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  • Writer's pictureClare Travis

Relaxing in Camdeboo

Updated: Jan 6

Part 5: Summer Holiday '22/'23

After such a busy time shopping in Clarens it was good that our next stop was in the middle of nowhere. We were booked at Waterval Farm, near Graaff-Rienet, in the Camdeboo region of the Eastern Cape. The farm is about 30km from the town along a winding gravel road, so if you need to do shopping or anything it is best to do it before you head in. Follow the directions they send you, as Google Maps will lead you along another gravel road which has locked gates. Our drive was about 8 hours and the car started giving us worrying messages about the transmission, but after an inspection by an auto-mechanic we were assured we could carry on with our road trip.

There are a few different size cottages on the farm, in walking distance of each other, but far enough away that you don't see or hear anyone else. The farm is fully run on solar, except for Paddadam Cottage which has no electricity at all. We stayed in this cottage. It is an open plan room with a double bed and sitting area. Outside, in the old dam, are the braai area and kitchen. There is a 2 plate gas stove, with a prep table on the one side. Opposite this is the washing up area. The braai is a big cement slab and there is a stone bench and a wooden table. Behind this is the bathroom which is in a little wooden building with a stone floor. It is like a wet bathroom so the shower has no door, and the water from the shower and basin run straight into a channel in the middle of the hut, and then outside. It is a lovely hot gas shower. There is no fridge in Paddadam and it was very, very hot for 2 of our 3 days. Kindly, they organised an extra cooler box for us and we kept some of our things and extra brickets in their freezer.

You can make use of the swimming pool by the main house, which was very welcome since it was extremely hot. You can take your dogs with to the pool, but there are a few yappy resident dogs that you will have to put up with. They have also set up a picnic deck over one of the dams, along the road in. I suppose you could probably swim there too. Near the cottages there is a small labyrinth. There is no cell reception, but if you are desperate you can access the free wifi at the main house.

The farm is really big and you can explore all over the place. They have some very well marked trials to the waterfall and up the mountain. The waterfall trail is very short, while the other is a good steep hike of about 2,5km one direction. The view from the top, on the God's Balcony, is beautiful, and you can see over the whole farm. Along the way you also get amazing views of the surrounding landscape on the other side of the peak. We also discovered another trail towards the entrance to the farm, which takes you up to a lovely little cave. If you are lucky you will see some of the game that roams the farm.

Other than wandering about, there pretty much just chilling and reading, watching the sunset, or whatever you like to do to relax. If you wanted, you could drive into the town for a day trip, the gravel road is quite good. We decided to not do this and rather enjoy some downtime on the farm.

The Paddadam Cottage is R700pn and there is no extra fee for the dogs. This and most of the other cottages don't have fences. The 2 cottages closest to the entrance gate seemed to have a fence, but one would need to check to make certain. This place is definitely worth a stay and would probably be really lovely in winter too.

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