Swellendam Girls Weekend
We’re so excited to share guest blogger Thaya Beford‘s awesome article on her wild and wonderful Swellendam girls weekend getaway at Schoone Oordt. It was such a joy having you with us, thank you for sharing this sensational article with us!
“Yoga, massages and five star lodgings?”
“Hikes, delicious food and wine?”
“Whisky, horse-riding and cowgirl parties?”
“Incredibly, I know such a place,” said I.
This is what happens when you’re planning a weekend getaway with your girl squad and you all want different things from your weekend escape. I’m a road trip junkie and often head into the great wide open on my own – but arranging weekend getaways is another beast entirely.
Googling several getaways, there were always a few drawbacks, both for a wild woman getaway (the new romantic getaway, as Lauren calls it) – and one involving kiddos. My mind fell on Schoone Oordt and Swellendam and how it ticked all the ‘dreamy weekend’ boxes.
The small and unassuming town offers just about everything you could cram into a weekend – even gorgeous butter yellow canola fields en-route, so we booked into five star Schoone Oordt who were offering a #loveSwellendam special; for 2 people sharing for 2 nights, including 3 course breakfasts and afternoon tea, for R3000 altogether. What’s not to love?
Upon arrival at Schoone for my first visit back at the beautiful boutique hotel for the first time in years, Lauren and I headed for the hills (in the best way) to Marloth Nature Reserve, which is one of the most breathtaking nature reserves in the Cape.
Alison, one half of the vivacious owners of the hotel, had already been working behind the scenes to design a weekend around our interests, including booking places for lunch and dinner, wine-tastings and horse riding. In fact, we’re pretty sure that she arranged snowfall too because she’s literally that amazing.
She could tell that we’d probably be ravenous after our hike to the waterfall on the Duiwelsbos trail, and arranged a soup and cheese platter to be delivered to a table that was made up in our suite, arranged in front of the log fire. I mean? Who does that? Then Alison arranged mains and dessert at Field & Fork, only a short walk from the hotel, which was a total treat (sweet lordy, they know how to do meat). We returned to our beautiful suites rosy-cheeked and full of deliciousness.
On Saturday, we were collected from Schoone Oordt after a decadent breakfast, by Swellencab (super handy if you’re planning to taste a few wines), who took us to Sijnn and Jan Harmsgat. I love the earthiness of Sijnn wines, which were complimented by lashings of olive oil dipped breads and treats from their pretty platter. I recently watched this hilarious comedy sketch about how we’ve all colluded in this ‘wine ritual’, when none of us actually know anything about wine, so with that in mind, I’m just going to say that Sijnn’s wine are damn fine and are amongst the best I’ve ever tasted in my many years of the wine ritual, where we all pretended to know about wine.
Jan Harmsgat is a pecan and pomegranate farm that also produce their own wines, and spending the afternoon laughing over our wine next to a log fire was just what we needed on a drizzly day. The farm is only a short drive from the hotel, but I’d highly recommend visiting Sijnn too.
We managed to catch the sunset in Marloth while foraging a few mushrooms, working up an appetite in time to be spoilt by the chefs at Schoone Oordt, over three courses. My fillet was done to perfection, as always, and with The Conservatory being just steps from our suite, which had been warmed by a log fire in our absence, we slunk into bed with cups of vanilla tea and handmade truffles.
We awoke on Sunday as if it were an ordinary day (well you know, besides for staying in a five star hotel), and after yet another ridiculously amazing breakfast consisting of cheese, fruits and cured meats, poached pears for seconds and Eggs Benedict for thirds, we thought we’d take a drive to Marloth again as it’s only a few minutes away. As the mountains appeared, I must have sounded like a child, screeching, “They’re snow-capped!” It was like being back in Reykjavik. Thanks Ali – you pulled out all the stops yet again ha ha.
Later that morning, we had the most beautiful riding experience at Equine Encounters at Appelsbosch Farm. You would never have known that Lauren hadn’t ridden since high school because she was even Instagram story-ing from the saddle! What a cowgirl. I can’t recommend this experience more highly, although I will add that the snow-capped mountains and snowflakes falling on our cheeks made our outride feel like something that belonged in a snow globe.
The cherry on top of our perfect Sunday was dinner at De Companjie, which had just been renovated to feel like a lush and sumptuous cocktail bar you might stumble into in Cuba, complete with elegant art deco pieces, a mirrored drinks bar, couches, palms and deep green walls. My eyes were swimming in the beauty of the colours and details (possibly aided by my cocktail). Our dinner was absolutely lip smacking – in fact, I think our enthusiasm was making our fellow diners giggle! We loved that both restaurants were a short walk away from Schoone Oordt, which I think adds to the small-town-feel of the experience.
Now, I may have rambled on about all our experiences in Swellendam when one of the greatest treats you can give yourself is actually staying at Schoone Oordt, all on its own. In my next tale, I’ll tell you all about our wellness weekend of yoga, massages, healthy food and…langarm. Huh?! True story. And so is the #loveSwellendam special, so please treat yo’self and book 2 nights away with your bestie or anyone else, by sending an email to [email protected] and booking before the end of September