If a romantic stone-clad cottage on the bank of a beautiful river an hour from Cape Town sounds appealing, River Edge Accommodation on the Wolseley side of Bains Kloof is your sort of getaway.
Edelgard Lategan and his team have created contemporary cottages that are supremely comfortable and, frankly, hard to leave.
A week ahead of your arrival, a detailed email is sent confirming your accommodation and listing what is available and what you should bring. And, while you’re on the way, you’ll receive, via WhatsApp, details such as the code to open the key safe. Top marks for communication.
Thanks to vineyards and mountains behind the cottage and farmland on the opposite bank of the river, it’s possible to sunbathe on the balcony or fire up the KolKol hot tub without seeing another soul. There is a kayak and a wooden skiff for guests’ use too.
Farmer’s Weekly overnighted in Joubert House, one of the five stone-clad cottages on the river front. Everything we needed for a comfortable stay was there.
Four of the cottages can accommodate six people – four adults and two children. The fifth, Coetzer House, can accommodate 10.
A drawback is that only Willem Hendrik House has a jetty to allow easier access to the river.
A luxurious touch
The rooms are well appointed with beautiful linen. One bedroom has a queen-sized bed and an en suite bathroom, while the other, with twin beds, has access to a separate bathroom.
Many unexpected touches elevated our visit: a beautiful fynbos floral arrangement on the kitchen table, for example, and a voucher to join a free gin tasting at Monks, a gin distillery a few metres away from the entrance to River Edge.
As an antidote to load-shedding, there is a stove-top Le Creuset kettle along with an electric one and a glamorous candelabrum with candles. There are also charged portable lights.
In the kitchen are beautiful ceramics and quality cutlery, crockery and glassware, such as champagne flutes and elegant wine glasses. A full-sized fridge was stocked with ice and milk ahead of our arrival. A coffee plunger with delicious filter coffee was welcome.
While there is no mobile phone reception, the Wi-Fi is free and perfectly adequate. There are also many crates of firewood available, and the first one used is included in the price. Wood is available at R20 a crate and you can buy ice too.
Right on the river
From dawn to dusk, we heard and saw birds in the reedbeds, and had sightings of eagles too. Fishing for carp and bass is allowed on a catch-and-release system.
As the outside door to the balcony can be locked, we felt totally secure. It also meant that our dog could have the run of the cottage and balcony, although most of the time she peered down at the river below.
As well as a hot tub, two comfy sun loungers and an outside dining table, there is a deep built-in braai with all the grids that you could wish for.
The kitchen is open-plan with a dining table at its centre. In the lounge are two comfortable couches, and a TV with DStv. There is also an indoor fireplace, and the bedrooms have ceiling fans.
Farm shop eatery
In the farm shop near the main gate is an eatery known for its excellent cheesecake and affordable farmhouse breakfast. For R62, you get two poached eggs, three rashers of streaky bacon, sausage, mushrooms and baby tomatoes along with two slices of farm-made bread with preserves.
Excellent value. You can also order cheese and other platters from the farm shop to enjoy along the banks of the river, or, indeed, on the water itself.
Coffee is roasted and ground on the premises and prepared with an espresso machine. The shop also stocks the essentials: salt, spices, condiments, jams and preserves, and some personal items.