastline boasts the premiere whale watching site in South Africa — Walker Bay.
The World Wide Fund for Nature has even acknowledged this quaint holiday destination as one of the best land-based whale watching sites in the world. If you’re on the hunt for a seaside room with a view for an upcoming gay honeymoon, Birkenhead House & Villa is your choice.
Named after the Royal Navy vessel, HMS Birkenhead, which sank back in 1852, this property has risen above the pack of touristy Hermanus accommodation options. Just off the terrace, the aquamarine Indian Ocean fans across the horizon. The beach just below the property is Voëlklip, perfect for a dip in the surf. The friendly staff at Birkenhead is more than happy to pack a picnic basket for your beach adventure. Be sure to lather on the sunscreen, because the African sun will sneak up on you like a Southern Right Whale spouting water from the Hermanus coastline.
Back on the main property, Birkenhead House & Villa lays out the red carpet for its guests. The dual-level courtyard swimming pool is the best place to see and be seen. There is an eclectic attention to detail throughout the property, with a fun collection of seaside antiques in each of the 10 suites and continual rotation of lush, fresh local flowers everywhere. The cuisine in the restaurant is a careful blend of African modern with incredibly fresh seafood and creative dishes inspired by the Ocean. Be sure to have plenty of champagne, reapply that sunscreen, and take a nap next to your beau in the sunshine. You’re on vacation, after all.
On assignment for GPS, intrepid travel writer and photographer Jeffrey James Keyes made his way through South Africa recently. He visited many hotel properties and presents his “Big Five” picks for lodging most suitable for gay and lesbian visitors. Check back next Thursday to discover another.