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 have created three glamping accommodation units, all of them tucked away in their own space, virtually inside the wilderness area. The units are off-grid, but nonetheless equipped with all the amenities one might need, even for a long term stay. As of April 2019, we will have a fourth unit, a charming little glamping-inspired cottage between the rocks. Built around an old caravan (which now forms the main bedroom), the space has electrical power, a full kitchen, bathroom and lounge.
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. Our ongoing research on plants in the wild is starting to bear fruit in the form of a growing bank of exploratory pages on the plants of the Agter Pakhuis and the ways in which they can be used. We also 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.