Peaceful simplicity in the Agter Pakhuis Valley, Rocklands, Cederberg.
Our vision is to provide a space where guests are able to truly experience for themselves the raw and rugged magic that is the northern Cederberg landscape. To this end, we've created simple, sustainable yet comfortable accommodation that merges with the surrounding wilderness. We have two glamping spaces available (with luxury tents as the sleeping quarters) and one gypsy-style cottage built around an old caravan.
We are situated in the Agter Pakhuis Valley, northern Cederberg, right at the edge of the wilderness area and adjacent to De Pakhuys and Alpha Excelsior Farms. Exact driving directions are supplied on confirmation of a booking.
All of our units are positioned without line-of-sight to ensure your privacy and peace of mind for the duration of your stay. Dassie Den and Tortoise Terrace are furnished safari tents with private bathrooms and kitchens. They all sleep four (two in a double bed in the main room and two in bunk beds in the second room). Caracal Cottage is a little cottage built around a completely refurbished caravan, which now serves as the main bedroom. It sleeps three - two in a double bed in the main bedroom, and one in a single bed in a separate room. We strive to keep things as sustainable as possible. All the spaces have electrical power for the fridge and charging devices, but with off-grid lighting, geyser and cooking facilities.
We care for our accommodation and our guests personally. We built the units ourselves, we do all construction upgrades ourselves and we clean and maintain them ourselves. In short, we take a hands on approach to our accommodation offering, so you an rest assured that we are here to ensure you have a memorable Cederberg experience.
What about connectivity? We don't have any wifi on our property, including our home. However, the whole of the Agter Pakhuis Valley has very good MTN data reception. Simply purchase an MTN SIM card for 40c and you're good to go!
We do also have a small office next to our house, where a high-speed LAN-based internet point (plug-in, not wireless) is available to guests, free of charge, where you can privately plug your laptop in.
The office also has a freezer to allow guests to store additional frozen foods, should you have more than can go into your fridge/freezer in the unit.
Dassie Den is our largest glamping unit. Uniquely situated with unparalleled views of the Rocklands cliffs, it includes a fully furnished luxury tent with art deco dresser, a covered eco-kitchen and dining area, fabulous reclining chairs, and a bathroom featuring a restored Victorian tub. There is also a large stone braai and firepit .The unit is partially off-grid, but does have hot water (by wood burning "donkey"), a gas cooker and solar lighting. There is now also a proper electrical fridge plus plug points to charge devices.
Towels, linen and gas are supplied. The unit has one queen size bed in the main "room", and then a bunk bed in a separate "room", so it accommodates four people very comfortably. (Please note that we cannot accommodate more than four per unit).
2019 Rate: R750 for the unit, per night.
A complimentary crate of wood is provided, with further wood available at cost.
...a store that tells a story
Well, it started simply, as an acknowledgement of the way in which knowledge was passed down by the Bushmen and later, the Khoi people of this region. They would gather around the fire and tell stories about the plants, the animals and all of creation. They also told stories through their art (which may be found on rock faces and cave walls) and in the form of dance – an expressive and energetic form known as the Nama Riel.
But as we’ve evolved our life on the farm, a new chapter of the story has started to tell itself; a story about working with plants, listening to the animals and experimenting with organic, communal gardening. About foraging – not just for food but also materials for building, furniture and general creativity. About safari tents and recycled pallets. About bouldering and ethnobotanical studies as vehicles for personal growth.
Storytelling is not just a way of passing down knowledge. It is also a way of sharing ideas; of postulating different ways, as it were. We wanted to create a space to share our story, to have it grow interactively, and to allow people to take a piece away with them.
Welcome to Storytellers: we have now divided our space into two:
- a permanent "Trading Post" where you can buy organic skin and body care, herbal salts, pickles and preserves from the farm, superfood snacks, eco-gear for the outdoors, and many more interesting goodies, and
- a pop-up "Story Space" for interactive learning events, workshops, market days and more.
The Trading Post may be found near the plateau section of the Rocklands boulders on De Pakhuys farm (see pic above). The pop-up Story space is also on De Pakhuys, near the Dihedral boulders. See pic below.
Storytellers Trading Post -Monday to Friday, 09:00 until 17:00, Weekends by indicated time.
