In hopes of seeing snow on the mountains we decided to escape the city for a weekend. Sadly no snow, but we had a wonderful time anyway. We stayed at Fairfield Cottages in Ceres. The cottages are on a large fruit farm, in amongst the apple and pear orchards. There are 3 family sized cottages, our tiny family ended up staying in the largest of the 3, Fynbos cottage. This cottage has 2 double bedrooms downstairs and a large loft space with 8 single beds. The rooms are very cosy, with comfy beds and wall heaters for winter. There is a living area, fully equipped kitchen and 2 bathrooms, one with a shower and the other with a bath. At the back of this cottage they have enclosed a small area for dogs, if you have the type that needs a fence, it's quite small, so probably for smaller yappy type dogs. In the front is a patio, braai space and large lawn, just the right size for throwing ball. The other 2 cottages have outside bath/showers, which would be lovely when the weather is a bit dryer and warmer. There is also a little splash pool between the cottages. The front of the cottage faces out to the orchards and Matroosberg mountains in the distance. We were lucky to have a still dry evening on the day we arrived, so we could braai and watch the mountains turn pink at sunset.
The cottages back onto the slopes of the Skurweberge mountains and there are some lovely, very well marked, short hikes. On the afternoon we arrived we did the route behind the Klipspringer cottage. It goes up next to a stream and there are some rock paintings at the top. There are a couple of animals in the paintings and human figures. It also looks like some stinky person added their own interpretation, but at least that is faint.
On our first morning we did the Dassie route, which is the longest hike up the mountain. It starts near the Mountain Spring cottage and the first little bit is quite flat. We spotted some leopard prints in the sand of the trail, well the bigger one was definetly leopard, the smaller one we were not too sure, but thought it could be a cub (or hoped, because that would be cute). The route then goes up the rocks and is a bit scrambly and slippery in the wet. But the views at the top are worth the effort. After coming down we ran around the orchards and did the other shorter route up the slopes to see the other rock painting. We had to go through the horse paddock to get there. Andrew lured the horse with an apple, so we could get the dogs past, and after that she was obssessed with her apple man! There is only the one painting on this route, well, that we could find, and it's of a horse!
The rest of the day was wet and windy which was a good excuse to stay all cosy inside. And since the lockdown resitrictions have been tightened we couldn't do the wine tastings and other things we had planned anyway. But reading and strolling and looking at views are what holidays are mostly about anyway. Behind the house there was a lovely stream/waterfall coming down the rocks. In the afternoon, after the heavy rains, this had gotten so full and was amazing to watch it rushing down.
On our last morning we decided to run though all the puddles amongst the orchards. There had been so much rain that the bigger ones were up to our knees! We also saw some klipspringer prints near the Klippringer cottage. The dogs obviously loved running through the puddles, especially since Dad was happy to get his shoes wet on our last day and came in with us.
To get to the cottages you cross over 2 low bridges, which can get covered by the river during heavy rains, and you could get stuck. Luckily the water flowing over these wasn't too high when it came time for us to leave, or was it lucky? I could think of worse places to get stuck.