Blogger, Di Brown, took to the West Coast Way Berg Route and Wild Route, for a visit to Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort. Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort is the gateway to the Cederberg with spectacular views and a wide variety of thrilling mountain activities.
The only thing keeping me awake are my cold feet. They are dangling in the water as I gaze at the views over the pool, sip my coffee and inhale the sunshine.
The last of the flowers wave their petals, a bee buzzes past my head and an ant detours around my hand.
I’m back at Piekenierskloof, my happy place in the mountains.
I’m here with my son Rob, and we are on a mission to see how much we can do in 24 hours.
We also have our new drone with us and need to practice our flying skills a little, or in my case, quite a lot.
No time for lazing, we start with a game of giant chess to get the brain cells activated. I’m not very good, I laugh, I sneak over to the trampoline, I jump higher than the Bishop who looks disapproving. Rob wins.
Walk, hike, climb.
We wander around the paths below the hotel and under the zip lines that traverse down the valley. Birds and bugs share our space, flowers, trees and reeds remind us we are in nature. This is a great little route for exploring with kids, it’s fairly flat and does not meander far from the main resort complex.
Finding an even piece of ground we launch the drone and send it soaring high above the resort and explore through the screen, planning our next excursion. Sixteen minutes of battery time pass all too fast, the other battery is being saved for sunset.
Fuelled by more coffee enjoyed on the deck, we take the road that leads to the gate and veers into the bush at a little sign that says “Hiking Trail”.
Fortunately, we both have all our cameras and the drone in backpacks as this hike is more of an uphill scramble with a bit of climbing. My short legs were stretched to the max in parts, so this trail is probably not ideal for small humans.
The path is narrow and vague, we make up our own route, get attacked by branches, slip on moss and then notice the painted signs indicating a less precarious track. About two-thirds of the way up we stop and take in the views. The top always calls though, and we keep going, the whole walk only takes about half an hour.
The scenes could keep you there all day. In front of us, the Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort is spread out, Citrusdal can be seen in the far distance. Behind us are the farms and valleys of Paleisheuwel, ringed by the hint of distant mountains, the views go on and on in multiple layers of colour.
We try to capture this with the drone but the light is fading and the video fails to capture the richness and depth of the landscape.
The sun is sinking fast and it looks like sunset will be very meh, and then this happened.
We stayed, snapped, smiled and made our way down very carefully by torchlight. Absolutely worth exploring this hill that looms up right behind the hotel.
Dinner at Kloof Restaurant and then time to plug in all the gadgets to recharge overnight, and collapse into bed, as we are planning to be up before sunrise.
Having one last coffee on my balcony I watched the trucks navigating the Piekenierskloof Pass twisting and turning down the mountain towards Citrusdal. Photographers take note, this is a perfect place to get long exposure light trails, some of those trucks are lit up like Christmas trees.
It is 6:10 am and although the sky says it will be a hot and clear day, the air has not got that memo yet. My hands are so cold they are numb and I pass the drone controls to Rob. Hands tucked between my legs I perch on the rock behind him and watch the scenes unfold. Rob is getting pretty skilled and confident with the drone and clearly loving this new toy. I better practice and catch up or I’ll never get a chance with it.
Breakfast is a fast feast of eggs, bacon, pastries, fruit and yoghurt, washed down with copious cups of coffee to thaw out and then we are off with Natasha to go ziplining.
The seven slides take about 45 minutes to complete and we laugh like kids all the way. Rob even manages to take some video with his camera as he slides. Read about the full ziplining experience here.
Hot or cold, choose your pool.
It’s still too chilly to plunge into the pool with the stepping stones and views for days, but the heated indoor pool is very inviting and the perfect refresher after the walk up the hill from the ziplines.
The staff have given us directions to a secret viewing spot where they take guests for sunset picnics. We load the car with drinks, drone, camera and Rob’s bike and head down the Paleisheuwel road.
Oh my word, this must be the prettiest road in the world. It is a long straight stripe of tar rolling over gentle hills and we have it all to ourselves. A tractor rumbles in a field, birds call and the air buzzes.
We stop all the time as trees filled with dozens of weaver bird nests, rocky outcrops, and a dirt road to a quarry distract us from our quest to find the secret spot.
Eventually, back to the task at hand, we follow the directions and come to a place that really is something special.
Cameras, phones and drones kept us busy and mesmerized for the next hour. The saddest part was that we would be on our way back to Cape Town by the time sunset happened. When you stay at Piekenierskloof you absolutely must ask the staff to plan a picnic and take you to this place.
You only need two wheels.
The resort has a number of MTB Routes on and around the property, some going through neighbouring farms, others up rocky tracks and alongside green forests. I relaxed while Rob put his bike through its paces and returned sweaty but smiling. There are routes for all levels of mountain bikers here, ask at reception or just head out and explore.
We had time for one more activity before hitting the road back to Cape Town. Archery. I lifted the rifle surprised by its heaviness, took aim and fired. I almost killed myself from the recoil, but I’m no killer, I never even hit the target. I decided to be a spectator and watched as Rob hit the target every time and even managed a couple of bullseyes.
One last coffee and it was time to head home. Way too soon, but as always with promises to be back.
The #WestCoastWay never disappoints.
Find Piekenierskloof Mountain Resort on the West Coast Way Berg Route and Wild Route.
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: 170 km, 88 minutes
Where: On the N7
Open 7 days a week | Free entry
Contact: Reservations +27 (0)22 921 3574 | [email protected]
The Roaming Giraffe is Di Brown. Travel writer and blogger, mother, grandmother, avid reader, tourism professional, learner photographer, social media influencer, Twitter fan and lover of Instagram.
West Coast Way is South Africa’s road trip with the most twists. South Africans and visitors can explore a unique collection of themed routes to do adventure-filled Cape West Coast self-drive trips or a West Coast Holiday. The new West Coast Way “basket” of free routes on offer include the West Coast Way Scenic Route, the West Coast Way Berg Route, the West Coast Way Foodie Route, the West Coast Way Cultural Route – as well as the newly launched West Coast Way Wild Route, all of which are designed to showcase the many attractions and activities that are already on offer on the Cape West Coast and inland areas – but may be unknown to many. For more information on West Coast Way’s #WestCoastTwist and the list of 101 Things to Do on the West Coast visit www.westcoastway.co.za or call West Coast Way on 0861 321 777. Connect with West Coast Way on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at WestCoastWaySA.