Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, before Hermanus, you’ll find a cosy seaside village by the name of Betty’s Bay. A whaling station in the 1880’s, Betty’s Bay and its stunningly beautiful surrounds (part of the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve) are some of the world’s prime whale watching territories from June to November.

It’s a place to relax and get out of the city – great for a couple-getaway – but while out of the hustle and bustle of the city, you’re also close to a wide range of activities and unique features including: a penguin colony; mountain paths; golden beaches; and dune surfing. A number of world-class golf courses and wine routes are in close vicinity. The area also has amenities including restaurants, pubs, petrol stations and nearby spa facilities.

The place has become something of a gay travel spot, with a number of gay-owned guest houses and holiday homes in the area. Our favourite place to stay by far is the stylish Waterlilly Lodge.

Who said Bed and Breakfasts can’t be stylish, sensual and affordable?

The guest house was opened just over two years ago by gay Johannesburg-based décor guru, Craig Thomson.

“I saw a gap in the market”, says Thomson. “I love the personal attention of guesthouses, but I realized that I could improve on many shortcomings. I wanted guests – especially gay couples – to feel comfortable and pampered with all their senses. And we’ve done just that”, he adds.

While holidaying in Betty’s Bay three years ago, Thomson was so taken with the area’s beauty and potential, he actually bought the guesthouse he was staying in, and soon undertook its transformation into the current sexy incarnation of Waterlilly Lodge.

A mere five minute walk from the beach, Waterlilly Lodge stands out from many other Bed and Breakfasts in the area thanks to its high standard of contemporary décor and gay friendly service. The Lodge accommodates 12 guests in its six comfy en-suite rooms, each boasting its own lounge and individual access to an outside verandah.

The Lodge is ably managed by the charming Bryan Charlton. With over three decades of experience in the hospitality industry, he makes one of best breakfasts you are likely to taste in the Western Cape. And surprisingly, the Waterlilly Lodge experience is an affordable one, with rates starting at R180 per person sharing in summer.

If the over-full restaurants, never-ending queues, and parking nightmares of Cape Town are something you’d prefer to skip, give Betty’s Bay a try. You’ll come back a much saner and happier person from the experience.

For more information about Waterlilly Lodge visit or contact Bryan at +27 28 272 9378.

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