There is a saying that goes: “If the mountain will not come to Muhammad, then Muhammad must go to the mountain”. Meaning that if something isn’t going your way, it’s probably best to change your approach to doing it. Two weeks ago, I did just that and traveled not only to the proverbial mountain, but also the physical one. Escaping to Somerlus Cottage, located in Piket-Bo-Berg, we unwound and re-wined. It was a bittersweet experience: saying “bye for now” to a dear friend who’s off to study in the Netherlands, while also (finally) rewarding ourselves with a weekend outside the hustle and bustle of Cape Town and Stellenbosch.
Approximately 150 km outside of Cape Town and nestled on top of what seems like a very high mountain, judging by the long and winding pass you take to get there, is Retreat Guest Farm. Somerlus Cottage is tucked away on the farm and provides glorious views coupled with the quiet of nature. Characterized by the lovely owner Jane as providing “relaxation and privacy”, we received far more than just that.
The cottage was ideally suited to our group of 6; two couples and one non-couple (of which I formed one half). The rooms were perfect – two rooms with double beds and one with two singles. Each room also had its own ensuite bathroom, complete with panel heaters and electric blankets. These were especially terrific as the frosty Boland mornings caught the Cape Town folk by surprise.
While the rooms were perfect, we found ourselves spending almost no time here as the rest of the cottage was straight out of The Holiday. Remember that movie where Cameron Diaz goes to stay in Kate Winslet’s cottage in a snowy Cotswold’s? That was us, without the snow (though the beautiful views of snow on the mountains didn’t disappoint). We kept the inside hearth burning, our glasses and bellies full, and minds entertained. There wasn’t a single element or amenity that wasn’t accounted for: from kitchen utensils and necessities, to extra firewood to a range of books and games, to candles and loads of fluffy blankets.
While it was completely possible for us to stay there for the entire weekend without driving into town, we were in need of some Bok game snacks and finishing touches for our Oxtail potjie. We stopped by Nieuwedrift Wine Estate for a quick lunch bite and were treated to delicious woodfired pizzas and an all-around great atmosphere.
Apart from visiting the town of Piketberg there are also loads to do in Piket-bo-Berg. Every last Saturday of the year, the Kruistementvlei Farm hosts a farmer’s market. As the area is renowned for their delicious pears, peaches, apples, plums, and citrus fruits you are bound to find some of the freshest and juiciest fruits here, along with other sweet treats, olive oils, crafts, books, and more. The area also boasts beautiful fynbos and it would be a crime not to make use of the many trails. For the more adventurous, there are also hiking, mountain biking, swimming, bouldering and adventure biking excursions.
The weekend away showed all of us that there are some stunning hidden gems right on our doorstep. Piketberg was the first one we unearthed and we were fortunate enough to do it against the backdrop of Somerlus Cottage. Jane was more than just an Airbnb Superhost, but the big nudge we needed to ascend the mountain.
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Photos by Emma Demes. IG: @drawersandhangers