Updated: Jul 6, 2021
What a long wait until the Easter long weekend! Desperately needed to escape the city and found the perfect place, Buffelshoek farm in Van Wyksdorp, a 5 hour drive from Cape Town. It is an organic olive farm, trading under the name Blue Sky Organics. There is only one cottage on the farm, set a little way away from the main house and factory. The property is huge and runs into the mountains behind the cottage. And the silence there is almost deafening. Pirate, our anxious boy, was more relaxed than I think I ever ever seen him - just look at that soppy face!
The cottage is quite spacious, the main bedroom has a double bed, and a second bedroom has a bunkbed and a single bed. The toilet leads off the main bedroom and is also accessible through a door to the patio. The kitchen is fully equipped with a large fridge, gas stove and oodles of crockery. There is a lounge with an old stove which you can use as a fireplace in winter, and comfy couches. There is also a bookcase full of all sorts of books, so there is something for everyone and you don't have to worry if you forgot to bring something to read. There is normal grid electricity, a gas geyser and no cell reception. At the front of the cottage is a large patio, with a big table and braai. The garden is lush, cool and overgrown with lovely succulents. Just make sure to bring repellent for the million mozzies at night if you want to sit outside (there is a net over the main bed).
After we arrived and unpacked we walked down to the factory to check out all the olive goodies. There was so much yummy stuff that we actually ended up not having enough cash for it all, but Liz is super generous and gave us a discount, as well as a few salts and sprinkles left over from an older batch, for free. The garlic stuffed olives are amazing, so fat and juicy, and there are a few different tapenades, chutneys, teas and oil. The boys had a lovely game with one of the resident dogs, Bandit, and Dash tried to show off by drinking olive oil lees, which was obviously pretty gross by the look on his face. Liz also gave us a huge bucket of greens and herbs to use during our stay, it was so much that even us super fresh food lovers didn't finish it all.
Other than chilling on the patio reading and eating olives you can explore the whole space on foot. Looking out the front door there is a lovely koppie to climb which gives fantstic 360º views of the farm and kloofs on one side and the Langeberg mountains on the other. It's about 1,5km circular route, depending on which side you want to go up, and is a little scrambly because it's scree, but the views are worth the effort. It is a lovely spot for a sunrise.
On the east side of the cottage is another, smaller koppie, which is great for a sunset. It is shorter, less than 1km and also a bit scrambly, but easier, so as not to worry about coming down at dusk.
The main attraction is the kloof, behind and to the west of the cottage. There is no set trail, but you can't go wrong, just walk in the mostly dry riverbed. There is a local troop of baboons, who followed us noisily along the top of the kloof, which made Pi so excited, he adores baboons. At the start of the hike the views are lovely, of the folded rock formations. After a little while you get to a narrow section which is full of lilies and the most wonderful patches of mint. Make sure to get your dogs to go through the mint in front of you, to release the aroma. There are also a lot of lemon geraniums which you can brush as you go by, to keep a wonderful perfume on your hands. All along the route is an amazing variety of vet plante, aka succulents. After a while the space opens up again and you are once again surrounded by the red folded rocks. Some sections are a bit overgrown and you need to check for spiderwebs, as there are a lot of Golden Orb spiders and you will need to clear some webs aside. I learnt my lesson when I walked straight into a chest high web and had a freak out while the spider scuttled down my leg, yukky, but luckily harmless. Carrying on, you pass a few pools full of a variety of gorgeous frogs. Some of the pools you can walk around on the rocks, and some you will need to put a foot in, but be careful because it is very slippery. You can walk for as long as you like, no one has walked to the end of the kloof as yet. At about 5km the kloof branches off and gets very overgrown. We decided to turn here as it was getting quite hot and we had collected enough scratches.
If you want to explore outside of the farm it is only about 3km to the town. Van Wyksdorp is tiny, with small lanes between the houses and a couple of shops. There is what they call "The Mall" which is a general dealer with all sorts of products from clothes to hardware to jam and pies, and a little coffee shop on the patio. There is also little restaurant, called Spekboom, which is open through breakfast to dinner. We didn't go on a drive anywhere, but there are a few other places you could explore, though I'm not sure if any are dog friendly. We don't like to go anywhere without our boys and were super happy just exploring on the farm.
This was one of the most peaceful places we have stayed and it is very decently priced. Definetly a place to recommend.
Painting inspired by this trip