June 2021

With temperatures suddenly rising the past week and touching 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) – in the beginning of winter – we were ready for a weekend away!

But where to go … oh we know, our favourite mountains, the Cederberg!

Where will you find the Cederberg mountains?

The Cederberg mountains are located near Clanwilliam, approximately 300km (186 miles) north of Cape Town. The mountain range is named after the endangered Clanwilliam cedar, which is a tree endemic to the area.

These mountains are no stranger to us – we’ve hiked and camped a couple of times in this beautiful mountain range (you can read about it here and here). And Clanwilliam is also the little town where I’ve started and completed my high school career … hey, those were the days!

So, let’s go!

As we’ve entered Clanwilliam, we had some weekend shopping to do … but first, it was time for a well-deserved lunch. Our choice fell on Velskoendraai.

It’s hard to translate this word to English, but let’s try: ‘Velskoen’ – ethically handcrafted genuine leather boots/shoes (and made here in Clanwilliam). ‘Draai’ – turn. So, the restaurant is named after a well-known shoe that is made locally and it’s on the turn as you enter Clanwilliam 😊.

Here is an example of Velskoene – made by Strassbergers Shoe Factory in Clanwilliam (Photo credit: Strassbergers)

Lunch at Velskoendraai

Velskoendraai is a farmstall and restaurant in one and a great place to visit. They’ve got a wonderful gift shop and yummy home-made preserves (such as jams, baked rusks and cookies).

As it was a lovely sunny day, we’ve opted to sit outside to enjoy our lunch. Their spinach and feta quiche, served with a side salad, was really tasty – perfect to start a lazy weekend away!

A healthy lunch
I had to laugh at this saying …

After our shopping was done, we’ve got on the gravel road to travel the short distance towards Rondegat.

Rondegat Cottages

We’ve decided to stay at Rondegat Cottages – situated on a farm, about 13km (8 miles) from Clanwilliam and next to the Clanwilliam dam. We’ve booked a beautiful self-catering cottage with amazing views.

Our view from the front porch

To our surprise, there were no (or very little water) in the dam going towards Rondegat. Charl, the owner of Rondegat, explained to us that they were waiting for the first hard winter rainfall to fill the dam to the shores.

We did bring one kayak along … oh well, with a view like that, we did not really mind … maybe we can explore our surroundings then. It shows, you must always have a plan B!

Our cottage with its wonderful front porch
A big green lawn – it’s like an oasis next to the dry dam

Our cottage is minimalistic – just the way we like it! But it had everything we needed … great bed, bathroom with a shower, fridge and stove (though, we might use the outside fire pit more than the stove 😉). And no TV … the best part for us, because there is an amazing view to enjoy after all!

Our bedroom – that bed is amazing!

We’ve decided to take the short walk down to the dam (or where the water is supposed to be). There are nice ‘braai’ (barbeque) facilities under trees and the perfect spot to relax when the dam is full.

We’ve came across this beautiful tree
The floodplain in the last light of the day
Looking back towards our cottage on the hill, between the high trees

After a day of travelling and experiencing such a glorious evening, it was the ideal time to light a fire and have some steak on the coals.

A fire on the first evening at Rondegat
The sun finally sets behind the mountains

While enjoying the absolute silence next to the fire, we’ve decided to take a drive into the Cederberg mountains tomorrow. We want to visit a famous South African poet’s grave, pay a visit to the historical village of Wupperthal and find the ‘soldaatkop’ (soldier’s head) … if we can find it between all the magnificent rocks in the mountain!

What a magical first evening at Rondegat

Rondegat Weekend (Day 2) will continue here


39 thoughts on “RONDEGAT WEEKEND (Day 1)

    1. My goodness, I’ve just read about your ‘summer’ in the UK … to be honest, that would be very difficult for me 😳. We had a great time – love going to the Cederberg mountains and it was the perfect weekend (blue skies and lots of 🌞).

      Liked by 1 person

  1. 30 degrees in winter, I think I need to emigrate! We’re enjoying some lovely, warm (for us) sunny days right now but we get excited when the Mercury reaches 22! At least we’re experiencing long days as it’s light here until 10.00 p.m. Your cottage looks idyllic and the pool very inviting. As you say, there’s no need for television when you’re somewhere so beautiful! Hope your week is going well. Marion.

