I don’t know about you, but Winter is my favourite time of the year! You can wear so many cute hijabi-appropriate outfits, snuggle with hot chocolate as rain drips down the windows and most importantly – it’s my birthday! Given you live in the Southern hemisphere, Winter is experienced during the middle of the of the year. Usually June is the month where it’s really cold and wet.
Here in the Western Province we don’t get much snow, except on the peaks of the mountaneous range that enclose the area. So for a truly magical winter expereince, my family and I decided to go away for the Winter holidays and head towards the mountains. Onward!
We’ve never really spent our holidays up in the clouds before, regardless of the season we always vacation near the beach. We’re those crazy people you see putting their feet in the icy Atlantic Ocean and picnicing on the sand even though the wind is howling. We kind of really enjoy Winter.
I looked to LekkerSlaap.co.za for some holiday inspiration. At first, the dorpie (small town) of Ceres caught my eye. Beautiful mountain backdrops, lush nature. Quiet surroundings and cold cold weather. It was the perfect accompaniment to our Winter adventures. But! Just as we were attracted to it, so was everyone else and every accomodation read ‘fully booked’. However, my good friends at LekkerSlaap offered a few suggestions, one of them being…Wolseley.
Now I’d never heard of this place and if there’s one thing I love more than cold vacation spots, it’s definitely cold remote vacation spots!
Early Friday morning we packed up the car, got comfortable and headed out with the sun still rising through the back window. Now, can I just go off on a tangent here, I’m not sure why the rest of my family don’t do this, but I just about take my whole room with me. And I don’t mean to brag…but that’s what I’m gonna do anyway – I’m a good packer. I’ll never outshine Marie Kondo, she’s on a level of her own and maybe one day I’l be like her, but for now I’m happy being a level 10-ish suitcase packer. Plus, the one thing about travelling bright and early is getting to steal those ‘five extra minutes’ in the car. It’s not your mattress back home, but the car sear can be magical. Armed with my pillows and blanket, the backseat goes from grouchy early morning drive to first class improvised luxury.
We stopped along the way at the Langebaan Mosque. Which is so beautiful! On the outskirts of the Leentjiesklip area, the mosque finds itself literally in the middle of small township houses. With no high rise walls, where kids play ball in the streets and dogs roam the area. The type of neighbourhood I was not raised in, but the type we all wish to live in. As a suburban girl, being in these townships make my mind run with stereotypical ideas – gangsterism, stray bullets, theft. The list goes on, but by actually going into these areas due to my work, I’ve learned that those who are ruining the reputation of these towns are not the majority. Mothers stand strongly against this, teens just want to go to school and not every girl on the street is resorting to prostitution. The media can paint a bad picture, one that I’ll admit, I fell prey to.
And that is why I love going to these uncommon places. Because you’re away from home and your familiarities, you are forced to interact with the people who know the place like the back of their hands. It removes the class barriers we have put in place, restricting our country from fully growing.
Now, enough socio-economical ranting and more holiday reviewing!
We stopped at the Langebaan Masjied to attend the Jumuah programme. Jumuah is observed on Fridays and typically, mosques run programmes from the late morning til the early afternoon. Similar to a Sunday service. A sermon is given by the sheikh or a guest will offer one. One is done in English and another is done in Arabic. We then pray Jumuah salaah and then bas galas all is done!
It was interesting spending Jumuah at a different mosque, the feeling is just…different.
We travelled on down this really long road and for a second a sliver of doubt crept into our minds and we though we were lost. So we ultimately started driving in circles, with my dad silently going where he thought we should, my mom shouting directions from behind a map and me chiming in from the back. Because, it’s not a party til there’s an instigator. And in our family unit that instigator is usually me. (And now that I say that I’m not sure whether to laugh or cry…)
And after some classic family feuding we found the farmstead!
Driving up to the guest house was truly a scenic route. Let me paint you a picture…
‘The crunch of clay dirt beneath the tyres accompanies the songs of birds in the trees. Rustling of newly-yellowed leaves drown out the distant chatter of farm workers. I tilt my head out the window to be greeted by waves of fresh valley scents. The crisp cold air fills my nose and bekonds me to the wonderful weekend we are about to have. The snow capped mountains stare back at our car, their blue majesty a small gift of Allah’s grace.’
‘We pull up at the cottage which was a bit of a challenge as there were no designated parking areas or any signs showing where the guest houses were. But after pulling up at what we thought was the guest house, but turned out to be the farmer’s house and rudely interrupting their tea time, we were shown the house and met with the homeowners – Pieter Crous and his lovely wife (whose name I have forgotten. Sorry love!)’
The house we booked had three bedrooms. One main bedroom which my parents naturally occupied with its en suite bathroom. Which, I will admit was relatively tiny, but my parents didn’t complain so it couldn’t have been all that bad. And the other two rooms had two single beds in each of them, the room that my mama and I shared had the main bathroom in it. So everytime my sisters needed the bathrom during the night they had to walk through our room to get to it – if you have a really light sleeper in your family – do not put them in this room!
The main entrance opens to a cozy living room with plush sofas and chairs adorned with pillows and patterns my granny adored. Then taking a short right you enter the dining room which was so beautiful. A hefty wooden table ran the length of the room and with matching wooden chairs for our family of six. It made me feel like a Z-list royal. Were these the types of dining rooms the settlers of way back when had? It was not only grand but very homely. But no house is a home without a little soul, next door is the kitchen! It was what any person would think a typical plaaskombuis would look like. Teacups hanging from the cabinet. Large windows overlooking the fields, tiny ovens and ornate shelves lined with pink flower-pattered china. And lots of dogs.
Now, most of my family members are not dog people. We don’t hate dogs, we just prefer the lazy and catty personality of our feline friend. The farm owners naturally had dogs, besides as pets, I do believe dogs can serve a multitude of purposes on a farm – protect animals and people, herd livestock even catch rats. So I don’t hold it against the owners for having dogs, I just wish their dogs weren’t constantly at our windows trying to get breakfast from our table. LOL!
The following day we left the house and went out for a bit of exploring. And came across this quaint coffee in the middle of goddamn nowhere who made the yummiest scones and hot chocolate! It was just what we needed for our bruncheon. And after a bit more driving, we came to the outskirts of Ceres. And more importantly – a Ceres shopping mall. So naturally my family and I spent the day (and my mom’s credit card) at the mall. And naturally to most coloured and slamse families we ended up leaving the place with more stuff than to begin with. Heck, we got so fed up with trying to fit everything in that we eventually got to the point where just shoved and tossed everything in. Except the food items, oh no! Those get special treatment – they either get put on top of laps or take up leg room.
Overall, the Welgelee Cottage was an outstanding choice. It was peaceful, the beds we so comfy and warm and there was never a problem with electricity or running hot water. The only sad thing was that it was too cold and wet for a lekker braai. But hey, what do you expect when you go to experience Winter on a mountain!? The journey to the place was a scenic one with the mountain passes creating a sense of mystical wonder and the open landscapes making you feel like you’re on a Narnian journey.
Overall rating: 3/5 buses, because I’m not a professional.
It was truly a wonderful weekend and hopefully, it won’t be the last. Thank you to the very wonderful and helpful people at LekkerSlaap and the Crous family from Welgelee Cottage. Bless yah🌸