Pulse quickening, eyes wide, lips trembling, Randolene Jonkers steps forward and flies across treetops and dams.
Have you ever visited a place that exceeded expectations? So much so that you almost have to be dragged away kicking and screaming. That’s what happened when we visited Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort.
Tensions melt away leaving Cape Town behind to pass through wheat fields dotted with Blue Cranes and snow brushed peaks of the Winterhoek. The road finally climbs Piekenierskloof passing through the neck that splits the Olifantsrivier Mountains. Built in the mid-1800s the pass separates the Swartland from the mineral-rich lands to the north. With Citrusdal and Sneeuberg ahead take a right to enter Piekenierskloof Lodge Resort which blends into the crook of the Cederberg mountains.
The magic begins as you enter the thatch building to be warmly greeted by friendly staff. Offered a welcome drink we chose cocktails drunk on the deck above a swimming pool and awesome views. Our comfy suite was part of the hotel and has all the comforts of home. The bedroom opens onto a shady patio and secluded section of the immaculate garden. Prolific birdlife is attracted to plants that are mostly indigenous.
Having settled in we wasted no time and booked for the zipline. Fitted with harnesses and helmets we met Randolene and Cedric Jonkers. They had taken a break from the rat race to try their hands at adventures. They were on their way to somewhere else when they noticed the zipline, stopped, gave it a go. And they were not disappointed, and neither were we. Randolene’s fear vanished as she floated through the air like the black eagles that inhabit these mountains. “I could do this all day,” she giggled.
There are seven ziplines, some are faster than others. They zigzag down the Piekenierskloof Pass crossing the original road that Thomas Bain built. Bain named the pass after Sir George Grey, (hence Grey’s Pass). It was rebuilt to a more comfortable gradient in 1958. The new pass reverted to its original name – Piquenierskloof which was simplified to Piekenierskloof.
Next morning, up early with the birds, it’s time for a swim. No wonder the outside pool was deserted at that time of the morning. It was a little chilly. Thankfully there is an indoor heated pool. There is also a spa. Breakfast was a feast of fresh food, pastries and plenty of options for vegetarians.
Sated and happy we decided to give archery a go. Around 10,000 BC, the Egyptians used bows and arrows for hunting and warfare. Our goal was to hit a round target stuck onto hay bales. Easier said than done. Warren and Beryl Jeftha were on the last of their five day midweek break. Jeftha raised his arm, looked down the length of an arrow and fired. It was his first try at archery and he was thrilled to hit the target.
With time running out we hiked up the mountain behind the resort stopping to take pictures of flowers views and each other.
Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort also has a mountain bike trail tour – next time. For the less energetic, it’s a short drive to Bergendal for a tour at Carmién Tea to learn about Rooibos, or Red Bush as it’s known in other parts of the world. At the resort, children are not forgotten. They can play putt-putt, table tennis, outdoor chess, climb a jungle gym, a games room, jump on trampolines or run around the extensive gardens and lush rolling lawns.
Accommodation ranges from self-catering chalets to luxurious rooms overlooking the mountain or valley. Some of the suites are wheelchair-friendly and there are conference facilities also suitable for weddings and functions.
For zipline bookings in pre-scheduled time slots, give at least one days notice by contacting Natasha at 022 921 3574. Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort is also ideally located for you to head out on one of five West Coast Way’s self-drive Berg Route – with the most twists – to explore the surrounding area.
Facilities available at Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort
• Accommodation • Child-Friendly • Bar • Restaurant (Breakfast / Lunch / Dinner) • Outdoor Pool • Indoor Heated Pool • Wheelchair Accessibility (Chalets 9 & 16, Hotel Room 217) • 4 Star Tourism Grading • Trip Advisor • Conference Facilities • Wedding and Function Venue • Tuck Shop • Un-Guided Nature Walks • Online Booking Facilities
Distance from Cape Town: 169km
Where: On the N7
Open 7 days a week | Free entry
R100/person for archery (40 pellets)
Contact: Reservations +27 (0)22 921 3574 or email [email protected]
Karen Watkins started out as a travel writer and photographer supplying articles for numerous newspapers and magazines including Indiwe, Country Life, Go, Good Taste and others. Joined Independent Newspapers Limited in 2007 to work one year with Special Projects writing marketing copy before joining the Constantiaberg Bulletin as a multi-media journalist writing news and taking pictures until May 2019. And now she is writing for West Coast Way