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  • Writer's pictureClare Travis

Zandrivier Exploring

School and public holidays are here! I decided to take a day's leave after Human Right's Day, to make a long weekend, since hubby was finished with work for 2 weeks, lucky fish. I had seen Zandrivier recommended a few times, so decided to try it out. The large farm is on the Laingsburg side of Seweweekspoort, on a quiet gravel road. There are a few self-catering options on the farm, from the 10 sleeper main house, to smaller 2 sleeper cottages. There is even a new fenced off cottage if you need it for your dogs. We stayed in Ben's Cottage, which is adjacent to the main house.

This one is not fenced, but has a low wall and little gate, not enough to stop wandering dogs, but fine for our boys. You enter the cottage through the kitchen, which is well equipped with a full fridge, 2 plate stove, microware, kettle and coffee bodum. Leading off from the kitchen is the main room, which has a double bed, dresser big enough to unpack for a long weekend and a fireplace with a couple of chairs. At the end of the cottage is a large bathroom with a big bath, no shower. The cottage is lovely and spacious. Being an old thick walled building it is a little dark when the weather is gloomy and runs on Eskom, so we had load shedding. We experienced all sorts of weather and the cottage remains comfy. It was very hot, in the high 30's, for our first 2 days, then very rainy and thunder stormy on our last day and night, with 30mm of rain! Outside the cottage is a lawn for the dogs to roll in and braai area. The view from the lawn is great, across the farms to the mountains in the north and in the other direction you look straight up to the Seweweeks Peak, which is the highest peak in the Western Cape. There is a lot of birdlife on the farm and you can chill outside listening to the weavers making their nests, sunbirds with their morning chatter, as well as the calls of the tiny new lambs.

There is a lot of space to explore on and off the farm. Towards the road from the house is a short walk to a lovely swimming dam. The dam is fed from the kloof on the other side of the road and the water is super fresh and lovely for a dip. You can hike up the kloof on the other side of the road, to caves that have some ancient San paintings in them. It is a short, but steep hike. The bottom cave is quite easily accessible, only about a 1,5km walk from the cottage. There are a few very faint paintings here. A little higher up is a shelf with another painting. And if you like climbing you can scramble up to the bigger, higher cave. This one doesn't have paintings, but is full of ferns and you can hear water running through the rocks. From here is a beautiful view back across towards the farm and mountains in the distance. If you scramble further up the kloof there are many rare types of fynbos and even an erica that has just been discovered and isn't even named yet. Lower down there is a waterfall that seems to run year round and a little pool that you can swim in.

You can also explore the farm to the north along jeep tracks down to the river and around for lovely views. 

There are lots of animals on the farm, which makes it great for kids too. The lambs are super cute and there are also geese and horses, so you can experience farm life.

If you want to explore off the farm, the poort is about 7km away from the farm. You can explore this by car, foot or bike. It is about 19km long one way and has amazing rock formations. On the other side of the poort you can do a short drive, through the Huis Rivier pass to Calitzdorp. There are a few dog friendly wine farms in the town, check out the previous post to find things to do in Calitzdorp.

We had a very nice peaceful stay on the farm and will return again to find more of the rare flowers and take a hike up the peak, hopefully in the snow. The cottage was well equipped and the price was good at R750 per night. There is no extra fee for the dogs and wood is included. AND you also get a tasty freshly baked bread with butter and jam on arrival.


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