For a little slice of heaven, head to Petersfield Farm on the edge of the Cederburg. It’s a working citrus farm, perched on a mountainside, with a distant view of Citrusdal in the valley far below. There are four cottages on the property, spaced at least a kilometre apart, and entirely invisible to one another. You’ll feel like you’re the only people in the world.
Three of the cottages are family and pet friendly, with fenced gardens. We stayed in the fourth, Stonehaven, designed for privacy, freedom, and oneness with nature. It’s an open plan chalet, offering an enormous but cosy single room. Comfy chairs and sofas cluster around a big stone fireplace, alongside a dining room table laden with fresh oranges, and a well-equipped kitchen. In the centre of the room is an enormous bed, covered in fluffy pillows, and fleecy blankets for the chilly evenings. A big triangular bathtub fills another corner, perched on a raised platform and promising complete relaxation. There’s also a separate bathroom, with a shower.
If you follow the garden path that leads from the kitchen door into the back garden, you’ll find another bathtub, set high in the mountains, under the big blue sky, where you can bath under the sun or the stars, and watch the tiny cars race along the distant highway.
A big patio in front of the cottage offers a plunge pool, sun loungers, a dining area, a built in braai, and the perfect space to while away the hours with a view of the mountains. The only sounds to be heard are bees buzzing, birds singing, and the calls of a rather raucous troop of baboons who hang out on the neighbouring hill and raid the orange orchard in the early morning.
We shared our patio with a family of swifts, who swooped and dove around us all day. Our driveway was lined with flowering aloes, which were a magnet for iridescent green malachite sunbirds. We also had a Cape mongoose scampering around, and geckos who appeared in their dozens at dusk, to gobble the moths fluttering around the outside lights. Our most exciting visitor was glimpsed for only a second, just before dawn. We woke to the sound of water being lapped from plunge pool, and tiptoed over to the window to peek out. For a brief moment, we were eye to eye with a Cape mountain leopard – or perhaps a large, very feline sort of a dog. He slunk away into the darkness, and left us feeling awed and amazed.
The property includes 2000 hectares of mountain wilderness, and little maps showing walking trails are thoughtfully provided in the rooms. We spent hours wandering the trails through the old rooibos plantation, and to the little damn which is teeming with bird life (and sometimes baboons). We were there in September, and enjoyed multi-coloured carpets of wildflowers and fynbos stretching in every direction. At night, we bundled ourselves in blankets and lay on the patio, gazing into a deep navy sky blazing with more stars than the average city dweller sees in a lifetime.
The cottage is completely off grid – all the hot water is supplied by solar geysers, and the fridge, lights, stove and oven run on gas. There’s no television – but don’t panic, there is cell phone signal, internet reception, and a CD player. It’s a place of pure bliss, an escape from the world that will relax body and mind, and revitalise your soul.
For more info visit http://www.petersfieldfarm.co.za