Geo…What?

18m… 12m… 5m… more to the South, no… a step to the West. Yes… there, that must be it, under those rocks!!! YES, GOT it!!!

Twin Peak geocacheThis is pretty much how it feels for some 3 million people around the world every weekend, off day or whenever they have a free minute to head out into the woods, hills, malls – yes, even the malls.

Armed with a GPS (Global Positioning System device) or a mobile app and a Waypoint downloaded from the internet, they are poisoned to find a little box, as small as the dice, but more often the size of a 35mm firm container or a lunch box sized Tupperware container containing a logbook and sometime even some additional items for swopping. These boxes called Geocaches with names like Under Pressure 2, Disconnected, or A bridge too Far, are hidden in the most unusual places, under park benches, in trees, on mountain tops, or in private post-boxes or under garden gnomes or rock piles.

Locomotive geocacheCurrently there are over 2,5million caches hidden in 180 countries all over the whole world, 12’000 alone in SA, ~40 in and around Montagu. The game is called Geocaching and started in 2000 with the opening of the American GPS satellite system to the general public.

The first geocaches were simple sturdy ammo-boxes and over the years people downsized them to tiny containers called NANO caches, suitable to be hidden in heavy traffic areas like shopping malls, restaurants or bus and train stations. Other caches were so big they needed no log book, but a confirming photograph of the Geocacher in front of the object like a geological formation and then called EARTH cache. These caches are often very educational, as are those placed at historical monuments or plaques. Did you know for instance that Montagu has at least 5 Boer war forts and where they are – Geocachers know! The caches are placed by the players themselves under strict rules, with great respect to the environment and permission of the landowners.Geo Coin at Twin Peak sm

Sometime you might even find a GeoCoin (see above) or a Travelling Bug (TB) in the cache, those are traceable items which players released into the game to travel the world, some time with a dedicated mission like: Visit mountain summit caches all over Travel Bug - Geise Glöggli - The Bellthe world, YES even Mt.Everest has a cache right on top, called: “Earth’s Roof – Mount Everest Peak”. Our personal Geocoin made it all the way to the Ramat Razi’el in the Judean Mountains before getting lost back in 2011… another TB called “s’ Geise Glöggli – The Bell” travelled 37334.5km so far and is currently in North Carolina.

The 16th of August is International Geocaching Day, for more info on this awesome treasure hunt visit Geocaching.com In their own words: “People geocache because it’s a way to explore the world around them with friends and family and because it’s fun. Geocaching is a free game that reveals a world beyond the everyday.”

Geocache Rebirth of a RiverSO, if you love to spend a whole weekend geocaching and never step into your car, head for Simonskloof, we currently have 10 caches within our boundaries and another 8 within easy reach.

Back on 1895

After more than a year of struggling with cable theft, hence loosing our Telkom number to an odd sounding 0230040459 VoIP number, we’ve claimed it back TODAY, and kissed Telkom good bye for good!!! And it is even more funny looking at our last phone bill that shows R125.29 in credit… THEY owe us! So on that happy note, please note our new/old number again:back to 023 614 1895

But should you by accident dial the old/new number, a friendly lady will pick up hoping you’d like to buy a jar or two of her NATURAL honey. That’s my mom, living across the valley who since today has her own phone and connection to the world.

So be it rest full accommodation or healing honey, we’re back on line!

For those of you outside South Africa, just add +27 and leave the first 0 away and just to give you the full info on the number: 023 stands for the Langeberg Municipality area and 614 is the village of Montagu, yet the new law allows you to have your number transferred to any telecommunication provider of your choice. But most of all 1895 is us!

Weather or Not

Thanks to the “dizzy, wild and horny” Vikings of Norway (“Yr” meaning anything between light drizzle, dizzy, wild and even slightly horny in Norwegian) we now have our very own most precis weather forecast!

Visit YR.no for any destination you can dream off and they give you a pretty accurate idea of the weather you can expect. In our case the got the original farms name a bit muddled up, but the rest is spot on.

