Windy Weekend Weather Wolseley
It’s often hard to believe there was a life before a disaster. Fortunately there is. Our memories eventually only remember the good things in life as bad thoughts are laid to rest along the wayside. And then life goes on and soon we say “life is good”!
So before the great debacle and failing of my Code 10 Heavy Duty license I did have a life and a very good weekend to boot too. This time Butch and I went off solo to spend the weekend on a farm sandwiched between Tulbagh and Wolseley. Right on our doorstep you might think. That’s exactly why we went. A short drive for a short weekend.
We had made a reservation at the Fynbos Guest Farm and Animal Sanctuary a few weeks ago. On Friday afternoon we were packed and ready to leave in a matter of minutes. We have fine-tuned our preparations when going away and now it literally takes a few minutes to pack and go. This would also be the weekend to try out our new E-bikes. Really exciting. Our batteries were charged, we had helmets and could lock them up during the night.
Getting the bikes into the Honey Badger took a bit of elbow grease, we removed the front wheels and lifted them into the cabin to stow as our bicycle rack, which will be mounted onto the spare wheel brackets, has to be custom built and is still in the works by the very passionate welder extraordinaire, Xandre Harmse, who knows exactly what we need as he’s also a mountain bike cyclist.
Once we’d got everything sorted, the bikes secure and padded so that they wouldn’t get damaged, or damage the interior of the Badger, we were off. I must've drifted off for a few minutes, lulled to sleep by the peaceful roll of the vehicle and woke up as we turned off the R43.
Our site was large and very secluded at the end of the short road. Surrounded by trees and an interesting rock and log wall we had privacy and a very good wind break. We’d need it as the wind came up during the afternoon and didn’t really let up all weekend. I was not bothered by the swishing and swaying trees and found the sound rather therapeutic. During the night I slid our windows back and relished the cool breeze that washed over my legs. A natural air conditioner filtered through pine needles.
Fynbos Guest Farm has many amazing attributes. Two that immediately spring to mind are Peter and Maurice, the owners who have dedicated themselves to this labour of love. The work that has gone into the production of the gardens, campsites, cottages, stalls, paddocks and enclosures must've been painstaking, arduous and back breaking. Their team, without whom the project would never have come to fruition, are fantastic and get all the credit they readily admit.
All the animals on the farm are rescued and have a tale to tell. Here all animals are safe, loved and cared for. From the Alpacas or smallest muddle of Guinea pigs to the beautiful Zebras who were part of the Quagga breeding program. There are exotic peacocks, common geese, black faced Swans, Ostrich, Emu's, huge mountain tortoises, a pen full of wooly sheep with curly horns, llamas, goats and springbok to name but a few species one can enjoy. Children are welcome to touch, feed and are encouraged to get to know the animals (supervised of course) in a safe environment. We hope our grandchildren can experience something like this too.
For the energetic there are two walks in the Renosterveld or like us one could take to the dirt road and have a good work out enjoying the majesty of the mountains and beautiful farms along the way. Being our first time out on our bikes made me a little cautious, so I didn’t go hell for leather on the down hills but took my time while I gripped the brakes. I have an excellent recollection of childhood scuffs and remember how agonising a grass burn or bleeding knee can be.
There are 10 campsites and for the wild at heart who like a bit of luxury there are furnished tents too! Our campsite was serviced every day. A tap with water to the sites would make ones stay more comfortable but, fortunately we are self-contained so, although inconvenient, didn’t bother us unduly. The built in braai was great and drew like a charm.
The communal ablutions are nicely furnished and well appointed, I turned on the hot water tap and initially thought I was off to a good start as I’d delayed my shower until we’d had our ride and breakfast. As luck would have it someone else decided this was a good time too and whoop down went the water pressure to a trickle. I shall leave it at that. Later, Peter, unknowingly, made up for all that when he dropped by in the late afternoon and presented us with a freshly baked, piping hot, loaf of bread! Heaven.
While the sun went down we set off to explore, taking our cameras with us. When there’s wildlife a beautiful mountain range and some Renosterveld who could resist a long lens and some animal portraiture? The magnificent Peacock was displaying his plumage to impress the peahen, who was unconcerned as he trilled, turned and whirled to impress her with his magnificent fan and tail feathers. Not since India have we enjoyed this mating dance as he ruffled feathers. She kept her pose giving him the cold shoulder.
The tranquil meditation room with its beautiful mosaic floor and seating area is a balm for the soul. I sat for a few minutes until it was time to head off down the path to find Bully & Koos, on the R46, a rustic Bistro on the adjoining property. We made a reservation for Sunday lunch. We had our own beautiful bread and condiments and Chicken Espatadas waiting. After supper we sneaked off to bed and watched a movie on the iPad.
Baby Driver! Excellent film, not about a baby but about a young man called Baby. I download films from Netflix before we go away and I must say this one was a winner. Lovely foot tapping music, dance, a sprinkling of love, a good story where you actually like a villain, very clever plot and excellent cast.
The best time to photograph the Zebras would be at feeding time on Sunday morning we were told. We didn’t mind and enjoyed a very pleasant hour with Peter and Maurice learning all about their traveling and love of animals and their rescue project. We did some photography and I’m really excited to see what I captured. The mountainous backdrop will be magnificent and really set the animals off beautifully. Old Mac Donald would've loved this farm E-I-E-I-O
We set off on our bikes and this time I had more confidence and reached 18kmph on the downhill (yes we have a speedometer). Our bikes are pedal assist but we found our years of spinning classes has paid off as we used the battery only on very tough hills. We really enjoyed this first weekend of riding and look forward to many more. Hopefully next time we'll have our bike racks.
I used our outside shower and what a pleasant experience that was. Hot water, nature and the great outdoors screened to protect us from the wind which still gusted relentlessly. We give our shower 10/10. We should use it more often.
Lunch at Bully & Koos was an interesting experience. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised by the number of vehicles, and even cyclists, stopping at the Bistro style restaurant. Located in an old farmhouse, the venue is situated on the busy R44. Motorists stop to buy bread or a cupcake, a takeaway coffee or stretch their legs and enjoy a quick designer hamburger. There was a constant flow of patrons while we were there. I presume the daily freshly baked bread must have a good reputation. As we arrived a batch of nutty black bread was lifted from the oven and we couldn’t resist. Beautiful it was. We had ours at home for supper. Our server was charming and could give us sound recommendations. We have been told that the breakfasts are to die for. That we'll look forward to on another adventure.
We enjoyed a lovely long luncheon and then it was my turn to drive after I’d completed a check of the vehicle as prescribed by the traffic department's driving test which I’d do the next day. I wish I’d been as relaxed.
While we had our supper we both reminisced about our super relaxed weekend and wondered when the next one would be. Not for a very long while I think. I have not mentioned many of the extras a visitor can enjoy, those I leave to you to discover. You'll not be disappointed. Do visit Fynbos Guest Farm and Animal Sanctuary’s website and consider it an excellent choice for a weekend away. I can’t imagine you’d be disappointed.
Bully & Koos on the R44 is a good pit stop on your way to the West Coast if you’re from our neck of the woods. If you come from there it’s just about time for tea and cake (freshly baked daily and delicious). Guests often walk from Fynbos Guest Farm enjoying the short walk. Peter or Maurice will make reservations on request.
P.S. The wind brought much needed relief to many parts of South Africa including the Boland, where soft, soaking showers fell pleasing farmers. Drought ridden places like Mana Pools in Zimbabwe who are experiencing unprecedented droughts have reported their first showers. So, blow Sou'easter blow. I doubt it was responsible for the tornado in the Midlands KZN.