Bonnievale River Lodge And White Linen Camping
Sometimes the end of a story is the story. Our stay in Bonnievale is a classic case where a mishap could make or break one's enjoyment of the moment . We have friends who are Swallows, in other words they spend six summer months in South Africa before migrating back to the UK to spend their summers there. Somewhere along the line our paths crossed and they didn’t get to see our Honey Badger when we had our “official” unveiling last year, we’ve spent many getaways together and they were disappointed not to have been introduced to HB. To remedy the situation we planned a weekend getaway.
To accommodate everyone we left the choice of destination in their hands as they don’t camp in the traditional fashion anymore preferring to stay in a chalet or bungalow rather than sleep in a tent. By the time we’d set a date to suit everyone time had ticked by and the only suitable spot turned out to be the Bonnievale River Lodge. Our friends could do “white sheet camping”, a term I’d never heard before. Apparently it happens when one stays in a chalet or tented camp where you enjoy the freedom of camping but comes with all the bells and whistles and white linens. Very glamorous indeed.
They loved the wooden one bed bedsit. A proper “Wendy house” with its rickety floor, shabby chic décor and wrap around deck. The kitchen was well appointed and I believe the bed was a comfortable and really good sleep. We enjoyed our Saturday night braai on the deck and laid our usual pretty table and didn’t miss out on any of our usual comforts.
The campsites are really well maintained and ours on the upper slopes a little way from the river front had a super wooden deck where one could quite comfortably “camp out” and I saw other campers in tents transformed this area into their living space, large enough for a kitchen and dining area. Large, deciduous trees provide deep shade and will allow for sunlight during the chilly months. Leaves are turning into their autumnal shades and I enjoyed the experience of seeing the yellow leaves fluttering about in the breeze.
Seeing as it was school holidays the campsite was full with families enjoying the last days before returning to work. Children were entertained on the lawns and the children’s play area served them well. We didn’t hear a commotion once as they played and frolicked about. I assume during summer months campers will make more use of the river on canoes etc.
It is our tradition to go hiking and on Saturday we set off to do our usual recce of the area. Sadly there are no hikes and we had no choice but to do a circular walk from the campsite all along the main road back to Bonnievale. Although a good few kilometers I didn’t find it exciting or picturesque and if I may have my say I’d like to suggest that the management negotiates with neighbouring farmers to allow campers to hike on their land. It’s so much nicer to hike in nature than along a busy tarred road.
After a grueling walk we needed a rest stop and could do so in the village. Joe and I had our new favourite drink a Rooibos milkshake, a first for the kitchen but we’re sure its going to be included in the menu!
On Sunday after a leisurerly brunch we packed up amidst much mirth as we watched Joe pack up his pop-up tent. I couldn’t resist doing a video. In the confusion and haste to get ourselves off by 12h00 Butch’s phone was mislaid.
Without our phones we are lost as they are such an integral part of our lives now, not only do we communicate with them they store much of our personal and business data too. Fortunately Butch could send me a message via Facebook using his laptop. Did you know one can use FB to communicate verbally too? Yep one can. I was able to get hold of Lynnette at the campsite and she managed to locate the phone in minutes. On Monday, first thing, Butch used all his muscle to get his phone back safely into his pocket!
Lynnette, thank you for taking the stress out of the whole process by being so prompt and willing to help. I think you realised how stressful the situation was and dealt with us with much compassion and insight. Butch only smiled once that phone was safely back in his hands and he knew his OTPs were secure! You are a credit to Bonnievale River Lodge!
I can recommend the Bonnievale River Lodge for a weekend getaway. It’s a good place to get the battery recharged, camping is not the only option as there are alternate options too. Although Bonnievale is your typical sleepy hollow they do have Robertson which boasts quite a few festivals during the year and I think this is a good accommodation option e.g. during the Wacky Wine festival. There are many lovely wineries to visit and eateries to enjoy making this beautiful valley a joy to visit. Robertson is an excellent destination for some bargain hunting or art appreciation walks.
Tel: 081 799 2152
Once again I realised that ones tools make camping a joy or a mission and I can’t go without my Victorinox utility paring knives and the fantastic tomato peeler I use. Sharp as a blade and it peels anything from tomatoes to carrots paper thin. I have a selection of vegetable and steak knives in different colours, coded to make them visible but also to distinguish where I use them e.g. red at home, yellow and green in the Honey badger and blue ones in my seaside kitchen. All my friends know about my knife fetish and believe me it’s contagious.
Lunch was at Van Loveren in Robertson where we had a super simple lunch under the shade of large, ancient trees at Christina's the restaurant. The trio of colourful Bantams were a talking point as they all vied for our attention, and got it. The craft beer served named Boet was disappointing said our brewer Joe.