Keeping it country in Hemel en Aarde Valley cottages

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WHEN staying in the country, it’s perfectly acceptable for there to be animals involved. In fact, it should be compulsory to, at the very least, have a resident cat; more if possible. Dogs…yeah, okay. But cats, definitely.

Upon arrival at Hemel en Aarde Cottages (can you guess where?), I was boisterously greeted by two dogs (light brown ones, is the best I can do). Cats, being naturally more aloof, strolled into the picture at their own pace, with one first posing artistically on a log before sauntering over to my car, then climbing in to give it a thorough once-over. I was delighted and said to owner Sharon Thompson I would not be checking for stowaways before I left, and if the cat made it back to Cape Town with me, then so be it. Haha joking, I thought I’d better add before she thought I was planning on kidnapping the kitty.

The property is at the foot of the Babylonstoren Mountain and the Onrus River flows through  it. Sharon suggested I go for a walk in the morning (I’d arrived just before dusk), which I did. Apparently there’s a small labyrinth out there in Nature, but I didn’t find it. I was content to stroll around, trying out different paths and forks, turning around when the ground suddenly became marshy and too attached to my takkies.

I crossed what I assume was the Onrus River several times as I meandered through the fynbos, and encountered several joggers. The little grey pooch from the main house suddenly appeared and joined me for the rest of the walk. Even though it was unlikely even I could get lost, I relinquished control to the dog and followed her. Some days you need to do that.

There is accommodation for one or two people, up to groups of six, in the different cottages. Sharon is there to welcome you, but after that she’ll leave you to get on with it. The folder in the cottage gives plenty of information about wine farms in the area, and Hermanus itself is about 15 minutes’ drive away.

I stayed in the one-bedroom cottage, which is obviously smaller than the others but still spacious. It has two bathrooms, an open plan kitchen and lounge, and a large stoep shaded by bamboo. You can make a braai outside, and inside is a small stove type fireplace (which goes through a lot of wood so make sure you have plenty if you’re a fire maniac like me). There’s a TV but it’s not connected to DStv; you can bring your HDMI cable if you want to watch your streaming content via your own device.

If you’re lucky, the cat might come visit if you leave a window open. For more information, click here.

PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©

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