Edelgard Lategan started building River Edge cottages in 2005, the first called “Jan Albert.” Today there are five such stone-clad houses on the banks of the Breede River, at the foot of vertiginous Bains Kloof pass.
The cottages are dotted about 100 metres apart along the river, separated by the Lategan family’s vineyards. Privacy and solitude is one of the big pluses here. Keys are in the door when you arrive and you’re largely left to you own devices. (“Benjamin” is the only cottage that is not completely private. We had other guests passing our porch on their afternoon stroll, ignoring signs to take the path behind the house.)
Each cottage has a similar set up – sleeping six in two bedrooms and a lounge with a sleeper couch or stack beds – with the exception of “Coetzer”, the newest, which sleeps 10. All have a Jacuzzi on the wooden balcony that looks onto the river and an indoor and outdoor fireplace. It’s clear the owners have kids: each cottage has a small lawn, great for a game of cricket, and you don’t need to worry about tots (or dogs) straying too far because each stoep has a gate that can be closed.
Staying on the Breede means that activities revolve around the river. Handy then that a rowing boat (ours had seen better days, but is adequate for fishing) and a single-man kayak is provided for every cottage. There are also plenty of farm roads to traverse, and although there are no marked trails on the property, you can explore the farm and mountains by bike or foot.
Rates are from R390 per person per night. Well-behaved pets are welcome. www.riveredgeaccom.co.za
Where to eat and drink, things to do
Bergsig (2km away) is known for cheap ‘n cheerful wines – its sweets and Port-style wine to be specific. Not one of the wines cost more than R125 a bottle. Service is painfully slow, but knowledgeable. There’s a bistro with a simple lunch menu of toasted sandwiches and venison pie. www.bergsig.co.za
Lateganskop winery, owned by the Lategan family of River Edge, produces the Twins Peak range and 102, a Solera-style dessert wine, a tribute to oupa Willem Hendrik Lategan, who lived to the age of 102. Tastings by appointment. lateganskop.co.za
Take a drive along the sinuous twists and turns of Bainskloof Pass, completed in 1853 by Andrew Geddes Bain. The scenery is spectacular, but the sheer drops aren’t for those afraid of heights. Stop at the Limietberg Nature Reserve Tweede Tol campsite at the top of the pass. It’s the starting point for many walks and there are natural pools for swimming. Come summer, the picnic grounds are busy. www.capenature.co.za
Emma Odendaal was deputy editor of Wine magazine and managing editor of Getaway and is now doing cool stuff at Fresh Living. She contributes to various food and travel publications.