October November A Weekend To Remember
My job is opening farm gates, there were 18, this time I didn't have to open any.That pleased me. It delighted me to know our Swallows had returned earlier this week. Catching up takes time, unfolding and laying out the tales needs time and space. It's best to do so somewhere quiet without interruptions.
The recommendation to visit Snyderskloof was a brilliant idea. Getting there is part of the fun. Lunch was a recommendation too. Just drop in at the Farm stall after De Doorns right on the N1 before the pass. Our lunch under the vines was delicious. The menu was spot on, a fresh garden salad topped with Salmon and avocado for me, but the winning plate definitely was the naked Hamburger Precious had. Served on a large wooden board, the salad looked crispy, light and fresh, the patty was homemade, thick, juicy and grilled perfectly. It ticked all the right boxes. The friendly waitress was eager to please and everything we asked for was possible. Even fresh cream for our coffee and the 100ml of vinegar, in a take-away cup, for a mint sauce to compliment our leg of lamb later.
Situated just off a dirt road somewhere between Sutherland and Matjiesfontein lies the farm Snyderskloof. We turned off the N1 shortly after Touwsriver and did a slow meander through the Karoo. Still visible are a sprinkling of yellow, pink and purple spring flowers while the mountains and plains are covered in the freshest green after the winter rains. The sky was crispy blue with puffy cottonwool clouds, just the way I like it.
Driving up to the farm takes time, each gate has to be opened and closed securely. Here and there we spotted the black faces of the Dorper sheep eyeing us lazily as we rolled up to the stone cottage. The signature windmill was clanking away in the breeze filling the cement dam with slow drips of fresh water. The small yard had just been raked and it felt almost sacrilegious to drive over the scraped markings.
Utter delight was how I felt when I stepped into the cottage. Just two bedrooms, a farm kitchen, voorkamer (sitting area), stoep (patio) and bathroom. Cheerfully decorated in a haphazard, South African, shabby chic way. Old iron bedsteads were given a lick of fresh white paint, crisp white linen and Grandmamas crochet blankets in cream and turquoise cover the single beds. The main bedroom echoes the red and white theme throughout the house and here rabbits and hares reign supreme! Old cast-offs are up-cycled, cleaned and displayed amongst newer treasures in a charming fashion.
Clever use of natural stone and slate was used in the construction of the cottage. The zinc roof is typical in the Karoo and we did hope we might hear the promise of rain on it, a few drops fell during the night but not enough to make a sound! Gas, paraffin, candles and solar power are what drives the energy here, no electricity, Wi-Fi or Microwaving. Bliss.
We hiked up the mountain, went for walks scouting our surroundings and napped under the Karoo pepper trees in a hammock. Evenings were spent around the fire protected from the wind by the traditional circular walls of the lapa. We stargazed and spotted a shooting star amongst the billions of stars twinkling above us in the night sky. Suppers were in the kitchen on a scrubbed ancient yellowwood table laden with scrumptious dishes while we chatted and laughed on rickety benches. Lunch was served on the verandah after our long walks in the veld. Our desire to dip into the cement plunge pool soon waned as the temperatures were just short of hot.
Lazy afternoons were spent browsing the numerous magazines on display, reading our books in the voorkamer or playing Rummikub before we had cups of strong coffee and lemon drizzle cake. Like lazy tabby cats we mooched around waiting for supper. When the sun set we donned our headlamps and looked like miners as we prepared for bed.
While packing for the weekend I frantically asked whether there might be Blitz and dishwasher liquid, I was told "don't worry, there's so much there, you almost need only take food!" It is so, Emmarie and Jaco, the owners, do nothing in half measure. This is a labour of love, it's been an 8 year project and they treat their guests like family. Everything is carefully planned and executed from the co-ordinated red and white roller towel to the pretty vase of flowers on the kitchen table or the rabbit soetkoekies on the beds.
Sadly all good things come to an end but, we'll certainly return if we're fortunate enough to find a booking!
With batteries charged and raring to tackle the last weeks of 2015 we made our way to Matjiesfontein for breakfast and then home.
Snyderskloof Matjiesfontein Karoo Cottage GPS Co-ordinates south 33˚ 04’ 44,6” East 020˚ 25’ 16.3”
Emmarie - 083 462 0850
NOTE: our smartphones and other electronic devices worked perfectly, we charged them in the vehicle.
N1 Road, De Doorns 6875
Phone: +27 23 356 2619