A Perfect Weekend Getaway In Tulbagh
There is nothing I like more than a spontaneous invite for a weekend getaway. One such invite came in last year in November when a friend of mine invited me to his brother's farm house in a town called Tulbagh. I never had heard about this name before.
Tulbagh is your typical small town in Western Cape. The area was initially inhabited by Khoisan people, followed by Dutch and Huguenot settlers in the 18th century. There are Edwardian and Victorian houses in this area that date back to those times.
The town is located in the Land van Waveren basin as if it's in the center of a bowl. It'^s very close to the town called Ceres, one of the very few places in South Africa that get snow in winter.
Speaking of winter, Tulbagh has a strange and inventive tradition of celebrating a fake Christmas in July. Apparently, they must have realized that the Christmas they were celebrating in the middle of summer lacked the proper Xmas spirit.
We departed from Cape Town in early afternoon on Friday. It was the five of us. Me, my friend Pierre (whose brother owned the farm house) and three expats who were in Cape Town for NGO internship purposes.
The house was slightly outside of the town, so we first stopped by the town and strolled around the streets. The town, like many towns in Western Cape was inhabitated mainly by colored people (people of mixed race)
We were greeted by Juan's (Pierre's brother) three dogs. Isn't it interesting that the smallest one in size was the oldest one!
The house is next to a lake that I was a bit reluctant to swim in because of the frogs inside, but it was a really warm day so I finaly gave in.
We had braai in the evening with the meat we purchased on the way. (I will be talking about the concept of braai in a future post). In the meantime, Pierre prepared us cocktails with gin and MCC.
Of course, a weekend trip in the Western Cape could never be complete without a hike. Differently from my previous hikes, this wasn't done on a structured trail, which made it very challenging. We were literally jumping from one rock to another, walking among bushes with thornes stinging our legs. It was especially challenging for one of the expat girls named Cathy because she had a small bone fracture in one of her knees. Eventually, we were rewarded with stunning views of the basin.
As a bonus reward, we visited one of the many dams in the area. Apparently these dams were not being used by farmers because of the draught warning (although I might be wrong).
We travelled around at the back of Juan's bakkie, which reminded me of my childhood when I used to love sitting at the back of a truck whenever I visited my grandparents' village in Turkey.
In the evening, I was introduced to another traditional dish called Potjeikos, which contained meat and various vegetables being slow-cooked in a cast-iron pot. The one Juan and Pierre prepared was a pork potjeikos (Yes, I eat pork, big deal!!! :D ).
The next day started with one final dive into a dam. It was a refreshing feeling to be swimming in a water puddle with room temperature.
We were back in Cape Town towards Sunday evening with memories of delicate fresh-food, fresh air, fresh bubbly, not-so-fresh dam water and boardgames.
Have you been to this region? Drop me a comment below.