A scenic drive from Cape Town takes you through the Swartland, where the yellow grain fields bear a stark contrast to the rocky mountainous outcrops. Three hours later, you arrive at the gates of Bushmans Kloof Wilderness Reserve & Wellness Retreat, where the smoothest sandy road and most beautiful manicured lawns deposit you at reception.
We are met by Nicole Trevor from Guest Relations and our field guide for the duration of our stay, Christiaan Viljoen. Christiaan takes our luggage to our room while Nicole shows us around the impressive property. After a glass of refreshing Rooibos iced tea and formalities out-of-the-way, we take a stroll to our luxurious room for the next two nights, Niven Family Deluxe Room.
This family room has all the amenities you could hope for to have at your disposal – two bedrooms – the master with a King-sized bed, a secondary bedroom, a lounge area, two en-suite bathrooms, and an outside area.
After a quick dip in the infinity pool, a stones-throw from our room, we make our way to High Tea, which is one of the many meal offerings at Bushmans Kloof. High Tea is served at Makana, with a choice of pastries, sandwiches, cakes, fruit, tea, coffee, or juice.
Time for our first nature drive has arrived, and this predator-and malaria-free reserve has a lot to offer. Christian takes us on an adrenaline-charged 4×4 trail, after which we stop for refreshments at a vantage point overlooking the entire valley. The view from up here is breathtaking!
We meander our way back to reception as tonight is a special occasion – we are dining under the stars. Perched on a dramatic cliff with vistas of the surrounding area, Embers is a once-in-a-lifetime dining experience. Wooden steps lead you to the dining area where you pause by the roaring fire for a pre-dinner drink, whether you fancy champagne or something non-alcoholic, the fully stocked bar caters to all needs. Giant boulders surround the amphitheater where all the guests will sit at one long table, getting to swop tales of forgotten youth over aperitifs or dessert. The food choices are endless – a salad buffet, fresh home-baked bread, grills including Karoo lamb, traditional boerewors sausage, and mouthwatering desserts. Chef Ryan Weakley always tries to incorporate a traditional South African element, such as malva pudding, with Amarula custard for dessert.
With no light pollution, the night sky is a stargazer’s paradise. If you’ve ever fantasized about seeing Betelgeuse, the Andromeda galaxy, Orion, Sirius, or The Seven Sisters, Bushmans Kloof is the place to be. Christiaan makes sure we are safe by checking for any unwanted night-time creatures such as scorpions, after which we are welcome to join him in his quest at spotting as many stars in the galaxy as his expansive knowledge allows him to share.
Back at our room, it is time for bed, but not before cleansing with the wonderfully fragrant signature bath products exclusive to Bushmans Kloof, B|Africa. The luxurious white percale linen is cooling and soft against my skin, and the beautiful iron crafted four-poster bed is draped in shades of cream and green.
After a good night’s sleep, we embark on our morning activity, canoeing on the dam. Christiaan first stops for coffee, and the most adorable elephant shrew makes its appearance, feasting on some crumbs leftover from our biscuits. He brings out two canoes – one for my husband and me and one for him and my daughter. We set off on the water and take in the rock art sites that can be viewed from the confines of your canoe.
Bushmans Kloof is also a bird viewer’s haven. We encountered over 26 of the 150 bird species, and our favorites were the brightly colored European Bee-Eater, the huge Spotted Eagle Owl, and the call of the Blacksmith Lapwing.
My husband and I are booked for a Spa treatment at the Bushmans Kloof award-winning Spa. We leave our daughter in the capable care of Christiaan, who shows her the finer skills of Archery after which they go rock climbing. At the Spa’s gazebo, overlooking the fynbos area, head therapist Marilie Grobler is applying pressure to my shoulders as I opt for the 60-minute de-stress massage. My husband has chosen the 60 minutes Bushmans Kloof signature massage, which is a full-body massage excluding the stomach area. Marilie goes to work on my back, feet, and scalp and soothes my aching muscles with the B|Africa moisturizing rose quartz oil.
Relaxed and rejuvenated, we make our way to The Homestead, where we will be enjoying a wine tasting. Cederberg Wines, ranging from a 2016 Chenin Blanc to a 2015 Cederberg Cabernet Sauvignon, makes wine aficionados sit up and take notice. The broad range of fine wines can be found in the wine cellar, housing up to 900 different types of wines.
After a hearty lunch, followed by High Tea, we meet for drinks in the Boma before dinner. The sky has been painted the most striking shade of pink. We decide to forego our nature drive since the wind is whipping about. We relax in our room and end our day with a delicious dinner.
On our last day, Christiaan takes us to a Rock Art site. With over 130 sites, some dating back 10000 years, this art gives insight into the lives and culture of the ancient Bushmen. Along the way, we see Oryx, Blesbok, Springbok, Cape Mountain Zebra, and Ostriches with their young.
After breakfast, Christiaan, my husband, and our daughter go on a walk to Crystal Pools, one of the many dedicated walking trails in reserve. With its crystal clear water, the pool is just under 5 meters deep with a small waterfall at the end of the pool and a very refreshing swim.
With a myriad of activities at hand, deluxe accommodation, and the most incredible cuisine, you will always find something enjoyable at Bushmans Kloof.
Thank you to the friendly staff at Bushmans Kloof for hosting us.
*** Views expressed are the author’s own.***