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    1. Haha Marion 😁, I think we were lucky with this hot weekend … we are now back at 18 degrees. Oh yes, I’ve heard about your lovely long days (that is not the case here right now) and like you’ve said, at least you can enjoy that. It was such a great weekend, loved our cottage and the peace & quietness.
      Thanks for reading and wish you a good week as well. Corna

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    1. Yes Leighton, we were lucky to find this place … ahh, that pool (who thought we would enjoy this in winter?) We love the Cederberg mountains – it’s hard to capture the beauty on camera, but we hope you will enjoy our next post as well. Thank you for reading and your comments … now, I hope you find a swimming pool soon somewhere in Belgrade!

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    1. To sit around a fire is definitely one of my happy moments … a weekend without a fire, is a terrible weekend 😉. It was indeed a great weekend – away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Thanks for reading and your comments!

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  2. What a gorgeous-looking cottage to stay in and with such a view! I can’t believe your winter temperatures – we has a few summer days around that temperature last week but then it plummeted and apparently in some parts of the UK the summer solstice as colder than last winter’s one had been, around 13 degrees! Even in the south in London we only managed 16 earlier this week, although today is better at 21 degrees 🙂

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    1. Thank you Sarah – yes, it was a really lovely cottage … and THAT view!
      What is it with summer this year in the UK? We are now back to winter and had a few days of rain (well, maybe it’s more of a drizzle in your terms 😉) and our temperatures are now around 18 degrees … that’s proper winter for us!
      Keeping my fingers cross that the real summer is just around the corner for you guys!

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    1. That’s what we’re always looking for in a weekend away … silence and peace … and to see the stars clearly in the sky! Our mountain adventure will be on our blog within the next day or so – I’m sure you will enjoy the scenery 👍🏻. Thanks for reading and your lovely comments.

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  3. I really like the cottage you stayed at. It has everything needed but still minimalistic as you say.

    When I flew from Cape Town to Kruger a few years ago I was surprised that South Africa has mountains with snow. Looking forward to more beautiful scenery and surprises from your trip. 😊 John

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    1. Thanks for reading John. Yes, that cottage was just perfect … you don’t need a lot to have a great time 😉.
      It is quite common to see snow on the higher mountains in South Africa. We even have a ski resort (Tiffindell), located in the Southern Drakensberg … but of course nothing like those you have in the US ☺️.
      I’m sure you will enjoy our next post – the Cederberg mountains are pretty special with its beautiful rock formations.

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    1. Those ‘veldskoene’ is quite popular! Though I’ve never had, I know of many people wearing them … especially the younger people these days 😊.
      Thanks Morag, it was indeed a lovely place … we’ll go back any time again!

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    1. Die weer is meeste van die tyd heerlik daar – lekker warm in die somer en kan ook erg koud word in die winter. Ek glo die dam behoort nou al voller te wees … al die reen wat hier val, moet tog daar ook uitkom!

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  4. Hi folks,

    sorry about the absence recently but I’m back now and looking forward to catching up on all my favourite blogs, I am going to have a binge read tonight as I cannot sleep as usual! I do hope you and yours are all well in the current circumstances.

    Where do you find all these beautiful places to stay? I know that finding beautiful places in RSA is easy enough as they are everywhere but you seem to have an unerring knack of finding the most idyllic little out of the way places to spend a weekend. Do you use the internet or friend’s recommendations or are these places you have been before?

    I could happily live in that little cottage as long as I could get a regular supply of books, beer and baccy (tobacco). Love the look of that tidy little kitchen but I knew Berto wouldn’t be happy until he had made a fire!

    A great read with beautiful images as always and I’m, off for another read now, I cannot wait to see what comes next.

