Hair blowing in the breeze, my beaming water sprite flits fairylike from rock to rock, her white dress billowing behind her as her gaze is drawn over and again to the foaming ocean lapping at the shore.
It calls her, as always, but she manages to resist giving in to her usual trick of leaping in fully clothed, the bronze-tipped kelp forest that peaks its way through the churning waters of the chilly Atlantic best left to the cacophony of sea creatures that call it home.
Instead, she focuses on following the scuttling crabs darting in and out of the smooth boulders that form the beach, stopping only to mewl out an occasional inhuman noise, her efforts at chatting with the whales that swim into the bay to breed.
Yes, she is quite mad. And no, we wouldn’t want her any other way.
Beachside bliss at Tintswalo Atlantic
Our whimsical wee ocean angel is in her element here at Tintswalo Atlantic Boutique Lodge, a heavenly slice of sustainable boutique luxury nestled on a pebbled beach at the foot of the fynbos-clad slopes of Table Mountain National Park, just 40 minutes from the all the action of the Cape Town CBD.
Blessed with panoramic views over the Atlantic Ocean and the dramatic Sentinel mountain peak, just 10 Suites and a two-bedroom Presidential Suite, each named and themed around iconic islands, perch on stilts under milkwood trees, just metres from the crashing ocean waves , which provide the enchanting soundtrack to our stay.
Sugarpuff sits cross legged on a lone hammock above the pebbled beach and Raff rocks back and forth on a nearby swing while I watch on from the expansive deck of our lovely Lamu suite, themed around the Kenyan island with carefully selected objects d’art and a fabulous vintage travel trunk that I’d love to follow me home.
Inside is an enormous king-sized bed, a seamlessly placed roll out bed and an inviting lounge space, just inside the large sliding doors, that invites the outside in.
I call out to my wildlings to see if they’d like a dip in Tintswalo Atlantic’s heated pool before dinner.
They’re through the ornate antique and in their cossies before I can even finish my sentence and I’m left in the dust as they race down the timber walkway towards the pool.
“I love it here, mama” are my daughters last words as she leaps into the warm water. And I have to concur. This is not the place for families seeking kids’ clubs, endless entertainment or white sand beaches, but visiting Tintswalo Atlantic with kids offers a more precious kind of holiday. Here is a place of nature and nurture, where every pebble has a story and the fun is limited only by your imagination.
A place so enchanting that my nature loving crew don’t even notice the large TV screen in our room because they’re too caught up naming every rock on the beach and dancing under the sea spray that makes its way on to our deck.
Rooms with a view
We watch the sun set from the floor to ceiling window of our enormous shell bedecked bathroom, my daughter wallowing in the large freestanding tub as she washes off the day’s adventures, my son trying to solve the riddle of the bidet, a creation he’s struggling to come to terms with. “You do what with it?” he squeals, passing on a test run.
We head to the spacious wooden deck off the communal lounge and dining room for the signature Sundowner Cocktail of the Day and a selection of seriously tasty canapés with our fellow guests.
The space is stunning. Rising Phoenix like from the ashes of a catastrophic fire that destroyed the main section of the lodge in 2018, the resort’s public areas have been completely rebuilt, and the iconic hotel had re-opened just a week prior to our arrival.
The result is a sparkling fusion of homely shell-strewn beach house and bejewelled mansion, with plush, frosted blue lounges, slivers of glistening silver, charming antiques, quirky seaside object d’art and diaphanous chandeliers.
Fine dining at Tintswalo Atlantic
Just when we think things couldn’t get any more perfect, we head to dinner in the stunning Tintswalo Atlantic dining room.
The creative kitchen team, led by head chef and Raffles’ new BFF, Thando, serve up a series of sublime culinary creations from fresh, locally-sourced and sustainable ingredients, leaving us wowed. From a gorgeous green salad with torn buffalo mozzarella to crisp skinned pork belly and perfectly pink duck, we have to resist licking our plates clean.
Lulled to sleep by the sound of crashing waves and the dying crackles of the toasty fire in our potbelly fireplace, we awake invigorated. The kids leap out of bed, rushing to get dressed. “What’s the hurry,” I ask? Food is the answer. Turns out they can’t wait to see what magic Thando can conjure for breakfast.
Sugarpuff devours a tower of French Toast while Raff moans over a perfect Eggs Benedict and I nibble on ostrich sausage. When a tower of pastries and cold cuts appears to complement their a la carte selections, the kids politely inform me they are home. I can’t bear to remind them that we’re checking out shortly.
It is this feeling of belonging that sets Tintswalo apart, and when it’s finally time for us say goodbye to this special place, we follow Tintswalo tradition by casting a pebble over our shoulders into the ocean and making a wish.
All three of us wish for exactly the same thing, a swift return to this special place.
Chapmans Peak Drive,
Hout Bay, 7806, South Africa
Tel:+27 11 300 8888
Cape Town with kids – Need to know before you go
When to visit
Cape Town is a great destination all year around.
Though there are 11 official languages spoken in South Africa – most commonly Zulu, Xhosa, and Afrikaans – English is widely spoken in Cape Town.
The Rand (R)
Voltage is 230V and 50Hz. Power outlets are round three pin sockets.
Visa & Passport Requirements
A South African tourist visa is not required for citizens of Australia for a stay up to 90 days. South Africa requires all children entering or leaving the country carry a certified birth certificate and parental consent affidavits if they are travelling with only one parent. Visitors require a passport that is valid for a minimum of six (6) months.
Cape Town is free from malaria and safe for travellers of all age. While there are no essential vaccinations for travellers at the time of publication, we advise visiting your family GP a minimum of six weeks before travel for up to date health recommendations.
Crime is high, but 95% of serious crime occurs in the communities of the Cape Flats area, where it is not advised to travel. Pick pockets can be an issue in the city centre so it’s best to visit with a guide and always keep cash and valuables out of sight. It is not recommended to catch public transport or walk after dark, UBERs are the safest option.