ON the Wild Coast we found quite a few options:
Club Wild Coast Resort
These self-catering villas are situated within the Haga Haga Nature Reserve where our cross long-haired dashchund, Storm, was delighted with a new sense of absolute freedom. No longer did he have to wait for those lazy humans to get out of bed: He could take himself off for regular walks down to the resort's private beach.
That break was so enjoyable that we returned there a few months later where we rented the Rob Roy Sea Cottage – a rambling affair with five bedrooms, where pets are more than welcome.
An added bonus at this original beach house just 30m from the waves is that it comes with an experienced domestic worker who not only services the cottage daily but is also quite happy to prepare the evening meals.
Tel: Mary 083-622-6112
Our love affair with the Wild Coast continued in Cintsa where taking the dogs is almost obligatory.
Unlike in most big cities, dogs (we were up to two by this stage) are allowed on the beach as long as their owners scoop the poop, especially during season when there are often masses of canines on the beach at any one time.
A canine-friendly establishment there is the quirkily named 3 Fat Bastards and a Six Pack – a luxury house which can accommodate up to 14 guests comfortably. And it is just an eight-minute walk from the nearest shop and the beach.
Small, well-behaved dogs are welcome by prior arrangement.
Venturing further afield earlier last year the Mazeppa Bay Hotel gave us the option of a full- board getaway.
This made a pleasant change from the self-catering holidays we had always had to plump for in the past by allowing us, by prior arrangement, to bring our small "ratweiler" along. Bigger dogs might be a problem as the hotel has quite a few canine residents of its own.
This destination is perfect for keen anglers, offering one of only two deep-sea fishing from land opportunities, courtesy of the island accessible from a bridge on the beach fronting the hotel. It also offers an old-school getaway which is perfect for families.
More recently we took our "ratweiler" Hobbs to the Fat Fish Bed and Breakfast guest house where small pets are accommodated by prior arrangement.
Hobbs had such a good a time (and was so spoilt) that she really did not want to pack her bags and return to the big city.
Heading towards the Garden Route In a few weeks' time we had booked into A Dam Fine Cottage which is between Nature's Valley and Plettenberg Bay. The four-sleeper cottage is fully fenced and, with no TV, is the perfect destination for couples or families looking for a perfect retreat from life's demands.
For more on pet-friendly establishments, check out www.petfriendly.co.za which offers a wide variety of accommodation options for dog- lovers. These include:
ýBathurst – Priest's Cottage historic self-catering cottage
Priest's Cottage was built circa 1836 to house Bathurst's first Anglican priest, James Barrow.
The original cottage consisted of just a single room with a three-quarter height wall to screen the sleeping area from the living area.
The cottage then (as now) had an earthen floor. The existing roof is the original corrugated iron which came out to South Africa as ballast in ships from England.
Priest's Cottage is now available as a self-catering cottage sleeping two in a double sofa bed. Camp cot available on request.
The cottage is fully fenced and is pet friendly.
PET POLICY:All dog breeds, cats and caged birds welcome all year round. Pets sleep inside or in an outside shelter – bring own pet beds, bedding and bowls. Pets stay free. Doggie Damages Deposit Required: None.
Tel: Shuna de Villiers (046)625- 0256 after hours
ýHogsback – King's Lodge Hotel and self-catering cottages
King's Lodge Hotel is situated in the heart of the quaint mountain village of Hogsback, a country hotel set in peaceful surroundings, offering cosy and comfortable accommodation, excellent food and a warm welcome.
Pet Policy:All dogs and caged birds welcome out of season only. Pets sleep inside – bring own pet beds, bedding and bowls. Easy access to walks. Dogs must be leashed at all times when outside. Doggie Damages Deposit required: None.
Tel: Monique Weschta (045)962-1024
Address: PO Box 11, Hogsback, 5721
ýCape St Francis – Kingfisher CottageCape St Francis is an unspoilt coastal holiday village surrounded by nature parks and miles of magical beach.
This is one spot that has not been spoilt by overdevelopment and is the ideal place for someone who wants a traditional holiday by the sea. Kingfisher Cottage is a beautifully appointed cottage set in these quiet and idyllic surrounds.
PET POLICY:All dog breeds and cats welcome all year round. Pets sleep inside – bring own beds, bedding and bowls. Enclosed garden and easy access to walks. Consideration must be given to resident birdlife. Pets must not be left inside unattended at any time. Dogs stay free. Doggie Damages Deposit: R500 refundable.