There’s a cat with a black head and white whiskers shaped like a firework trotting towards us. The sound of pine trees gently swish in the breeze as the echo of wood being chopped filters down the hill towards us.
Having forced my Corsa on another drive along rain-washed dirt roads, we were pleased to have arrived with ease. On our way, we crossed the most beautiful stretch of road between Robertson and Gabrielskloof before crossing over into the Overberg farmlands. Reaching Avani Lodge, we followed the road over rocks and sticks and fynbos to the incorrect chalet. My nerves! Backtracking, we found the road to the Oyster chalet far easier to navigate in a 2 wheel drive and parked to take in our accommodation.
Glamping at Avani Lodge
The rustic house is a real treat for those who want to experience South African glamping. Complete with “cow pat” floors (not sure if authentically cow pat), made from compressing straw, mud, possibly hair and cement (?), a large braai area and a semi-outside kitchen, this was an adventure we hadn’t anticipated. Being a girl guide though, I was up for the challenge and set about checking out resources for our stay.
Inside, the chalet is surprisingly insulated from the cool air. The frayed gemsbok carpets break up the cool floor while the en suite bathroom ensures those who aren’t into camping have a guaranteed level of comfort.
While the house is actually large enough for a small family, there is a limit of two people – perfect for us. With Hermanus just down the road, we pop into town and buy ourselves a small, flat potjie pot. We’re going to stoke up the hot tub and make an evening of good wine, delicious potjie, and hot tub chilling. A perfect night in nature.
Pine Forest Nights
The soft, golden light penetrates the needles as the sun begins retiring for the day, a kind of Faraway Tree magic settles over the cabin. A young peacock mosies on by, curious about the new visitors. A young woman arrives to stock up the hot tub firewood and stoke the existing fire heating the deep pool.
Back from the village with our new pot burning off, wine chilling in the fridge and the fire ablaze, our evening is underway. AJ puts on some chilled tunes while I pour myself a glass of Jailbreak Chenin. The fire is large and there’s ample wood to keep any extended cooking session going. Once all the meat and veg are on the go, it’s time for the hot tub!
Before jumping in, the gorgeous illumination of the full moon rising grabs our attention. Running up the road, under the square washing line and up the sandy pathway to take photos, again the strange mystique of Avani Lodge hangs over the hill as the nostalgia of simpler times penetrates our evening under the stars.
Relying on the turquoise waterproofing to guard our feet from the cold cement, we hop into the hot tub. It’s certainly one of the deepest we’ve ever been in! The feint worry of being exposed to either humans or baboons floats through our minds, but quickly dissolve as the quiet of night surrounds us.
After hours in the tub (it’s hard to leave once it’s nice and warm!) we pull ourselves away for a plate for hot chicken and veg potjie, rice and wine before hopping into bed. Sadly, the bed was a double which is often a struggle for us to sleep in (we’re big people!), but we cozied in for the night and slept relatively well considering.
The following morning we wake to the soft, tentative cries of Sebastien the cat wanting to come in for water, attention or both. Once up, we sit on the porch’s wicker chairs enjoying leftover potjie for breakfast. The well-equipped kitchen made it easy to cook, wash up and relax without much effort. This is why glamping is so much easier than camping!
Avani Lodge is best suited to those who don’t mind “roughing” it a little bit. Having grown up in Namibia, I love making the most of glamping. I really enjoy cooking, chopping wood, stoking fires, making smores and smiling at the scent of woodfire when unpacking at home.
There are a number of cabins on the reserve, all named after different mushrooms. You are able to contact the staff if you need anything, but it’s unlikely you will as everything is well cleaned and prepped before arrival. This includes the hot tub being lit every late afternoon and fresh kindle supplied to keep it going should you need to stoke it up again.
We had an unexpected trip to Avani and thoroughly enjoyed our time on the hillside. The Overberg is just beautiful and driving through to Hermanus for supplies is really easy. In fact, we recommend entering the farm from the Hermanus side if you are in a 2×4 to avoid the rough, rained-out roads from the N2 side. Avani is great value for money so check out availability or visit the website to make a booking. Alternatively, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Thank you so much to Avani Lodge for having us!