…Carless vs Careless

Honey badger at SimonskloofWhen last did you walk down to the corner shop for a loaf of bread, a bottle of something cold, a six-pack, some snacks, or the missing boerewors or mushrooms (vegetarians take note) for the impromptu braai???

Is the memory of driving a couple of blocks or even a section of the highway to reach the nearest shopping mall or even your favorite organic grocer in the suburb next door clearer?

The daily school drops with the kids, before spending Toktokkie at Simonskloofendless time in total static rush hour traffic to get to your even more stationary office desk. Mind the 2-3hours drive it took you to get to Simonskloof, dodging 18 wheelers and speeding minibuses along the way.
Sitting in flu inducing air-conditioning, law obeyingly strapped in by your restrictive seatbelt, while losing your favorite radio station’s signal, the more the city fumes give way to fresh country air and blue skies. Then to top it all “Are we there yet…?” or “I need to wee…” from the kids, while your copilot is scanning a smart phone for directions. Finally, ten dusty, bumpy kilometers are all that separates you from your well-deserved, so looked forward, hard earned weekend break – never mind the much-needed car wash before Monday mornings meeting with a prospective client – but let’s not think about work AGAIN!

Take it Slowly Please at Simonskloof Mountain RetreatSo, here you are opening a creaking farm gate, almost as powerful as Emmerich’s Stargate itself, beaming you into another galaxy, some old, really old car wrecks suggests a different era, one of white walled tires and even oxen, be it to pull the stripped “car-cases” to their final resting place or actually dragging the last wooden wagon on its monthly supply trip to the nearest steam train siding. Friendly road signs warn you about the slow creatures of this planet… no more speeding tickets – mind you, the receptionist might hint on your F1 driving style through the last ditch and gives you the checkered finish flag for first place in your personal car race.

You have arrived! … well almost, just another few Let them hang those car keys hundred meter to drive, depending which cottage you stay but NOW:

  • Hang ‘m up, those car keys!
  • Switch off that I-droid – no signal out here!
  • Light your fire…
  • Open that bottle of your finest or brew that cuppa…
  • Lean back, feet UP…
  • Breathe in the fresh mountain air…
  • and take in the endless landscape!

You get the drift: Carless is King or Queen…!

The next morning, after a good night’s sleep – wondering what happened to the neighbor’s Happy Toad at Simonskloofalarm or the noise from the nearby main road, the ice-cream bell (do you still get them?) and the builders racket from the site around the block.

You realize it’s all gone, does not exist, on hold for the next 36 hours at least!

Time for your morning run or yoga session or straight to breakfast with a slow brewed coffee, un-toasted fresh farm bread*, good – real – natural – honey** free range farm eggs***.

* watch this space for our “Weekend with Bread” treats!
** need some real honey from a happy beekeeper? Ask mom at the Honey Cottage!
*** well the eggs never ranged free, but ours are definitely Mongoose friendly, as he seems to get most of them, hence so far none are for sale – sorry!

Blue headed Rock Agama on Gecko Trail - Simonskloof Mountain Retreat

Sooner or later our hiking trails are calling, the little farm dam needs to be explored, the car wrecks beg closer inspection and summon your creative juices for an amateur photo session. The big old oak tree asks for your tree hugging skills and your ancestral connections, eventually will draw you to search for the rock paintings in the kloof.

All quests start right at your doorstep, the very stoep of each cottage is the base of each of these adventures. Your feet are the pivotal point around which activities on Simonskloof revolve. Here, these most remote of body parts are central to your stay, here they experience happiness, be it barefooted on the Campsite lawn, squishing through the mud of the little farm dam, stepping on sharp little pebbles in the rock pools up in the mountain, soaking up sun rays while you lie in the hammock at Faraway and read your favorite novel, toe wriggling with the water taps while enjoying a bush bath at Orange, tiptoeing across the creaking wooden floor of Eric’s, strapped into your hiking boots while hiking the Gecko trail or while finding your rhythm down a rock wall, abseiling into the gorge and ultimately boulder hopping in your Rockys 14 times across the Nuy River – HAPPY FEET!

Happy Feet even the Ants at SimonskloofYour feet keep you slow paced (except for those Iron-men and ladies…) they pick-up your natural beat, they are your connection to the planet, this side of the Wormhole.

Leave those keys hanging, just like Tom Dooley’s head. Leave your car parked, for the weekend – well of course that is, if you’re not heading for the Saturday Morning market down in Montagu or the Protea Farm’s famous tractor ride to the top of the Langeberg…

Simonskloof offers you that happy feet experience, that connection with mother nature, slow enough to spot the little things of life. “Down to Earth” is our terrestrial pursuit after all and so is our appeal at Simonskloof for the understanding and respect of the land, to walk and not drive while staying here – it’s only a 5 – 10 minute walk between cottages and the perceived trail head – remember all trails start at your cottage!

Owls are watching us as we should watch over natureSee the opportunity for your young kids, to gain a deeper insight of what it means to drive or not to drive, to walk or not to walk, the beauty of an ever so unconditional supportive planet earth, down to the smallest unexpected living thing. Yet in a blink of an eye we’d sit in our metal monster, driving over her little creatures, catching the flying ones with our windscreen. At night a car’s headlights become death traps for most night insects or birds of prey. Instead marvel at the endless night sky with its millions of fairy lights, while taking a safe 10 minute stroll home with the chance to discover a porcupine shuffling in the oaks forest looking for penny bun mushrooms or listening to the frogs chattering in the farm dam.

Keep those keys hanging! We, Simonskloof and mother nature will be thankful.

Next time you need another six-pack… hmmm, consider walking, it will grow with every step!