Cedar Guesthouse & Retreat  

Cedar Guesthouse & Retreat

Red rock gorges trapped in the folds of hills provide the beautiful surroundings for peace and tranquility and, as if by design, all come together to slow you down to the speed of a donkey and cart – no mobile networks: no television: no people – or very few.  7kms down a winding track you will discover stillness and silence broken only by the movement of the butterfly.  If you want to stop to ‘smell the roses’, to take a walk or two and just to relax, then Cob Cottage, part of Cedar Retreat is the place for you. 

The Baviaanskloof Reserve stretching from Willowmore in the west to Patensie in the east is a World Heritage Site rich in biodiversity and breathtaking mountain passes. It offers deep valleys offset against towering peaks and lush riverbank forests set against dry Karoo tumbleweeds but for me the Kloof is a place where time has stood still.   

I have focused on Cob Cottage because it is there that I stayed but Cedar Retreat on the Matjiesfontein Farm has other accommodation options too – a converted shepherd’s cottage called Just-for-Two, the beautifully restored Cedar Guesthouse, which can sleep thirteen and 3 small 2 bedded camping chalets. All can be reserved either on a self-catering basis or fully catered by Marta. ‘My’ cottage was built entirely out of organic material during a Cob Building workshop held earlier on the farm and it is tastefully crafted, with an efficient mix of solar power and paraffin lamps for lighting and water heating – a solution that works.  Ideal for two it became my home for three wonderful days. 

Arriving late on my first evening I enjoyed a meal of traditional South African Bobotie and a bowl of fresh salad at Marta’s restaurant, housed in an old converted Barn.   Marta serves a range of home cooked meals but you need to make known your choice in advance (the nearest ‘winkel’ or shop is more than an hour’s drive away).   Willem Maganie, her husband, born and bred in the Kloof is the foreman on the farm.   A mine of information, Willem was there to help me with advice on my selection of walks.  

The Baviaanskloof  (Valley of Baboons) was originally home to the San hunter-gatherers and only early in the 18th Century did European hunters and later settlers develop a more permanent lifestyle based on agriculture. Evidence of both can still be seen to day with fascinating rock art on the Leopards Trail and fields of onions grown for their seed along the main road going through the Kloof.  The other trail I tackled was the Cedar Falls Trail – a good 3-4 hour walk up a valley alongside flowing streams and through secretive gorges of rugged, buckled and weathered sandstone.   Cloaked in diverse vegetation the cliffs offered the occasional glimpse of the indigenous Willowmore Cedar and an infinite variety of wild flowers.   Apparently, the ultimate reward is a swim in a deep crystal clear pool at the foot of a waterfall – a pleasure I was unable to experience due to a heavy storm the night before.

Cob Cottage and the Matjiesfontein Valley provided so much – the priceless gift of silence, the strange and rugged beauty of the valley, the comfort of my hide-away and oh yes, even donkey power…a ride on Pieter’s donkey-drawn cart along the dusty farm road brought my stay to a glorious end.

Rates for the Guesthouse and cottages on a self-catering basis are currently being updated

Guesthouse

 

Cob Cottage and Just for Two Cottage

 

Camping Chalets