So check: Simonskloof Weather Forecast if you like to make sure you to pack your sunscreen & swimming costume or an umbrella & gumboots 🙂

Slowly Please

Slowly please – dear guests to Simonskloof.Slowly Please

Spring is upon us and with it the young and tiny, almost prehistoric creatures are wandering across the roads – hence looking sometimes just like another rock. The larger ones of the Leopard Tortoises can be heard and sometimes spotted mating all over Simonskloof.

Our oak trees are also out of hibernation providing much loved shade with a new layer of squeaky green leaves perfect to pitch your tent under.

The temperature is hovering between 10 and 20 degrees making for ideal hiking weather, be it exploring our 5 short 1-3h trails or taking the 16.5km & 14.5km Gecko trails under your foot.

For an adventurous kloofing trip give it another month for the Nuy river to warm up some more, while the 60m abseil above the gorge is as ready as ever!

And if the last couple of lines were too on high on the adrenaline scale – bring a book, a bottle of your favorite and lazy out in the hammock or take a soaking in the bush bath which come “standard” at all our cottages.

Seee’ya soon!

Jurgen & Ninon, Mom and a menagerie of sheep dogs, chicken and real stories about REAL honey!

How much silence is still healthy?

(Or venting about audio troubles in paradise…)

brave new world

A rather very odd question you might think… especially when you are inundated/polluted daily with layers of noise.
Then finally on your weekend off, maxing your cards, and blasting your weeks fuel budget you head for the hills to find “paradise” a place so quiet, free from audio disturbances, it’s almost unreal… deafening as they say!
It is what we aim to serve you, in parts by default, as Simonskloof simply lends itself to it and in parts by our dedication and understanding of what we are blessed with.
And so, eventually we’ve become “masters” of our own demise, keeping our own noise level in par with nature (our offering). Making sure the generator is only used when there are no guests around, same with driving past a cottage or as now, keeping building work away from weekends…

But over time it started to back-fire… Especially when guest have chosen our place for this awesome silence as the sole reason and expect nothing less.

So JA… How much silence is still healthy? Where is the middle road of living a “normal” off-grid life at the end of the road and pleasing our guest to make sure they come back over and over… or making sure our volunteers can charge all their gadgets, be it an iPhone as an alarm clock and camera or a tablet to Skype across the big lake… everyone wants a slice of the big pie of life, yet very few are willing to reduce their comfort zone.

…and so one keeps adding to the solar plant, watts and more watts, after all one wants to watch a movie or two beamed against the wall, or blast some 1000 watts of Iron Maiden across the valley to get in sync with the Real Brave New World out there… (When all are gone, that is ;))

Hence, please bear with us even if we don’t deliver silence 24h non-stop – our health and sanity will value it!

New Phone Number!!!

We are back on line, although not with Telkom, as they keep battling with constant cable theft. So in the meantime we decided to go with a VOIP phone.

Our new number is: +27 23 004 0459

The phone will be switched off during night time, as it uses WiFi technology, which we are not keen on while sleeping.

Thanks for your consideration.

Jurgen & Ninon

Back on Line

After almost one full month of no phone lines and intermittent internet connection we are back… or at least the last two hours the phone did not stop ringing!

Burning Telephone pole

An experience like this makes you realise again how essential proper communication is even at the end of the road driving 12km for an SMS or nearest cellphone signal becomes a drag and the outside world just does not comprehend.

But we did it, lost some bookings, gained some quiet time and even a subzero phone bill, yet drank tonnes more coffee to calm the nerves (?!) and almost got a VOIP phone, would it not have been for a terrible internet connection…

But JA, we’re Back on Line… and have still some openings in the coming weekends 😉

The image above right seems to speak for itself… yet it was cable theft and then some fallen trees, so Telkom tells us… well let’s hope for the best and enjoy the lines 🙂

24.06.2015 – 10:20: It’s like a bad joke, a really bad joke!!! not even 24h and the line is history again and even the fault report function on TelkomSA’s website is out of order?! I think that company should change its name to TELGONE – Back to e-mails again…