Spending time as a family is very important and we do not realise that we are so pressed for time during the week with all that is going. I want my children to experience the outdoors and experience the beauty of what our country offers. We live in such a beautiful province and we are blessed with beautiful beaches, mountains, game resorts, wine farms and country side so why not explore it.
We wanted a winter camping or should I say “glamping” experience with the girls and since my birthday fell within the long weekend in June, we saw it as the ideal opportunity to go on a weekend break away. In a previous post, I wrote about our first glamping experience and we wanted to go camping again. As it is winter finding the ideal get away during this time can be a bit tricky especially if you want to have the whole camping vibe going minus having to step out of your tent in the cold to use ablution facilities. Somehow being cold makes you urinate more (well at least I do and I’ve noticed the same with my girls) and schlepping the potty with us or going out in the cold in the middle of the night to use the toilet was not an option. Therefore a toilet inside the tent had to be on the wish list. We found the perfect location which was Slanghoek Mountain Resort. Nestled within the Slanghoek Valley, it is about 1 hour 20 min drive from Cape Town. We headed there the afternoon of Thursday, 15 June for a three night stay and booked a 2+2 Safari tent that was very cozy. The tent was fully equipped with two single beds with extra bedding, towels, a sleeper couch for the girls (bedding we had to provide), shower, toilet, basin and a kitchenette area with microwave and fridge.
This was beyond glam but freezing our butts off still had me worried. Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, it is actually my favourite season but I’m not going to deny my body much needed warmth and comfort, so I made sure that we all have the necessary winter attire. And by winter attire I mean layering, thermal underwear, fleece tops, caps, gloves and warm socks. This might sound like overkill but we had to be prepared and flimsy wear was out of the question as this was no summer camp. We settled in very quickly gathering around the open fire – enjoying some hot chocolate and red wine (alcohol consumption for the adults of course).
But barely 3 hours in our tent, Brent heard some water running on the outside of the tent. He went to investigate and discovered that a pipe burst and that water was seeping underneath the tent. I must say the service and hospitality we received from the resort’s management was excellent. They immediately responded by offering us a 4-sleeper chalet as all the other tents were booked for the weekend. I admit that I was a bit disappointed moving from the tent into the chalet but once the temperature dropped to 3°C that night, my disappointment was something of the past. Being situated in a valley, the coldness was intense and harsh and usually the feeling to hibernate and snuggle is normal but surprisingly we woke up early on Friday morning to get the day started. Our first stop was to Mountain Mill Mall in Worcester to get some much needed supplies. On our return we went on a 1 hour walk to the lookout point exploring the beauty of the valley with its olive trees and vineyards.
The weather on Friday turned out great with the temperature rising to 23°C. The girls even went for a swim in the pool – crazy I know but the weather was really good to allow for this.
The Saturday morning it rained and the girls couldn’t go horse-riding, instead we went for a 2 hour hike to the Platbos log cabins. Yip another hike – the girls never walked such a lot in their life but it was great for them to explore nature and to drink water from the stream that runs from the mountain. This trail actually leads to the mountain waterfall but we could only manage to walk as far as the log cabins. The trail is a bit strenuous as there are a lot of boulders to cross – thank goodness we had proper hiking boots. If you want to drive to the Platbos log cabins you need a 4×4 vehicle or a high clearance vehicle as you will seriously damage your car should you not consider walking.
The hike was lovely and we once again experienced the beauty of the valley with its scenic views but we could also see the evidence of the fire that raged through the area in January.
The worst was seeing what effects the current drought in our province has on the area. The three Platbos log cabins are supposed to be partially situated in the dam and you can clearly see that the water levels dropped significantly. Although the water from the mountain streams through certain parts of the area, those parts that are not fed by the mountain water are extremely dry.
Thank goodness my girls are social beings and making friends does not seem to be difficult. Facilities that the resort offer in terms of keeping the kids busy include four swimming pools (2 by the safari tent and chalet area and 2 by the campsite and caravan area), a 18-hole putt-putt course, trampolines (situated at the campsite) and a play area.
The resort also boasts a small stone chapel, conference centre, hall and a lapa area (the latter is situated by the chalet pool area). If you are keen on fishing then the dam near the campsite area is perfect for that. If you enjoy wine tasting, there are three wine estates, namely Slanghoek Cellar, Jasons Hill Cellar and Opstal Winery in close proximity to the resort.
For us to spend quality time together as a family, it was a perfect weekend, if I do say so myself. Going on a winter getaway has it’s advantages there are no flies and mosquitos, no overcrowding and accommodation is way cheaper than in summer. So don’t let winter hinder you from camping (in a tent or caravan) or booking into a chalet, plan well and find the perfect location.