Bonnievale – hidden treasure along the Breede River
On a Friday afternoon we take the N1 towards Bonnievale for a weekend of camping. Because it’s still early we decide to make the 160 km, a road trip of note. With great music and lots of traffic heading out for the weekend, we start bobbing our heads to the freedom of nature.
The highway takes us through Worcester where we take the R60 towards Robertson, the town that hosts the annual Wacky Wine Festival in June. The road is absolutely beautiful with mountains, wine farms and the river lurking in the background. The sunset catches up with us and for a moment there is no hesitation to stop the car and wait out the striking orange evening that is chased by darkness. We become a part of twilight’s imagination and nothing can hurry us. Weekends should always start like this …
We cross the Breede River in Bonnievale to reach the Bonnievale River Lodge and pitch our tent in semi darkness, and then light a fire to scare away the night’s cold. With a good bottle of wine we wait for the stars to find their way to us and realise what the city cannot offer – a highway of stars present themselves with half a moon lighting up the sound of darkness. The river soothes us to sleep.
When morning breaks the birds play alarm clock and the shine of sun on the river excites the possibilities of unexplored territory. Some mountain bikers have found the road before us and their tracks set the road we take into town on a slow stroll. With light laughter Bonnievale presents us with its morning commotion. The town is alive with street musicians and stalls selling fruit and flowers. Bonnievale presents us with a treasure that glows from our faces and those around us.
At De Oude Werf we find a cup of coffee and a fresh croissant that allows us to recharge after the long walk. The smell of pancakes and freshly baked bread makes one want to stay here for just another moment. Eventually the road leads us further to some antique and pawn shops that have ideas flowering in every corner. A wine tasting finishes off the perfect day as we wait for the stars to share their secrets with us again.
Bonnievale is perfectly situated between Robertson, Ashton and Swellendam. Which means it’s a short drive to a world of scenery. A gravel road takes us to La Mont cheese factory and cheese accompanied by more wine we enjoy the sunny afternoon. Here between the mountains, river and green grass its easy to forget about time. The only things that matter here are the depth within silence and good conversation that makes the coldest night more than bearable.
We get back in time to Bonnievale to enjoy a late afternoon boat ride on the river. The river shows us another part of this town that you fall in love with on first entering. The slow movements of water and jumping fish make the slow boat ride a trip into a fantasy world. The moon shows itself to us before the sun sets and we are amazed by reflections in the water. It’s almost as if there is an exact copy of our world underneath the mirror of water. A family is drifting on the water not far from us, their fishing attracts laughter and we cannot help but share their excitement when a fish jumps close by. Our boat eventually takes us back to a wood fire. The week ahead almost wants to daunt us with its presence but Bonnievale prevails and takes our thoughts far away from any suggestions of responsibility or work. Here is a place that has so much to offer and so much potential to make your weekend a memorable one that you dare not miss out.
Bonnievale is perfect for a weekend because of its proximity to Cape Town. The area is filled with great wine and various activities for families, couples and adventure addicts. If you have a fishing rod, mountain bike or love hiking you are in luck. Otherwise the town offers many distractions that will keep you smiling all the way through next week.