“Because in the end, you won’t remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn. Climb that damn mountain.”
– Jack Kerouac
I work hard. We all do. And we burn out eventually. One of the most important things to me has always been to plan weekend getaways to unwind, relax and recharge with friends, family or lovers. It gives us something to look forward to when we are working late nights and weekends. You really don’t need a lot of money to do this and you can travel and explore your own country.
Last weekend a few of my friends and I set off on a road trip to the Ski Hut in Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve. It is a truly beautiful two-hour drive from Cape Town through Worcester and Ceres. My friend Janny discovered the place four years ago (she is a real expert at finding secret gems in South Africa). A few of us generally pay the deposit well in advance and then invite people as we go along. We were all just starting out in Cape Town at the time and wanted an inexpensive but beautiful weekend away surrounded by good friends and nature.
The first year that we went it snowed. It is probably still one of my favourite memories waking up to a white landscape and running around outside having snowball fights and building rather oddly shaped snowmen. It is not something we see all the time in South Africa so we were truly lucky. The second time we decided to go during the summer months and enjoyed lazy days by the dam floating around on our lilo’s sipping gin and tonics. This past weekend we were promised snow but it eluded us. I believe it snowed everywhere in South Africa except the Western Cape. The Ski Hut is so incredible that not having snow didn’t affect our good moods in the slightest. It was absolutely freezing and we all huddled up by the fireplace in our long johns, beanies and fleece jackets.
There is no electricity at the Ski Hut (which is one of the reasons we love it so much) but you do have hot water, two showers, two toilets, a gas plate for cooking big farm style breakfasts, a teapot to boil water, cutlery, pots, pans, crockery and a fridge to keep your food fresh. You have to bring your own bedding, towels and candles or lamps. There is an indoor fireplace to keep you warm in winter and a scatter of mattresses that you climb to with a ladder where you and your friends can enjoy a good old fashioned Christmas bed with an incredible view of the mountains and forest from your shared bedroom window. About twenty people can stay there but we have found it a bit more comfortable with around ten. There is a big family style dining table with 10 chairs and a long bench. The hut is completely made out of wood and rocks from the surrounding landscape and it blends in to the scenery perfectly.
We all enjoyed a beautiful (although freezing) hike to the rock pools on the Saturday where we split up into a few groups and lazily lay on rocks trying to soak up some of the preciously few sunrays. It is such a great way to escape your busy city life and just recharge in nature with only the essentials. There is limited reception at the hut but it is truly preferable to rather switch off all of your electronic devices and just enjoy a peaceful weekend away where no one can reach you. There is a small restaurant by reception with free Wi-Fi if you do need it though. There are lovely hiking options, mountain biking trails and four-wheelers to rent.
It is refreshing to leave luxury behind every now and then, head for the mountains and spend some quality time with close friends.
If you would like to find out more about this incredible place you are welcome o visit their website www.matroosberg.com.