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  • Writer's pictureClare Travis

Peace at Proteaceae

Part 1: Summer Holiday '23/'24

2023 was not a great year for us and we didn't travel much, hence no new posts for a while. I was diagnosed with a hip labral tear which pretty much cancelled any plans, no running, no ultras, no hiking, no adventures and the horrifying possibility of needing an operation. But 6 months of hard work and dedication with my physio and bio seems to have paid off and the hip is under control. The fitness and strength is gone, but that can be gained back and at least I am able to run a little, walk a lot and go on adventures! So when I got my leave dates from work I decided to book us a stay for the December long weekend, hoping not everywhere was fully booked already. I found Proteaceae on TravelGround and it sounded perfect - and it was! The most perfect for a first stop on a long trip after a tough year.

The property is north of Albertinia in the Western Cape. The drive from Cape Town was about 5 hours, along the N2. Do not use Google Maps, it will take you the wrong way, as there is no cell reception on or near the farm. The host, Wikus, organised to meet us just outside of Albertinia, where the reception ends. We then followed him to the farm. You can only access it with a high clearance vehicle, preferably 4x4, and you pass through a few farm gates. The farm is in the middle of the mountains, on a protea farm, no city, no traffic, no noise, just peace and quiet.

The cottage is newly done and rented out to holiday makers. Outside is a spacious garden, with a braai area and lots of space to chill. There is a little fence around the garden, but this is to keep the horses and cows out, not dogs in, dogs need to be trained. You enter the cottage into the kitchen, which is well equipped and decorated. There is a 2 plate gas stove, small fridge and a recently added chest freezer. The only thing missing was a coffee bodum. There is also a wood burning stove in the kitchen. Through the next door is a living area, with lovely comfortable couches. Through here is the main bedroom with a double bed, and then a smaller room with a single bed leading off it. The bathroom leads off the main bedroom and is really big. There is a lovely shower, a bath (which we didn't try) and even a washing machine and washing powder. There is a cupboard with hanging space and drawers in the main bedroom and a chest of drawers in the bathroom, so enough space to unpack nicely. The cottage runs on solar, which does run out in the night, but there is enough to get you through. There is no cell reception, so you can completely switch off. The hosts have installed a walkie talkie in case you need to get hold of them, as their house is a little further away.

The property is very big and has lots of space to walk and explore. There are cows and horses, they do rides with the horses. We didn't do a ride - one day Andrew will agree to get on a horse. We spent time walking and running around and exploring. There is a lovely route you can do up to the river, which has loads of rockpools. It was so lovely there, that after finding it on our morning run we actually 4x4'd back up there later to laze around near the water. There isn't a marked trail to the river, but it is very easy to find. You continue until the end of the 4x4 trail, do a little bit of single track and once you get to the rocky section you hop over the fence and walk towards the gorge, which you will be able to see. It is easy to get down and then take your pick of the many rockpools. We swan in a few and found flat rocks to spread out on and relax.

On one of the days the hosts took us for a wonderful 4x4 drive up into the proteas on the mountain slopes. It is quite a gnarly trail, so we went in their proper old Range Rover, short wheel base with back seats mounted up so you can see over the roof. Dash and Pirate jumped in the back with us. Pirate wasn't scared of the noise at all, he was completely enjoying himself! Two of the farm dogs followed us up from the house and eventually, because they were running around and around the car, they ended up inside the car too. Jesse, the small Australian Cattle Dog was hilarious snapping at the branches as we went by and the car ended up full of greenery. Wikus is a master speedster in 4x4, he should be doing Dakar, it was so fun flying up and down through the bushes. It was a great adventure, with wonderful views from the top, not too many proteas in bloom yet though. You can also walk/run this trail, which we will do next time we visit.

We had an amazing stay here, the perfect start to a long trip. Also so nice to be able to do a load of washing, so we had a full fresh bag of clothes again. The pictures on TravelGround do not do it justice. We paid R800 per night and feel this was very good value for money. The location is a bit far to weekend from Cape Town, but is perfect for long weekends or road trips.

I had only planned to do this one stop for the long weekend and then spend the rest of the holiday at home. But couldn't resist booking a whole long roadtrip to revisit some favourite places, as well as to be out of Cape Town when the rest of the country descends. And it was actually quite easy as there were less places still available!

Part 2 coming soon...

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