We left the sunshine behind the moment we crossed into the Highlands. A thick bank of mist and rain lay ominously ahead of us, not boding well for our weekend away. Twice before this has happened to us (once when travelling from Wales to England to visit the lovely town of Bath, and again when we left Gauteng behind to go camp in the Pilanesberg). I often jokingly call myself a rain goddess, much like that character from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy who is followed by adoring raindrops wherever he goes. This weekend, it seemed like they were in love with me again.
Somewhere in that white expanse, halfway between Belfast and Machadodorp in Mpumalanga, lay our destination, Kloppenheim Country Estate. We turned off the N4 at a sign that said Winnaarspoort and took the road less travelled, literally. Glimpses of green farmland and tall trees enticed us, obscured by the thick blanket of fog, but our attention was on the rocky mud road that meandered like a trail of chocolate towards a gingerbread house. If you turn left by the group of soggy cattle and ignore their accusing eyes, past the old tractor graveyard and up the hill unexpectedly looming from the mists, you’ll find your way barred by a wrought-iron gate on which two axes are mounted. Give the correct password and the gate swings open as if by magic. Then, a journey that seems longer than the seven thousands steps to High Hrothgar eventually leads you to the top of the hill, where I imagine the views over the countryside must be remarkable on days where you can see farther than two steps in front of you.
We had so many plans for this weekend, all of them outdoors. There was going to be archery, getting lost in a maze, trout fishing, hiking and bird watching, even falconry. But none of that was meant to be.
Instead, we bundled up inside our lovely stone cottage, wearing everything we had packed that morning in the cloying heat of an early summer, sipping on hot drinks and pretending we could see the lake supposedly just outside our door. A fire crackled in the hearth and we spent the rest of that day and night reading and watching lightning make eerie shapes in the mist. It wasn’t perfect, but it felt like we were in another world, far removed from our daily grind.
And that was all we really needed.
|Entrance to our Lakeside Suite.|
|The stoep didn't get used much this weekend.|
|Our room was gorgeous!|
|We made good use of the fireplace!|
|Apparently there was a lake...|
|We briefly ventured out into the mist, but soon hurried back inside.|
We thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay at Kloppenheim, although the majority of our time was spent indoors. Hopefully we will be able to return when the weather is better, to fully enjoy all the amenities this lovely resort has to offer.
Disclaimer: we are not affiliated with this hotel in any way. All opinions expressed here are, as always, my own.
Labels: Africa, Belfast, Mashadodorp, South Africa