It is not often that one stumbles on a little gem – but we managed it.
After a very eventful 2020 and chaotic festive period, amongst the government telling us what we can and cannot do, the wife and I decided to take the kids and get away for a few days before starting work in 2021.
We hunted, found a few places, delayed our decision and then lost those places. We um’d and ah’d – as we do in our family.
Eventually, while I was covering the 2nd test between South Africa and Sri Lanka – which was over in two days and a session and a bit, we found a place just outside Wolseley. River Siding!
A rondawel next to the Breede River – although not in full flow in this region – but it looked like the perfect place to just break away and recharge those batteries.
We planned to leave around lunchtime on Saturday 9 January to arrive at 14h30, and as is accustomed with our family, we arrived at 15h00.
We pulled in, parked the car and were immediately stunned with the surrounding beauty. Before we unpacked the car, we took the few short steps to the Rondawel and inspected what would be our home for the next four nights.
Neat, tidy and full of charm. We unpacked and got to work on getting the fire going. The best thing is, we did not need to head off to the shop as the establishment had kindly provided us with five crates of wood. Two of the crates contained Wingerd and three contained a local wood which I still have no idea what it was.
Anyway, braai time. We enjoyed our evening meal, while the sun was still up and then, as is my want, proceeded with my customary after-fire to watch the sun set and hear the baboons bark across the river on the mountain side.
The following morning we decided to take a walk through the farm – yes, this is a working farm that contains plums, butternut and some other stuff we could not identify.
On our walk, we came across the second cottage, aptly named The Cottage. Debbie immediately had me asking if we would be able to spend two of our four nights here. Megan, the friendly manageress of the establishment, informed us that these were booked – oh well. We know for future!
We took a drive to Ceres, just 9km’s away, had a look around, went to the Spar to fill up on a few goodies and headed back home to enjoy some relaxation.
We spent some time in the river, well, walking along the river, hopping from rock to rock before laying in a knee-deep pool of water close to our abode.
On Monday we took a drive to Tulbagh, which experienced a massive earthquake in the 1960’s, to find a place to have some breakfast – no luck as most places had obviously closed to Covid.
But we did find a place on our way back, just off the R46 called Fynbos Cafe. A quaint little place that served an awesome breakfast with friendly staff to boot.
It was not until we returned home did we receive an email (and yes the cell reception is crappy in the area but River Siding has provided guests with complimentary Wi-Fi!) from Megan, offering us to stay at the luxurious Log Cabin for our final night.
So, first thing on Tuesday morning, after coffee of course, we grabbed our things, threw them into the car, drove around the fence and offloaded.
Wow, what a place! A cabin on stilts, with a gorgeous view off the wooden deck. It contained an indoor fireplace for those lovely winter nights (as did the Rondawel) as well as a built-in braai on the deck. Going down some steps onto the “front” lawn, there was a metal fire pit for those wonderful after-fires.
A short walk from there and you were on the river! This was heaven. A main bedroom with en-suite bathroom (basin, toilet and shower) while the second bedroom also contained a double bed. The third bedroom had bunk beds for kids and a second bathroom which had a bath, basin and throne.
The unit even came with a dishwasher to leave you stress-free from having to do dishes manually!
It was a gorgeous setting, leaving us well-relaxed playing games on the deck, or leaving the kids to skip through the DsTV channels.
If anything, I will definitely recommend anyone sampling River Siding but I will most definitely plan a second visit with another couple and share the Log Cabin for the duration of the stay – splitting of costs makes sense!
People might complain that with there being no swimming pool on site, that the river is an attractive option to take a dip. There was a “swimming hole” which we took a walk to despite the river being low.
It is a river peeps and no establishment can have control over nature, so you take what you can get from Mother Nature and you make it work for you.
Whether you are looking for a quick getaway for a weekend, or a few more days during school holidays, or even a romantic “second” honeymoon during winter, I would most definitely go back!