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Issue 4
Africa Travel> Issue 4
UPDATED: June 30, 2014
Atlantic Dreams
Tintswalo Atlantic with its unique setting on the sea, makes for an unforgettable trip to Cape Town
By Justin Fox

Dinner at Tintswalo offers one of the best views on earth

Situated below Chapman's Peak Drive in a spectacular corner of Table Mountain National Park, Tintswalo Atlantic has one of the most dramatic locations of any lodge in South Africa. Cliffs tower above and waves crash at its feet. Inside, it's five-star luxury with fine dining on offer and views to die for.

Tintswalo Atlantic is the brainchild of Ernest and Gaye Corbett, who, on a drive over Chapman's Peak, fell in love with the spot (formerly Koeël Bay Youth Center) and vowed to transform it into a little piece of paradise, adding it to their chain of Tintswalo lodges. As the property lies inside a national park, the design had to adhere to strict guidelines and eco-friendly parameters. Everything was built on elevated structures so it could easily be removed, if necessary, after the 30-year lease expires.

The lodge is strung along the base of the cliffs among ancient milkwood trees with gabions holding back the might of the Atlantic. Its interiors are comfortable, cool and elegant, juxtaposed with the roar of the surf just meters away.

My partner and I arrived on a golden autumn afternoon and made straight for one of the heated pools. Just below the deck lay two spectacular hammocks. Lodge manager Ryno du Rand explained that he'd used three large tree trunks that washed ashore during a storm as hammock poles. The result is arguably the most unique pair of hammocks in South Africa. At high tide the Atlantic sloshes beneath your lounging perch.

The lodge has 10 luxury suites and one presidential suite, each named after and decorated in the style of a famous island. There's everything from Zanzibar to Robben, Sicily to Antigua. Each has a private balcony with jaw-dropping views, a fireplace, en-suite bathroom and fully stocked mini-bar.

Our suite was themed around the island of Lamu, which was kind of appropriate as I'd just published a novel set in Lamu. The room had a suitably East African feel with studded doors, dark-wood furniture and evocative photographs of dhows. Flower petals and seashells decorated the room, foam bath and candles added romance to the bathroom.

Sunset is a dreamy time at Tintswalo. Guests retire to the main deck for drinks and canapés … and to watch the sun dip behind Hout Bay's Sentinel, which rises like a shark's fin out of the darkening deep. We sat and watched the mesmerizing play of light and colors on the bay and mountains. On the horizon, enormous waves detonated on Tafelberg and Dungeons reefs, sending up plumes of spray. A ghostly sea mist lent an ethereal quality to the scene.

After sundowners comes an epic four-course dinner. How does biltong-dusted kudu loin sound, or kingklip wrapped in Parma ham? The kitchen is open to the dining room, so guests can watch the chefs in action while enjoying a glass of wine.

Then it was a last, moonlit stroll on the deck before heading to bed, where the crashing waves provided a perfect lullaby.

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