Tuesday, April 18, 2006

A View from the Overberg, Pt 2

So, we left the luxuries of WedgeView (where their premium breakfast is called a "Wedgie") and hit the road for Swellendam. After a couple of hours of ruddy barren fields dotted with the occasional dorpie for a view, a speck of green came onto the horizon, swelling in size with each passing kilometre until we could see the lush green of a town. Swellendam is the third oldest city in South Africa and it is situated along the Breede River, and is immensely fertile. After passing an industrial area, remarkable for the immense grain silos along the roadway, we came into the verdant little town.

After a right turn onto the main road, Voortrek, the fourth building on the right was our destination: Rothman Manor, a Cape Dutch house built in 1834 and the first in a complex of buildings that makes up this five-star, three-hectare establishment.

The owners, Franziska and Andreas Goebel, are a German couple, a fact reflected in the interior design of the rooms. While the rooms aren't decorated to reflect the historic nature of the property, they are beautifully and luxuriously appointed. We found some unexpected amenities...underfloor heating in the bath (which was tiled with black granite), the guest's cars washed daily, and a well-stocked minibar with fridge snuggled away in the side compartment of what could only be a custom-built desk.

The property includes a huge lily pond, the original dam has been converted into a koi pond (and those koi are HUGE!), a swimming pool and a jacuzzi, and a small private nature reserve that contains deer, zebra, and ostrich (http://www.rothmanmanor.co.za/). A few pics:

The lily pond
Honest...there is an ostrich in this picture!

The two little deer are a bit easier to find than the ostrich was.

These are the biggest koi I have ever seen!

To call the town of Swellendam "quaint" would be a gross understatement. The place is full of buildings two and three hundred years old, most of them in excellent repair and currently occupied. Rothman Manor has an oak tree more than 200 years old under which breakfast is served during appropriate weather.

After a good night's sleep and a hearty breakfast, we set off exploring and ended up at Cape Agulhas, the southern most point of land on the African continent. Next entry: the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet in front of a stunning Old World lighthouse.

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