The weather was divine. It was a beautiful winters day, with rays of sun tickling your skin with warmth while leaving the sky clear and beautiful, when I left the hustle and bustle of the city and in just over an hour’s drive and a dirt road later I saw before me glistening Airstream trailers nestled into the hillside … We had arrived at the Old Mac Daddy in the Elgin Valley.
Our first port of call was to sit and relax on the deck to enjoy one another’s company and soak in the setting. I was told that the dam was soon to be filled with trout of many sizes and so those fishing enthusiasts will have plenty of fun, although once you see the deck I’m not sure you will want to leave that spot …
I was looking forward to spending the night in a trailer, it’s a unique concept and it’s not every night that you get to call home an Airstream trailer. What makes this accommodation in Elgin even more unique is that each trailer has been individually decorated according to a designer’s chosen theme. We went to have a look at some of the trailers and I was certainly taken a back to the imagination that some people have, you really need to see it to believe it. Each trailer has a postbox, one of those old school American ones with a flag stating the name and is a great welcome to your room.
Slightly different to the rooftop trailer park at the Grand Daddy the Old Mac has given you extra space and has added on a bathroom and lounge area as well as a deck to really give you some space. The design is simple and I like to think of it as rustic-chic as the furniture and soft finishing’s have their own feel. Think bucket stools and outdoor seating where you can change the back rest according to how you’d like to sit. The trailer then becomes your bedroom and you really can decide how you’d like to spend your time there. You can take it as just a place to sleep or you can immerse yourself in the design and explore each and every detail of the room. Believe me there is detail in everything.
The rooms have interesting names that hint to their inside theme. Give Bees a Chance is burst of yellow with honeycomb and bee trinkets dotted all around the interior. Dirkie Sanchez is a theme for the young at heart with a wrestling ring as a bed and costumes to dress up in, a wacky concept but once you’re in there you can almost hear the crowd roaring in anticipation. Yellow Submarine comes complete with a real periscope where you can get a unique view of the valley, nowhere else will you find the inside of a submarine in a trailer above ground!
I didn’t mind which trailer I stayed in and asked to be “surprised” and I had a happy surprise when I was escorted to the For Better or for Boerewors trailer. What a treasure trove of memories and fabulous things to look at. A typewriter at the ready to send a loved one a letter, hot water bottle flower holders, bread baking in the oven and my favourite the Ouma Rusk duvet cover to snuggle under and many more lovely things to discover.
But these are only some of the twelve trailers suites at the Old Mac Daddy. With so many options it is easy to come back time and again and have a different experience, this is definitely not like a standard room at any other hotel.
Bigger families can take up residence in Daddy’s Villa a three bedroom self catering unit with magnificent views from the big glass windows. Although if I was staying there I would probably spend all of my time in the private outdoor bath which is just off the main bedroom, secluded and romantic this is definitely the place to restore your soul.
The main area of the lodge is called the Barn and for obvious reasons because from the outside it looks just like one. The Barn is where you check in and familiarise yourself with the place and for those of you with little ones there is a dedicated room just for them which has delightful murals on the walls and a big wooden apple tree in the middle of the room. Just outside is any active kids heaven with a huge wooden tractor which doubles as a jungle gym.
Upstairs you’ll find the restaurant and large bar area with fireplaces and over turned buckets as lampshades. The barn has gorgeous views of the valley and it almost looks like a photograph when you look through one of the huge windows. There was some very clever planning when the barn was built as there are not one but two balconies so if the wind is blowing on one side you can catch some fresh air on the other side without the wind hassling you to much.
Once you have settled yourself in you can take your time away at your own pace. With so much to do in and around the Elgin Valley, the Old Mac Daddy is a great base from which to explore the area. I think ideally this is not a one night stay (as I did) you should stay at least a day or two to really experience your surroundings. Shark cage diving in Gansbaai is only a short distance away, or why not go and taste some wines at the numerous vineyards in the area. If you prefer to sit and relax there are many spots in which to do so at the Old Mac Daddy, I would definitely suggest your deck area at your suite as the views are uninterrupted, or lounge around the pool or even relax in the Barn. For those of you who are active and need a gym you won’t have a conventional gym here but you do have the Lebanon trail right in your backyard and can either do a bit of a trail run or MTB to get those endorphins going.
Something I found quite special about the Old Mac Daddy is the relationship with the community, the land used is owned by the Vuki Trust which is a hugely successful BEE ownership project where the farm workers from the community own the land. The Old Mac Daddy is looking to improve this area and empowering the community. A few examples of how they’re doing this is that they are starting a library in the Barn which the community will be free to use, also on the go are small projects which will enable different parts of the running of the lodge to be community owned and managed. To start off if you’d like to hire a mountain bike or go on a trail you can do this from the lodge through this micro business. They soon hope to do the same with things such as the laundry service.
We went in winter and were lucky enough to have perfect weather but I do think the best time to go would be spring or summer. Spring because from the Barn you are able to see a lot of trees that will soon be bursting in pink colour with all of their blossoms, but I think summer would be best so you can appreciate the beauty of the outdoors.
The food is simple and delicious, on the menu for the evening was either tomato and vegetable bredie or bobotie and I was lucky enough to have someone to share my meal with so I got a taste of both. Let me tell you that the bobotie was out of this world and puts my mother’s to shame – but I won’t tell her that. After dinner you need to go and spend some time outside with your head towards the heavens. Living in the city you really can forget the magic the sky holds and on this evening the sky was shining bright with stars.
This is such a different venue that I think anyone would enjoy their stay, but each for their own different reasons. Bring your partner for a romantic weekend break away, come with your family or bring a group of friends to relax enjoy one another’s company and just have fun. The staff are relaxed yet attentive (and all very good looking…) and will make you feel like you’re at home because they have opened theirs to you.
I had a grand Old Mac Daddy time and will definitely be back with a group of my favourite people to have a few more laughs and enjoy the gorgeous setting.
Photo Gallery: (click photographs to enlarge)