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Circles in the Forest: Oakhurst Farm Cottages
One of the followers on my Facebook page asked for a few facts about me, so here they are – 13 of them because I’m not superstitious.
Also, four come up in this post:
Forest-lover, but not tree hugger
Enjoyer of puns
Growing up I spent time reading South African author, Dalene Matthee’s books because they were set in the Knysna Forest, which is an hour’s drive away, and also because I knew they would be our Afrikaans prescribed literature at some stage. She published many books, but the two I think would be her most well known are Fiela se Kind (Fiela’s Child) and Kringe in ‘n Bos (Circles in a Forest).
Last weekend, after literally being home from Victoria Falls for two days, I set off on another adventure with three girlfriends from work, Catherine, Yoki, Rhonda and Kerryn (Rhonda’s daughter) to Oakhurst Farm, where we stayed in one of the quaint cottages, called Kween’s Kaya (Queen’s Home). Apt, considering that we are amazing gals who could rule the world if the humdrum of work and paying bills didn’t stand in our way.
We arrived at dusk on Friday afternoon, using trusty Google Maps. We found our accommodation with no problem. There are various types of accommodation available – check out the website here. Our home-away-from-home was clean and well equipped. What I found particularly lovely is a box of different toys in one of the cupboards, for those people travelling with young ‘uns, and a really cool way to play Tic-Tac-Toe, or as some others may know it, Noughts-and-Crosses.
We lit a fire in the small indoor fireplace, more for atmosphere, than warmth and dinner prep was begun shortly after.
I go away every year with the same group of friends and every year is an experience because we gel as a team. One loves to cook, others don’t mind washing or dishes and I love setting the table. We have a silent understanding that we’re all away to relax and that there is no need to keep one another entertained.
Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast we set off to explore the farm a bit.
It is a working dairy farm so we saw many cows.
We also got to sample the fresh farm milk because our hosts had placed a bottle in our fridge. Soooooo creamy!
There is a lovely playground for children, a delightful farm shop, a farm pool in which to cool off and activities such as archery and horse-riding, costs of which are not included in your stay.
Beautiful pastures, meadows and dams are dotted around the farm, and the dusty road is lined by tall Bluegum trees.
We decided to do the Forest Walk, (which this forest lover, but not tree-hugger was happy about).
It is meant to be a 5 Km circular route, with a waterfall just past halfway. Not one of us thought to bring water, nor did we think that we would be character candidates for Kringe in ‘n Bos, volume 2. We found the waterfall with relative ease, although the water was more of a trickle than a fall.
Maybe I’m biased after having seen Victoria Falls, who knows? On the way to the waterfall, we saw a sign that read, “To Cottages/Church” and decided that this was the way home. It may very well have been, had we not gone to the waterfall, because after circling back to get on that trail, we ended up doing almost 10 Km in total. Catherine pretty much summed it up in a single sentence “It was fun, and then it wasn’t anymore”.
Mental note to self: Do not wear jeans during a hike, regardless of the distance.
Additional note to self: Take water, regardless of the distance.
While the distance was slightly killer, we made it and we got to see some beautiful things walk.
Rhonda spotted a skull in a hole in the ground. I of course immediately thought murder in the forest, but it turned out I read too many mystery novels. The victim was a baboon. Did you see what this Enjoyer of Puns did there? Kerryn adopted it, christening it Bobby/Bobbi (because we’re not anthropologists, so we couldn’t sex it just by looking at its orbital sockets), intent on gifting it to her Biology teacher.
Back at the cottage we all wolfed down our lunch (tuna or ham & cheese rolls) and Kerry and I headed off to the outride we’d booked for the afternoon. Her horse was called Striker and mine, Home James. We had a lovely walk on the farm and again through the forest, guided by Isaac, who comes from a jockeying family and clearly loves horses. He even showed off some of his dressage moves in one of the meadows.
We got back to the cottage and soon the fire was lit outside for a braai. We were intent on dining al-fresco, but we found quite a few eight-legged creepy crawlies which very quickly made us rethink our plans. This mild arachnophobe was just grateful to be inside, because even though there were spiders indoors too, they were smaller than the one that had nearly hitched a ride on me because I’d been standing too close to the wall it was on. After dinner and washed dishes, we all checked out to Club Duvet. The walk had tuckered us out.
Sunday morning, we headed home after another delicious breakfast, but not before stopping at Hoekwil Country Café, for something to drink.
Whenever I’m with Catherine I always feel the need to drink a pot of tea, preferably Earl Grey. The friendly waitress shared a story with us about the café’s cheesecake having been voted the best cheesecake in South Africa in 2010.
It may be nine years later, but oh my giddy aunt, the cheesecake freak in me had what Sally had when she met Harry. I will drive to Hoekwil again just to have cheesecake; it was that good!
Tomorrow is Catherine’s birthday and she’s invited some friends and I to join her for lunch at a place I’ve not been to yet, and on Sunday I will be taking my mum and dad to lunch at a new place that opened on Thursday less than five minutes’ drive from my house. Reviews to follow next week 😊
In the meantime, have an amazing weekend, and if you’re crazy enough to venture to the stores for the biggest shopping day of the year, don’t get trampled by the Stampede of Shoppers.