An unforgettable outing in the Overberg

 An ecstatic escape to the Overberg countryside

In July a close friend of mine and I decided to exchange the frenetic pace of city life for the peaceful serenity of the Overberg countryside.  The Bontebok National Park near Swellendam was on the agenda and we booked in at Jan Harmsgat Country House for the weekend.

Our accommodation at the luxurious historic Cape Dutch farmstead was astounding.  The charming cottage overlooking the garden with luscious green lawns and orchards was exuberantly snug.  In the mornings we were woken by birdsong and the arum lilies and roses were blooming in the flower beds beneath the window sills.  The local ginger cat also made its appearance to greet the guests.

Dinner was served at the fine-dining restaurant 'Just Amy' where Josh the gourmet chef and his endearing wife Christelle assisted us in utmost style.  The epic oxtail stew and palatable roasted pork belly were some of my favorite dishes, not to mention the indigenous home made pecan nut pie comprised of pecan nuts growing on the farm.

Francois, our extremely hospitable host took great care of us and ensured that we were permanently in a state of euphoria.  He escorted us on a scenic drive of the farm and pointed out the golden wildebeest , pecan nut orchards, pomegranate orchards and olive tree plantations with the majestic Langeberg mountain range providing a picturesque backdrop.

Despite a rainy Saturday we proceeded to visit the Bontebok National Park, the smallest national park in South Africa.  We spent some time at 'Die Stroom', a picnic site with catering facilities on the banks of the idyllic Breede River.  Egyptian Geese, Raptures, Weavers, Sunbirds, Sugarbirds, Fiscal Flycatchers, Spotted thick-knees and Red-eyed pigeons were some of the over 200 bird species that we encountered.

We were fortunate to spot the famous Bontebok, Cape Mountain Zebra as well as Red Hartebeest.  The park offers a variety of activities such as angling, canoeing, swimming, trails and birdwatching.  It was a lovely scenic drive amongst fynbos and renosterbos with chirping birds fluttering above the lush vegetation.  I highly recommend a visit to the Bontebok National Park and shall definately return during the summer months.

Entrance off the N1 to Jan Harmsgat Country House
Jan Harmsgat Country House Entrance

                                              Arum Lily

Arum lily sprinkled with rain drops                     

Ginger cat on the farm
 Local Ginger Cat

Pork belly
  Palatable Pork Belly

Pecan nut Pie
             Mouth-watering Pecan Nut Pie

Breakfast at 'Just Amy'
              Yummy Eggs Benedict

Dining Room
                    Dining Room at Jan Harmsgat Country House
Landscape at the foot of the Langeberg mountains
      Scenic Landscape

Golden Wildebeest on the farm
                               Golden Gnu                                                                           
Cattle Egret
              Cattle Egret catching a juicy bollworm

Pecan Nut Orchards
                                                                                    Pecan Nut Orchards

The host, Francois with a guest
                                                                      Francois our amicable host with a guest

A rainy day in the park
                                                                A rainy day at the Bontebok National Park

At 'Die Stroom' picnic spot
                                                        Die Stroom picnic site on the banks of the Breede River

Cape Weaver on a branch
                                                                                         Cape Weaver

Speckled Pigeons courting
                                                                            Speckled Pigeons lovey dovey

Fiscal Flycatcher in the rain
                                                                             Fiscal Flycatcher sitting in the rain

Spotted Thick-Knee flying away
                                                                               Spotted Thick-Knee in flight

Red Hartebeest at the Bontebok National Park
                                                                 Red Hartebeest at the Bontebok National Park

A Bontebok in the park
                                                                   Bontebok at the Bontebok National Park