The Western Cape is full of little gems and I was lucky enough to be invited to tour the picturesque Witzenberg Valley which happens to be an entire treasure chest of beauty, tranquillity and adventure!
We started off with fresh coffee and devilishly delicious scones at the very welcoming Tulbagh Hotel. Established in 1859, situated in the heart of Tulbagh, this 4 star Boutique Hotel boasts both historical and modern beauty. With their top class facilities and idyllic location, The Tulbagh Hotel is perfect for a weekend getaway or a conference retreat.
Next, we ventured down to Succulents and Stones, a small business run by Mandy Kriel. Now, I have a real love and passion for gem stones and crystals (much like how most women feel about shoes or handbags), so I could have gotten lost in the cavernous room displaying hundreds of stones in a variety of forms – raw, polished, ornamental clusters, jewels and jewellery, pendants, lamps and more. However, there was muc
h more to be done including having a browse around in Mandy’s vast selection of succulents and cacti.
I was very pleasantly surprised when we arrived at the charming Fynbos Guest Farm. The entire plot expresses the warmth, adventurous spirit and caring nature of its owner, Peter. Rescuing animals from the surrounding areas, the farm hosts an incredibly diverse number of residents, including geese, dogs, tortoises, cats, donkeys, emus, horses, pigs, ducks, alpacas, chickens and springbok. Feeding the animals was a wonderful treat and a brilliant way to connect with the animals. Scattered trinkets, statues and hand-crafted Egyptian benches from Peter’s world-wide travels accent his farm with a rich spiritual aura. The log cabins are delightfully cozy and the farm is equipped to host caravaners and campers in comfort. A place of true serenity, I highly recommend a visit.
We were then treated to a spectacular picnic under the lavish trees at Hoogwater Farm, graciously hosted by Charles and Madri Ochse, with a tasting of their exquisite Ladera Artisan Wines. Charles’ passion for wine making was inspirational! With his focus on crafting only 3 wines, namely, Blanc De Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah, his love and passion is perfectly presented in each sip. I must admit, I felt very spoilt and cannot wait to go back again.
Feeling superbly satisfied, we headed over to Vindoux Guest Farm and Luxury Tree Houses to check in. Their fynbos inspired spa, sumptuous accommodation and breath-taking views make for a rejuvenating and revitalizing experience fit for a queen and ideal for a romantic getaway.
Later, we enjoyed a sunset horse ride in the backdrop of the majestic mountain range with the humble folks of Horse About, John and Jo Lister. I hadn’t been on a horse in about 15 years but the patience and guidance of both the owners and horses made the ride an easy and gratifying event as we journeyed through the forest and vineyards of http://www.horseabout.co.za/. With yet another delectable meal, this time under the stars, catered for by Readers Restaurant’s infamous Carol Collins, our over-indulgent, extraordinary day came to an end. All in all a fantastic night characterized by breath-taking natural beauty, brilliant food, fine wine and exceptional company.
The most exciting and terrifying part of our tour would have to be the Zipslide experience the following day at Ceres Zipslide Adventures. This is the longest zipslide tour in Africa boasting 8 ziplines in total zig-zagging down the Schurweberg Mountains. It took some work to muster up the courage to go ahead with it and after the first zipline it took me at least five minutes to stop shaking! But from the second zipline onward, I knew what to expect and really got to enjoy not only the adrenaline rush but also the phenomenal views of Ceres. Exhilarating!
Luckily our next stop was at Baba’s Jem because the adrenaline rush had rustled up an appetite of note. Baba is renowned for her peculiar preserves made from the vegetables grown in her very own garden. Apricot and mustard jam, spicy marrow atchar, or carrot chutney may sound strange but they are wonder and a delight to the taste buds. She welcomed us into her quaint kitchen and treated us to her freshly made vetkoek and corn fritters (the best I have ever tasted) to enjoy with her scrumptious preserves.
A guided tour at the Ceres Transport Riders Museum followed, divulging a great and intriguing history of the Ceres Valley. Displaying the likes of evolving transportation, incredible animal life, earthquakes and meteor showers, the museum shares an abundance of information.
Around the bend, the Ceres Bonsai Centre provides a large array of gorgeous bonsai trees, to purchase or hire. Educational workshops are also provided for the precision care of these delicate plants.
As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end… We rounded off our remarkable tour with a tasty lunch at Eden Restaurant & Coffee Shop before heading back to the hustle and bustle of the city.
If you’re looking for a getaway that can entertain all five senses, the Witzenberg Valley is the place to be!