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  • Writer's pictureClare Travis

Why Pampoenfontein?

Updated: Jan 6

I'm not sure where the name comes from, as it's a protea farm (not pumpkins), but Pampoenfontein is a lovely place for a weekend breakaway from the city. Being near Porterville it is only 2 hours from Cape Town and an easy drive until you get to the Dasklip Pass. The pass is tarred, but narrow, steep and winding, so going slowly is the way to do it. The farm is on the top of the mountains, above the pass, and the views are lovely. We stayed in Lilly Cottage, which is probably the closest to the workers houses, but it is well sheltered from view and noise. The other, bigger, cottages are a bit more spaced out. Lilly cottage has one double bedroom and an upstairs room with 2 single beds, an open plan lounge/kitchen and a small bathroom. The kitchen is well equipped for self-catering, with an oven, stove, microwave and regular size fridge. There is even a compost bucket, so you don't have to send useful stuff to landfill, this is something we really miss when we are on holiday, being so used to composting at home. They also have a recycling program and there is a separate bin for that, so you don't have to carry all your recyclables home. The outside braai area is lovely, with a great view, we were sad to not get to use it more, since the weather was a bit rainy and stormy. There is also a deck around the cottage, so you can sit and listen to the frogs in the pond and stare out over the mountains. The cottage and garden have a little fence, which I think would be good for straying type doggos, but doesn't affect the view.

Being pretty much in the middle of nowhere there are only really outdoor or chilling activities. Since we like to run and explore we did some running around the farm paths, through the lovely fynbos and protea fields. There don't seem to be fences separating Pampoenfontein from the surrounding farms, so you can end up on someone else's property, which we think we did the first morning, oops. If you explore the part of the farm on the other side of the gravel road, the west, there are some lovely view spots looking down over the land far below, at the bottom of the pass. These are great for sunset watching, as the sky is so big and the clouds light up with a beautiful pink glow. On this side there is a smaller gravel road leading off the main one, which goes towards a paragliding ramp. From this road there are a few single tracks you can walk or run along. If you are feeling super energetic you can run down the pass and back up again. We did it on the Saturday morning and it seemed like a very popular route with the locals from Porterville, obviously going the other direction. There were also a couple of cyclists and we saw some action at the paragliding ramp on the one day.

Some of the cottages have their own splash pools and the info book said there was a shared pool too. But we preferred to go down to Temptation Dam, which is about 4km from the cottage, further along the gravel road. It is close to the road, but they have put up a screen fence, so no one driving on the road can see you swimming or chilling in the sun. There is a little "beach" where you can spread out your towels and lie in the sun, we lay here as it wasn't too hot. They have also put up a structure with shade cloth that you can picnic under when it's really hot or if you spend the whole day there. It was lovely to get some sunning and swimming in-between the rainy weather.

This is definitely a spot to consider if you are looking to escape the city for a weekend.

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