Finally, my first getaway of the year! A few weeks ago I went with my family to Simonskloof Mountain Retreat up in the Langeberg Mountains. Some of my family from France had been visiting us and we wanted to escape from Cape Town for a couple of days. One of the things I miss most about Korea was the amount of travelling and exploring I used to do on the weekends. It was so easy to get around and there were always so many things to see, seasons to experience and festivals to check out. I guess when you are living in your home country you don’t feel as drawn to exploring and you stick more with what you know and usually do. When I arrived home I made up my mind to change this and am trying to make a concerted effort to seeing more or different parts of my city and country.
Simonskloof Mountain Retreat was definitely a retreat in all sense of the word- no electricity or cell phone reception- and we all (including my dog) loved it.
Simonskloof Mountain Retreat is rustic and it's quiet and peaceful because it is literally at the end of the road. The Retreat owners don’t actually farm anything but focus on eco-tourism. There are 3 cottages to choose from and we stayed in the largest-Eric’s cottage- which sleeps 6. There is also a simple, small campsite which looks lovely. Eric’s Cottage is really spacious and I would recommend it for larger groups. Although Orange Cottage also sleeps 6 it is much smaller and would rather be suitable for a family and kids. Eric’s cottage is closer to the main homestead than the other cottages but you don’t notice it and you have wonderful views too. A bonus was that our dog, Rupert, got to hang out with the other farm collies.
There is so much to do on the farm especially if you are adventurous, including abseiling, biking, kloofing and rock climbing. We stuck with exploring some of the many trails there are to offer. As the farm is in a valley, hiking up the surrounding mountains offers such beautiful views and gives you a look into the sparseness of the area. If trekking and adventure activities aren’t for you then you can simply enjoy the views and relax on the veranda or swim in the dam.
We did 2 hikes on the farm. The first was up to the phone tower. It was boiling hot and so steep but after about 3 hours and some swims along the way, we made it. Quite an accomplishment for me, having not done much hiking for a while.
The second hike we did was only about an hour and a half and was a circular route to a saddle behind our cottage. At the top of this ridge we found the aptly named “Space Harley” rock where we found a Geocache. I have never found a Geocache although I know about them because I have friends who look for them. It was pretty cool to find it and see the trinkets and read the little book where people had written in.
I would have liked to do some more hikes, especially one down the valley to a large looking dam, but we didn’t have enough time. So perhaps another trip is warranted in the future.
Simonskloof Mountain Retreat, ~2.5 hours from Cape Town in the Langeberg Mountains
For comprehensive pricing see here
If you do the hikes in summer, be sure to take enough water with you (and for your dog) because as you go higher up the water dries up. But pack your cossie because there are some nice pools to cool off in lower down.
Do you have any good getaways to recommend in and around South Africa?