I’m a big fan of luxurious suites at five star hotels, complete with fluffy robes, swimming pool views and room service. But I’m equally fond a weekend submersed in nature, off the grid, surrounded by nothing but trees and blue sky.
After following my friends Mike and Carlinn’s trip to Platbos Forest Reserve on social media, I made a booking for the very next available weekend and started daydreaming about hot mugs of cocoa in front of the fire and waking up to birdsong. We arrived late on Friday night after fighting our way through traffic. The Platbos Forest Reserve is located near Grootbos, in the Gansbaai region of the Helderberg (about 2,5 hours from Cape Town). It was pitch, pitch dark, cold and almost raining as we navigated our way through the milkwood trees on foot to find our cabin; the Bush Buck Suite. I’ll admit, there were moments where scenes from The Blair Witch Project flashed through my mind, but just in time, our torch hit the canvas of the tented cabin and I knew we were in the right place.The cabin is off the grid, so we quickly lit a fire and as many candles as we could find and promptly opened a bottle of good red wine. The wind was now really pumping outside, and all around us ancient milkwood trees squeaked and branches dropped down onto the roof of our cabin. But inside it was warm and cosy, glowing orange from the fire.
It was too cold to braai outside, but the cabin has a two-hob gas stove indoors. The entire cabin is quaint and really beautifully thought out, with a fully equipped kitchen. We went to bed not long after dinner and woke up intermittently to strong winds, the sound of rain and falling branches to snuggle deeper into our warm and cosy bed. Dreamy.
The one side of the cabin is made entirely of canvas and rolls up to open the whole cabin up to the woods. We made another fire and opened up as we cooked breakfast. Keenan lit up the donkey boiler so we could have hot water in the open shower. There’s something I really love about open showers – they make you feel so free.
After breakfast we took a long walk. I love winter in the Cape, so the gloomy skies and chilly wind were right up my alley. Writing this now, I realise that most of our weekend revolved around preparing and eating food, but honestly, that’s just how I like it. After our walk we lit another fire – this time outdoors in the fire pit. We made curry potjie and sat around talking and drinking wine until the sun set.
When there’s not much to do, you nap. Followed up hot chocolate and s’mores and candle lit conversations. It was another windy night, but we woke up to clear skies, which we could see from our backs as we stared up through the clear roof of the cabin.
I really and truly did not want to leave. Which is a clear indication that we had spent just the right amount of time off the grid.
*We booked our stay online at www.platbos.co.za. The cost is R900 per night and includes gas and fire wood.