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    1. Ah, our dear friend Fergy! We did sent you a message when you’ve announced you’re “come back” a week ago … don’t know if you’ve received it 👀. But hey, we’re happy you’re back and still kicking and very much alive!
      Getting back to your question on how we find these places – it’s maybe a combination of what you’ve mentioned. We’ve been to Rondegat a couple of years ago, therefore we were happy to go there again. But for most of the places we go to, we haven’t been to before … so, it’s a little bit of a search on the internet (always looking for those “hidden gems” 😁).
      Hmm, and you know Berto all too well by now … he did not use that kitchen at all, but was sitting next to fire all weekend!

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      1. Thank you so much four your kind welcome back.

        Yes, I know Berto very well, we are, as they say, brothers from different Mothers. If you translate into him for me, “We have eaten the same dirt, brother” I’ll bet he smiles as he did when I mentioned the hexy burners for cooking on.

        We fought in different armies, in different wars in very different places but we are much the same. I know that 21st century political correctness and the #metoo snowflake generation would wish us all to just disappear because we are so 20th century, we are still here and, when all is said and done, who do you turn to when things go wrong? Ask your wonderful husband, he’ll tell you.

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      2. “Absolutely” he says! He said (and now I must translate well to English) … you speak out of the same mouth (“praat uit dieselfde mond”) – I’m sure this is not how you say it in English, but hopefully you get the message! And yes, he totally agree with you about “who do they turn to when things go wrong” … I hear that often from him (especially with the recent looting episodes we’ve had here in South Africa … what a mess!!)

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      3. No, it is not exactly how we would say it in English, we would probably say, “We speak the same language” but I get the message loud and clear.

        I didn’t know there was a looting spree going on in RSA right now, I do hope you are secure although I am sure that with Berto there you will be. Just keep yourselves safe, the former SADF (whatever they are called now) can’t protect you and the police are worse than useless now. I know you’ll be fine.

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      4. The looting was about two months ago … fortunately (for us, but not for the other people) only in the provinces of Kwazulu Natal and Gauteng. Apparently in sympathy for our ex-president (Jacob Zuma) who was sent to prison … but many people belief there were more behind this. Do yourself a favour and google “recent looting in South Africa” – it was a horrific scene … I could not belief my eyes … it continued for 4 days and exactly like you’ve said, the SADF wasn’t capable to control the mass (and neither the police). It was sickening and so many shops were looted and then set on fire – many people without jobs (and food) … as if the damn virus has not done enough damage!
        Fortunately here in the Western Cape things are much calmer, but we are very aware of what’s going on in the rest of our country and prepared for anything …


      5. I am so sorry to hear that.

        You are the so-called Rainbow Nation, you are probably one of the most naturally well-endowed nations in the world in terms of mineral wealth, other resources, beauty and who knows what else but it seems it is falling down the pan. We both know why but unfortunately the PC police have now taken over the world and we cannot say why.

        Have you ever read George Orwell’s “1984”? If not you should, and draw a few parallels.

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      6. Why stop at a few?

        I used to work with a physically very big guy (ex Royal Navy) and in work he wouldn’t say, as is usual, “Anyone fancy a pint after work” he would say, “Anoyne up for a gallon”? and he wasn’t joking. He was quite convinced it was a waste of time going to the pub for less than eight pints and we regularly did a lot more than that!

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  5. I would never say that public transport is great, it is generally rubbish and getting worse as the foreign-owned companies stop all the essential routes for small villages so they can make millions in towns and cities where local authorities have priced the driver out of the larger places with obscene parking charges and restrictions.

    They suck our taxes and their profits go straight to Europe (even now that we have thankfully left their self-serving club). There is not a British owned public transport franchise left in the UK now.

    Our trains are the highest priced (mile for mile) in the world. British public transport is effectively rubbish and we still pour tens of billions into vanity projects like the high-speed rail link to Birmingham which might just shave ten minutes off a journey of about an hour. Why?

    As for the driving home, I understand. I used to just collapse on the floor of wherever I’d been playing! Remind me to tell you the story sometime of sleeping on the drum riser after guesting with the houseband in the Wina Cafe in Kalibukbuk in Indonesia, that is some story.

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    1. I understand where you’re coming from … how things have changed over the years in the UK. But it’s still better (by a long mile) than what we have (or don’t have) here in South Africa. If we want to travel, it’s getting your own car out of the garage and drive there yourself.
      That Indonesian story sounds very interesting …

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