I’ll say it again – the Western Cape is one of the most beautiful destinations in the world. Every time I think I’ve seen the best there is, I come across another place that AMAZING and totally blows my hair back. Such is the Akasha Mountain Retreat, 3 hours from Cape Town and 12kms outside of Heidelberg in the Western Cape.
The first sight of Akasha as you arrive is an event in itself…. the panoramic views over the valley, the Duivenshok Dam and the Langeberg Mountains are spectacular and as soon as you step out of your car, know you’re in your own piece of secluded heaven. Space and silence. The best. Akaska is all about disconnecting to reconnect and getting your innermost being de-stressed, good and proper, by Mother Nature.
Of course there are activities – kayaking, horse riding, fishing, art and music classes, meditation and hikes that include a trek to 250,000 year old San rock art sites. All this happens in and around the surrounding Boosmansbos and Kopberg World Heritage Sites, practically untouched by people and still largely undiscovered by tourists, although with all the Twitpics and Instagram uploads that went out during my visit, the cat is now out the bag! These sorts of environments tend to bring out the sloth in me so instead of getting too physical, I morph into go-slow mode, drifting in and out of day naps, disappearing into books and mags, taking slow walks through the fynbos, eating – a lot – and stargazing over a glass or three of excellent red wine.
The house itself, designed in a Cape Maroc style, is self catering (the upside is that you can order meals too – see the website), solar powered, and beautifully appointed with a dash of understated luxury. It sleeps 6 comfortably and there’s an additional cottage on the hill above the main house that can accommodate two. Chris van der Walt and his wife Elana are the two wonderfully hospitable owners. For anyone who is keen, Chris takes first time visitors on a ride in his quiet motor boat in the very early morning along the river, explaining some of the history of the area over rye sandwiches with cream cheese and jam, and cups of hot coffee from his flask – this gent is a host of note I must add.
It’s been forever since I’ve done a dawn outing and what a spectacular moment it was…such a magical time of day. The river was like glass, not a ripple, with the scenery perfectly mirrored on the surface of the water. I saw sugarbirds, hawks, swallows and geese flying low over the dam as the boat glided quietly along past rockfaces crammed with wild aloes and succulents. I felt like I was in a painting…
One of my highlights was being visited at the house by the 6 horses that the van der Walts have adopted, that now roam free on their land. It was incredible to be sitting sipping tea and have the herd casually walk through the patio archway and onto the lawns, where they proceeded to graze for ages. All in all, I left Akasha rejuvenated…get yourself there for some R&R…you deserve it to be soothed.
For more info > Phone: +27 (0) 82 090 1741 / Email: firstname.lastname@example.org / www.akasharetreat.co.za
Go via Route 62 part of the way then through the picturesque town of Swellendam and on through Heidelberg…