We’ve found the best weekend getaway in the Western Cape. Everyone can stop looking now. Photos by Chris Davies.
If you’re based in Cape Town, you probably won’t struggle when it comes to finding beautiful places for a weekend break. Whether it’s renovated manor houses in Tulbagh, tucked-away cabins in Franschhoek, or cottages in the dusty Karoo, there are too many amazing breaks for us to keep track of – and here at Getaway, that’s our job. With all this natural wonder at our fingertips, it’s easy to get jaded. We are, in short, a hard bunch to impress.
But when I arrived at Akasha Mountain Retreat with my colleague Chris Davies, I was impressed before I got out of the car. It’s a picture-perfect location, overlooking the wending Duiwenhoks Dam with the Langeberg mountains front and centre. The property could have contained nothing but a pit latrine and still be my favourite campsite of all time. As it happens, though, Akasha has got a lot more going for it than that.
On the other side of the river is the Boosmansbos Wilderness Area, which is second only to Table Mountain in terms of biodiversity in the Cape Floral Kingdom. It borders Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve, which is home to almost 200 bird species – many of which frequent the pincushions and mimetes proteas that surround Akasha.
The interior of the house is really committed to lanterns. Tiny embellished ones hang on delicate chains, tealights in blown glass line the windowsills, and a bronze-and-glass behemoth stands sentinel by the door. The Moroccan theme is continued everywhere, from the rough-hewn painted doors to the silver teapots: you’ll find that everything was personally imported from Morocco by the owners. There are also simple yet helpful touches like the numerous two-prong plugs, bluetooth music speakers, and a kitchen stocked with every utensil you could need, and many that you won’t. They’ve thought of everything.
There’s a mulberry tree outside the front door, with an appropriately purple-blotched hammock that can be strung underneath it. Chris, the owner, tells me that the freshly fallen berries are the sweetest, before they get warmed by the sun – you can pick them out because they’re the glossiest.
Akasha Mountain Retreat sleeps six, as well as two in the cottage 20m behind the main house (the two buildings are rented as a unit). A word of warning, though: the walls in the main house are very sound-porous. If you’re not enthusiastic about hearing your neighbour’s merest sniffle, best to sacrifice the view and stay in the cottage.