– by Marlize Burger

I was sitting on a plane the other day and was suddenly struck by the realization that life is going by way too fast – and I needed to stop. Just stop. Right then and there. Not the plane of course. Just me. I started thinking of what it would be like to sit on the porch of a little cottage in the middle of nowhere. To just breathe in the peace and quiet and endless vistas and to really hear what God was whispering to me. I instantly knew what I needed to do. I had to find some amazing places where I can escape to when life gets, well, a bit too fast, so here they are – 7 amazing destinations that will soothe your soul and put you right back on track.

Karoo View Cottages & Guest House
Somewhere, tucked away in the heart of the Karoo, you’ll find the quaint little village of Prince Albert with Julie and Richard’s magnificent four-star establishment. If you’re dreaming of wide open spaces, spectacular views, clear starry skies and the magic that comes along with a Karoo sunrise or sunset, you’ve find the place. They can accommodate up to 25 guests, so bring the whole family along and enjoy some outdoor activities, like birding, cycling or hiking. Or why not take a leisurely stroll in the village, before relaxing in front of a log fire in winter or lazing at the plunge pool during summer? Regardless of the season, you’ll feel refreshed and rejuvenated when you leave this wonderful place. Contact them at julie@karooview.co.za | 023 541 1929 | www.karooview.co.za to book.

Koekais Guest Farm
If you find yourself en-route to Namaqualand or Namibia from the south or somewhere in the vicinity of Griekwastad, Koekais is the perfect place for a well-deserved stop-over. Just be warned – you might want to linger a while. This lovely stone house with its thatched roof and welcoming porch, offers more than enough in terms of pure relaxation and luxurious comfort to merit a dedicated stay. Three beautifully decorated en-suite, double bedrooms offer up to 6 guests all the amenities associated with its four-star rating, but it’s the soul of the bushveld that will truly capture your attention and keep you there. Roaring fires in the lapa, spectacular star gazing, visits from the local wildlife and the splashing of the nearby stream and waterfall, all contribute to the magic of Koekais. For bookings, contact Sonja at info@koekais.co.za |082 482 2465 | www.koekais.co.za

Appelkooskop Cottage
If fresh air and some peace and quiet is high on your list, this quaint little stone cottage on the R319 between Swellendam and Bredasdorp will more than do the trick. Situated in a secluded valley and surrounded by acres of untouched farm land, this is solitude at its best. The cottage doesn’t have electricity, but is comfortably stocked with gas appliances and everything you could possibly need during your stay, from bedding and towels, to cutlery and warm water, so simply come and kick off your shoes and let the peacefulness sink in. A cosy lounge and fireplace becomes a great ‘kuierplek’ during winter time, while a lovely patio and built-in braai offer visitors a wonderful indoor-outdoor experience with stunning views during summer time. Contact Nalise on 084 503 0664 or nalise@twk.co.za to book or find them on www.lekkerslaap.co.za / www.travelground.com / www.safarinow.com

Arumvale Country House
The sleepy little town of Swellendam has lots to offer the discerning traveler, so if it’s made it onto your bucket list, be sure to complete the experience by staying at the lovely Arumvale Country House. It is ideally situated for those ‘on foot’ excursions into town where you can explore the rich history, heritage and architecture of the place. Endless little pathways will also lead you along as you enjoy the magnificent views of the surrounding countryside. At the end of the day, there’s nothing better than to cool down with a drink next to the pool or next to a crackling fire in your room during winter time. Each of their well-appointed, self-catering suites also offers a large bedroom with en-suite bathroom and tastefully decorated lounge, kitchenette, private patio and separate entrance to make your stay as comfortable as possible. Contact George at george@arumvale.com | 028 514 3545 | www.arumvale.com

Doornbosch Guesthouse & Country Cottages
Somewhere between Napier and Gansbaai lies the unspoilt beauty of the Overberg farm, Doornbosch. Perched on a hill and surrounded by about 5000 ha of fynbos and grazing land with cattle, horses, zebras and antelope, you’ll find the guesthouse and cottages. Each Cape Dutch style cottage can accommodate four guests and offers a comfortable, private, stay with breath taking views of the countryside. Guests can opt to self-cater or to have breakfast included with their stay. Their locally produced organic honey, vegetables, eggs and bread are well worth the try, so don’t miss out. To book, contact Heidi doornbosch@orcawireless.co.za | 028 482 1994 | www.doornbosch.co.za

Kleindoorn Guest House
This beautiful, rustic homestead in the Little Karoo close to Barrydale, offers a welcome retreat to all those weary city dwellers. Everything about this place speaks of rest and rejuvenation, from the easy contours of the surrounding Karoo ‘koppies’, to the soothing sounds of the abundant bird life and fresh mountain springs. Just sit on the thatched veranda for a while, gazing out over the fynbos covered landscape and feel the stress drain away. Once you’ve rested a while, you might want to go for a hike or an exhilarating 4 x 4 ride, before returning home to a welcoming fire and a slow cooked meal under a starry sky. And don’t forget to listen for the nocturnal cry of the jackals before you retire for the night. Bookings can be made with Christine at ccoverseas@gmail.com | 084 245 1581 | www.kleindoorn.wordpress.com

Thulana Hill
Pack up your troubles in your old kit-bag and smile, smile, smile as you head to this luxurious get-away in the lovely Plettenberg Bay. With the Robberg Nature Reserve on the one side, the Tsitsikamma Mountains on the other and miles of sun-drenched beaches in front of you, this is a place to not easily forget. The fresh ocean breeze and aroma of fynbos tends to linger in the mind, long after you’ve kicked the sand from your feet. Relax on your private patio and sip something cold as you keep an eye out for the whales and dolphins that often visit the bay or go for a walk or a refreshing swim at the beach. Thulana Hill has six and eight-sleeper apartments on offer for long or short term rental. Contact Delvin info@thulanahill.co.za | 072 628 6252 | www.whattarelief.co.za

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