There’s a shongololo on the floor. I can’t help wondering if it feels trapped in a Temptation of St. Anthony type world where I’m the giant and the yellow-washed cement floors are a bare landscape. It just KNOWS there’s something more out there, but can’t see the depth and breadth of it. As I snap out of it, resolute to put it out the frosted bathroom windows, it’s gone. This is what downtime is all about; allowing your creative mind to reawaken and play in a busy, hard world.
The rainbow on the corridor wall is faint yet still visible, projected from the light-filled chandeliers as the morning sun rises above Dolce Vita . It’s been raining for two days, but Sunday has brought a change and we’re finally getting to see this spacious McGregor house in all its glory.
Small Secret Towns
As the dirt road crunches under my boots, the scent of wood fires hangs heavy in the air. Whitewashed houses rest as chimneys whaft smokey air above the town of McGregor. The town centre and location houses are neighbours, allowing a vibrancy to run through the town of McGregor not always found in small-town South Africa. The sound of a marching band has been filling the community with joy since mid-morning, the volume coming and going as the parade marches through the streets. I’m hoping to catch them and see what the ceremony is all about.
Winter Days at Dolce Vita
I can see the baby blue skies peeping through the conservatory doors. AJ slides open the large double glass doors to reveal the courtyard, a half-circle bench surrounding a fire pit. A perfect edition for all seasons, except when it rains, but today the sun is shining and the potential of his open planned courtyard is clear. Large, wooden couches provide more comfortable seating, while the cement bench provides enough space for the cooks.
On the opposite side of the house, leaves lay drowned on the bottom of the crystal blue pool. Summer hasn’t quite been forgotten and the remnants of hot summer days lay before us. This side of the house is covered, which proved to be very useful on Friday evening when the guys decided to braai for supper while avoiding the first of the season’s rain. Having investigated the restaurants in town (and having heard good things), it just wasn’t quite enough to sway us from this beautiful home.
While the boys prepped, Tracey and I kept warm inside both by the iron fireplace and delicious Lozarn wine from the greater Robertson area. Once dinner was served, we huddled around the dining room table, steak and mushroom sauce with hot veg and good company kept us full and happy.
3 Bedrooms, 2 Lounges
The warm glow of the chandeliers illuminates the house with tall ceilings. The fireplace have tall chimneys which assist in driving heat up into the loft bedrooms to keep the house cozy. While the lofts are the most beautiful rooms, we opted for a ground-floor bedroom purely for convenience. Soft furnishing keep us warm, but the large fans and cement floors hint at the potential heat that could blaze upon the house in warmer seasons.
Our suite was perfect for a small family. Loft upstairs, double room downstairs with a shared bathroom, large lounge, fireplace and wine cooler. The perfect ying and yang. There are also doors to the garden, convenient for dogs or kids who want to escape a Saturday morning lie in.
Minibreaks in McGregor
In the morning AJ and I wander into town for a breakfast. We’re greeted by Meg, owner of a small, dog-friendly breakfast cafe. There’s nothing better than engaging with proprietors who are still so passionate about their cafes. Our breakfast is fresh, simple and delicious.
A neighbouring table are also having a good time visiting the town. We know because they’re on their mobile informing their contacts while highjacking the cafe’s muffin closh. It’s Covid times so we decide to give those baked goods a wide berth.
In the afternoon we make our way through the valley for some wine tasting. The rains have washed through the area, making the roads difficult to navigate. Avoiding road closures, we find ourselves on a definite detour, struggling to find our way without potentially damaging the vehicle and nearly hitting a black dog who decided to run into the road! “Douglas Green?”
Eventually, we find our way and soothe our nerves with top-class Lozarn wine and snacks, learning about what makes the area so unique from Salome, the winemaker. After a few hours of chatting and wine education, we pop outside in an attempt to take some selfies in the last of the pre-storm light, light rain and gusts of wind. Though our spirits are high, we retreat to the comfort of Dolce Vita to stay cosy for the night.
Sunny Days in McGregor
On Sunday, the sun is shining and we’re more confident about exploring the McGregor area. But exploring means another dirt road. The four of us to flinch in our respective vehicles, hoping Lord’s MCC estate is a lot closer than yesterday’s journey, which it is. And not only is it closer, but it offers the most beautiful countryside views with low white clouds passing under deep blue skies, while the fire crackles on the inside to the scent of foccacia’s baking. Delicious MCC lulls us into the afternoon, the perfect way to end the weekend in McGregor.
This was our first visit or McGregor and we really loved the vibrance of the town. Reminding us quite a bit of Darling, where the communities intermingle and various classes of people aren’t banished to various sections; we enjoy this more engaging and inclusive South African town style.
Cruising through the suburbs we see kids playing street cricket, families leaving church in their Sunday best, men sitting outside playing dominoes and kids running to the cafe. Seeing the centre of town hums with the soft energy of the morning market as locals sell their wares, opposite the town church, for an hour or two.
McGregor is definitely worth a visit with family or friends, make a weekend of it and explore the smokey, thatched-roof village in the basin of the surrounding hills. We highly recommend Dolce Vita and would love to return when the weather is better and fully make use of everything the house has to offer.
Thank you for having us Dolcé Vita!