I can taste the acidy scent of the thinly sliced onion emanating from the hot, melted cheese. The cold, crunchy salad compliments the charred bread, hot between my fingertips, but too good to put down. This is freedom. Standing on warm cement, in my own puddle of hot tub water, under a windless sky. Welcome to Bergsicht country cottages.
Do you know what would make it even better? Hopping back into the hot tub! Krone MCC in hand, toastie in the other and stars starting to rise above the mountains. The chicken has disappeared and the Jacky Hangmen have gone to sleep for the night, but this bird is staying up to soak up all this post-lockdown goodness!
Fresh Farm Living at Bergsicht
Neighbours arrived earlier and they’re playing Chris Brown. Not exactly what I had in mind for the night, but the music does provide a touch of privacy by muffling our individual conversations – and they’re considerate with the volume.
Bergsicht has 5 farm cottages located on Vrolikheid farm on the heel of Grootwinterhoek Wilderness Area. We’re staying in Ruby star, a large, semi-detached cottage perfect for a couple and two kids. The house includes a small lounge area, two beds for kids in the corner, a large dining room and an open plan kitchenette. The main bedroom is a private double room with loads of space and a baby’s cot.
The house next door’s hot tub is hidden behind a wall, ensuring privacy for all parties. The sounds, however, can not be so well contained – as we learnt from our young, neighbourly lovers. Bergsicht put a lot of effort into ensuring a romantic welcome in the bedroom and clearly their love spells work!
One Big House, Two Small Families
The Ruby Star cottage is practical. The sink has two buckets inside to capture excess water to combat the previous year’s drought. This is a working farm and all water is precious. The kitchen is fully equipped with everything you need for a short stay from utensils and appliances.
Turn the fridge on as soon as you arrive. It’s hot in Tulbagh and it takes a while for it to cool down. There’s a microwave, a hob and a gas stove for the kettles – all of which went untouched during our visit thanks to the outdoor fireplace. There’s also an indoor fireplace, confirming that this house probably works just as well in winter as it does in summer.
The bathroom and WC are separate, with a large bath and shower. It took some time for the water to heat up so we recommend using the shower to save water and have a faster result. We used it to mainly rinse off after the hot tub (which uses chlorine to keep crystal clear and clean).
The house next door is African Delight and facilitates 1 couple upstairs and 1 single downstairs. Venturing to Bergsicht for a weekend away, with family and friends, makes this house duo the perfect combination.
Starry Nights at Bergsicht
AJ keeps the fire going with meat from the local Spar for dinner. I’m not sure if I’ll eat more than this; the soothing water of the hot tub is too good to give up even though it’s taken some time to balance the height of the fire and the temperature of the water.
Eventually, having witnessed a frog chasing AJ along the porch, it’s time to go inside and retire for the night. The sun’s caught me and I’m going to sleep really well after hot tub soaking. The queen-sized bed is mounted on old freight crates, adding an extra shelf to leave your mobile charging. The air conditioning ensures guests sleep comfortably throughout the scorching summer.
Mornings at Bergsicht
The following morning I awoke early to the sounds of cows mooing loudly, tractors puckering past and birds tweeting. Half asleep, I stumble outside to take in the fresh morning air. These moments are sacred after months of apartment lockdown.
The Jacky hangmen are fluttering around gathering breakfasts for their chick. The chicken has reappeared and the light is starting to bloom over the valley.
Bergsicht has been the perfect breakaway with loads of fresh air, animals, beautiful light and tasty self-catering food. We’ll be heading into town for a last turn around the village before heading home, a sorry departure from such a homey, comfortable stay.
We had a wonderful stay at the Bergsicht Country Cottage and would happily return for a weekend away. This particular house, Ruby Star, is most suited for a small family, but joining with the house next door will make it even better (if all within the same family or friend group). The garden, porch and kitchen are large enough for a share space.
The house has everything that is needed for a self-catering stay in Tulbagh and the rates are incredibly reasonable, with fees available for additional adults or single occupancy. Marileze is very helpful (via Whatsapp) should you have any queries or random questions (I asked a few about the farm!).
Vrolikheid is not access controlled, but is about half a km down the road so we did feel safe. The owners also live next door to these cottages so there are permanent residents on site, which always makes one feel a bit more safe.
Wood can also be purchased from the farm at R20 per bag, which was so convenient – we really appreciated this added service. Check-in is at 3pm and check-out at 10am, with check in being contactless (there’s a keylock box on each house).