Story Space, next opening: Saturday 29 August 2015.
13:30 – 15:30 :: Interactive learning session in which we will be making jewellery from crystals and other "found objects". It will be aimed at the Rocklands Rangers climbning school children (and the primary language will thus be Afrikaans. All are, however, very welcome.
Nestled amongst the world-famous boulders of Rocklands in the northern Cederberg, is a small piece of paradise. Here, amidst the lizards and the dassies, we are working to create, for our visitors, an authentic interaction with the Cederberg wilderness. Inspired by the rocks, the plants, the stories the animals leave behind, the intensity of the weather and the spirit of the bushman people that came before us, our intention is to continue the narrative; to invite people to come and experience this world - unplugged and unadorned.
To this end, we offer two glamping spaces and one glamping-inspired gypsy-style cottage, all of them tucked away in their own space, virtually inside the wilderness area. The units are 90% off-grid, but nonetheless equipped with all the amenities one might need, even for a long term stay.
Click here to find out more about the accommodation or here to book.
Another important part of our own narrative is the work we are doing with plants - the kind one grows to eat, AND the kind that grow in the wild. We have a range of natural skin and bodycare products, using indigenous medicinal herbs, called Storytellers Fynbos Apothecary. More about that here. But we don't just forage for plant foods. The strange white nets that you will see in our fields protect an organic food garden and mixed orchard.
For visitors to this place, there is an extraordinary beauty to be experienced, any time of year, as well as many interesting and exciting things to do.
- Bouldering and sports climbing: We are right in the heart of Rocklands, as close to the boulders as you could possibly be. For the bouldering topos, visit 27Crags, or purchase the Rocklands 2018 guidebook.
- Exploring rock art: There are hundreds of rock art sites in this area. Many are very sensitive and not promoted to the public, but others can be accessed with a guide, whilst our neighbours, Travellers Rest, have a marked trail of sites that can be visited. Don't forget to visit the Living Landscape project, with their archaeological time machine.
- Hiking:While the central Cederberg is better known for its hikes, the Northern Cederberg and Agter Pakhuis boast some beautiful walks as well as some strenuous hikes.
- Fascinating historical explorations: The shady colonial history of the Western Cape in the last 300 years was a rude interruption to a rich cultural past of at least 8000 years in this region, probably more like 30 000. Both aspects of regional history, ancient and modern, have left us with an heritage to explore when you are here - from the old mission villages with their beautiful way of life, to the historical town of Clanwilliam itself.
- Flower-spotting: Pretty much any time of year, with the possibly exception of February. The incredible biodiversity of the Cape floristic kingdom ensures that every time you go out hiking, there will be something new to see.
- Swimming in natural water: Vleiplaas farm, on which we are situated, has a magnificent swimming dam, which is continuously fed by the Brandewyn river. Even at the peak of summer, there are gorgeous cold currents. The dam is also clean and safe. There is also a waterfall where it is safe to swim, as well as a series of rock pools which are enjoyable, generally until the beginning of December. Of course, the Clanwilliam Dam, 30 minutes away, offers major watersports and competitive fishing. A day at the beach is only an hour's drive away. And last but not least, most long term visitors will generally make at least one pilgrimage to the famous hot water springs at The Baths in Citrusdal.
- Taste and buy wine: The Cederberg region is dotted with wine farms from high up in the mountains to the shores of the West Coast itself, producing everything from rich, full-bodied reds to crisp whites. Our neighbouring farm, Alpha Excelsior, produce their own reds and offer wine tasting. Further afield, you can visit the world-famous Cederberg Wines, the uniquely situated Friar's Cove, Sir Lamberts and Kookfontein - to mention but a few!
- Experience Clanwilliam culture: The town of Clanwilliam is one of the first ten towns established in South Africa since the arrival of the Dutch settlers in 1652. A settlement began where Clanwilliam now stands sometime in the late 1700's, and this settlement was officially named Clanwilliam in 1814. Influences from this period can still be seen today in modern local cooking, architecture, art and dance.
Our two glamping units and new, glamping-inspired cottage are situated in the Agter Pakhuis Valley, Rocklands, Cederberg.
For some great online mappng and bouldering topos for Rocklands, visit 27 Crags, or purchase the new Rocklands guidebook.