PEACEFUL SPOT FOR AN IDEAL ADVENTURE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY
MANY times, while travelling along the R56 to the Cape, a small sign just outside of Cedarville, pointing to Cedarberg Guest Farm, has caught my eye. Finally, I felt it was time to do more than just glance at the board, so I took a sho’t left.
A few twists and turns, some gentle rolling hills, and there it was, a peaceful spot which requires little more of one than to just kick off your shoes, relax with a cup of tea – or something stronger – and just savour the scene.
My comfortable self-catering cottage overlooked a small dam. Some persuasion to venture forth came in the shape of a family of Jack Russell dogs which nipped at each other’s heels, tumbled boisterously, and clearly felt lazing on the deck of the cottage was not the way to spend a few hours.
A tiny island, in the middle of the dam, can be reached via a fascinating footbridge made up of a solid tree trunk. While children will no doubt find this an irresistible adventure despite the rickety railings, I had visions of losing my balance and landing in the mud, so I opted not to check it out. The dogs seemed disappointed at this lack of courage, but were soon too busy with their rough and tumble to give me any more thought.
At the large main farm dam, there was a flurry of activity and bird calls. Coots glided in stately fashion on the water, Egyptian geese honked, ibises called raucously from a willow tree, and yellow-billed ducks sailed in a mini-flotilla. Continuing further afield, one comes across a Cedarhoek farmhouse – which can be rented.
Back at the main house, where the owner and his wife live, it is possible to wander around a large tree, shrub and flowerfilled garden, cross a stream, and explore various paths. You might find yourself in the small playground laid out for the younger generation.
The three self-catering cottages are not five-star but have plenty of charm and are well equipped. Plush would be out of place in such a farm setting. After all, the idea is to escape from city slick.
At the entrance to my cottage a couple of milk cans set the tone and tubs of flowers add colour. In the day it was a cool refuge from the sun, at night snug and cosy.
I elected to order dinner, which was served in my own cottage. For those reluctant to prepare all their meals, breakfasts and dinners can be taken in the main house.
Climbing the hill above the farm proved rewarding. Once at the top, a vista of rolling hills opened up. These were still dressed in their bleached winter overcoat, which somehow evoked a feeling of even more aloneness. A rutted track called up vistas of wagons rumbling across the bleak veld, swaying from side to side.
On a nearby hill a solitary red hartebeest surveyed its domain. One of the rays of the setting sun set its coat agleam as it climbed steadily to disappear from view over the brow of the hill. You might also spot zebra, blesbuck, common reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, grey duiker, or the endangered Oribi.
The only sound was that of the wind and the harsh lament of a lone ibis as it flew home to its roost, reminding us that it was time to head homeward.
The home-cooked meal was delicious. Eery morsel was polished off. Well, I’d earned it with plenty of exercise.
So what is available on the 900ha farm, especially as children usually demand entertainment in some form? Visitors can engage in farm activities such as going out with the owner to count cattle or sheep in the veld, or put down salt licks. It is possible to hire a horse, or try your hand at milking a cow. There is a 4x4 route and plenty of walking terrain to explore.
School and church groups have the option of checking into dormitory accommodation with bunk beds in a former milking shed. There is also a rustic pub and a large area which often acts as a wedding venue, or a place where revellers can kick off their heels on celebratory occasions.
Birders will fluff out their feathers when they hear that the owner is creating a crane route on the Cedarville Flats.
All three crane species are abundant on the flats, with nearly 38 endangered wattled cranes, and some 200 blue cranes (our national bird).
Stately crowned cranes also strut their stuff. If all this is not enough, you can always take a drive to Matatiele or Kokstad. Cal 012 011 800 (satellite phone) or 083 262 5464.
This bridge made of a single tree stem will put your balancing skills to the test.
A playground with a treehouse for the young ones.