Winter is the perfect season for a little local exploration in the Cape. The tourists are out of the way, there’s little pressure to book early, making space for spur-of-the-moment adventures, and everything is lush and green with the recent rains. Besides, is there anything quite as romantic as spending the evening in front of a roaring fire with a bottle of red wine purchased from a local wine farm?
Actually yes, there is: spending an evening in a luxury cottage overlooking the spectacular Breede River Valley (in front of a roaring fire with a bottle of red wine purchased from a local wine farm).
Location, location, location!
I’m talking, of course, about Big Sky Cottages, which consists of ten spacious and luxurious self-catering guesthouses that have been built high up on the boulder-strewn and Fynbos-carpeted foothills of Mostertshoek Mountain. From the vantage point of our guesthouse’s balcony, the views are endless, broken only by the western horizon with its jagged procession of mountain summits.
The sky here is indeed big.
To the west, directly in front of the cottages, lies the spectacular Breede River Valley, with its central glittering artery winding its serpentine way through the valley’s patchwork quilt of farmlands. Directly behind us, to the east, the landscape rears up to form the rocky countenance of the Mostertshoek Mountain.
These three-star rated accommodations are in the perfect location to soak up the breath-taking beauty of the Breede River Valley, while offering the kind of comforts and conveniences that make the prospect of venturing out a little challenging. When you can see it all from such a luxurious vantage point, why would you want to go anywhere else?
Speaking of comfort…
The Big Sky Cottages are nestled into the 67 hectares of the Big Sky Farm, which was purchased by owners Willie Naude and Nelia Retief in 2006. Willie works in the film industry and Nelia in real estate. They originally invested in the land by growing a hectare of buchu, a heather-like shrub coveted for its essential oils, before introducing a small herd of Springbok. Unable to ignore the tourist potential of their exquisite natural setting and its views, the couple decided to build a clutch of self-catering guesthouses for visitors.
Today, these cottages offer guests, such as myself, a cosy and snug place to spend a night (or several nights) with all the modern accoutrements one might expect from luxury accommodations. From Wi-Fi, air conditioning, and extra-length beds (no cold toes!) to a flat screen TV, indoor fireplace, and an outside braai area stocked with enough wood to start a bonfire. The bathroom had a spacious walk-in shower, which, in the Cape’s drought-stricken modern reality, is a real plus point.
The furnishings were comfortable, the décor unpretentious, and the linen crisp and clean, and it all felt like home within minutes.
Sunset views and bosveld TV
Almost immediately after arriving, we set ourselves up in the spacious outdoor braai area, lit a raging fire, popped open a bottle of wine from Waverley Hills – one of Wolseley’s top wine farms which lies a short seven minutes’ drive away – and watched the sun blaze its way westwards, disappearing in a fiery crescendo behind the valley’s bordering mountains. With one show over, we turned our attention to the next: good old-fashioned “bosveld TV,” i.e. fire.
Being winter, and in spite of the fire, the chill soon chased us off the veranda and so we lit a fire inside, making use of the guesthouse’s fireplace. Wrapped in blankets, we polished off the last of the wine, and steeped in the feeling of being warm both inside and out.
The Breede River Valley in winter is devastatingly beautiful and Big Sky Cottages is in the best possible position to take absolutely all of it in, from the verdant farmlands and coursing river to the distant craggy mountains and the big, big sky that yawns above it all. We couldn’t recommend a lovelier and more enchanting and comfortable place for visitors to stay.
Book your stay at www.bigskycottages.co.za or phone 071 354 9209