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.
Arum lily sprinkled with rain drops
Local Ginger Cat
Palatable Pork Belly
Mouth-watering Pecan Nut Pie