In the small fisherman’s village of Churchhaven tucked away in a nature reserve on South Africa’s unspoilt West Coast, honest simplicity, tranquillity and wide open spaces soothe the soul. This is a place where time stands still and the heart is at peace.
At first glance you could mistake the endless stretches of blue water and windswept land for a Greek island but when you dig you toes into the sand on a misty winter morning the heady fragrance of Cape fynbos and the salty tang of the sea air on your lips are clear reminders that this is the West Coast.
It is here, in this untouched haven, that Cape Town’s Untiedt family chose to build a weekend retreat on what had been two of the most sought-after pieces of land on this stretch of coast. “You feel this place in your heart and soul. It is where we wanted to experience unforgettable moments with our children while they are young and where they, in turn, can one day bring their children.” As parents to Daniel, Jessica, Claudia and India, David and Helen Untiedt draw boundless joy from the quiet blue waters and pristine natural beauty. “The children have a lot of freedom here and can play on the beach for the entire day without us having to worry.”
Surrounded by the West Coast National Park north of Cape Town on the R27, Scrimshaw Cottage is set in a sanctuary that attracts visitors with its glorious display of spring flowers each year yet is still secluded without any of the so-called modern comforts such as running water and electricity. But, say the Untiedts, transporting water from Cape Town on Fridays is a small sacrifice. They use gas for the stove, oven, fridge and geysers. Solar panels provide electricity. “Here, all of us have been taught how precious water is, just as David and myself learned to appreciate the importance of this life-giving resource when we travelled and worked on yachts when we were younger.” It is exactly the kind of lesson the couple would like to teach their children, how to preserve nature.