This season we did not hold back, with not only welcoming families from all over for camping, glamping & cabin accommodation. We went into top gear with renovations and building 4 brand new AfriCamp tents.
#1 EIGHT NEW AFRICAMP GLAMPING TENTSCOMING SOON
One of our 4 new tents completed, we welcome for our first guests.
#2 KAM’BATI RIVER RESORT ENTRANCE
We made sure that you cannot miss the turn off to Kam’Bati, only 20km from Swellendam & 40km away from Riviersonderend. We can’t wait to welcome you with us.
#3 SMALL UPGRADES TO OUR CABINS
Our four sleeper cabins received a little upgrade, just enough to make you feel home, away from home! With a beautiful scenery of the langeberg mountains.
BOOK YOUR STAY
Come and sink into one of our wood fired hot tubs or simply
soak up the golden sunset from one of our extended decks.
Camping season is officially open so if ‘fancy camping’ is not your thing we still offer the best river side sites next to the mighty Breede River.
Life truly is more fun next to the camp fire at Kam’Bati
I first discovered Swellendam when looking for accommodation for the wacky wine festival a few years back this picturesque town is not too far out of Robertson which meant just a 40 hour minute drive into each of the wineries for the festival.
Sadly, during our wacky wine stay we naturally out most of the day exploring nearby wineries and not making the most of what I now know of Swellendam
Where to Eat in Swellendam?
When I got the opportunity to revisit whether it was as a over pitstop towards the garden route or as a destination in itself I discovered gorgeous places to eat such as Field and Fork. Which is right next to the tourism and information offices of Swellendam and walking distance from our accommodation Moffids Place.
This part of town seems to be the hub for good food, local wine and shopping in the area. With this in mind though, I would advise that the town is geared more towards spending time relaxing at your accommodation and with friends and family perhaps having a braai rather than heading out into the town.
There are a few coffee shops in this area. Ikigai being one of my favourites. They make an incredible cappuccino and the breakfast are ofgood quality. There’s also a Honey/Bee shop that sells all things related to bees honey from beauty products through to cooking and home items anything related to bees can be found here.
Accommodation in Swellendam?
My accommodation when I last visited Swellendam was part of the curated “group” of accommodation in the vicinity run by the OENA escape’s portfolio.
This is a group of boutique countryside properties are owned and operated by a husband and wife team. They created a portfolio of homes and historical buildings in and around Langeberg area which include destinations – Rotterdam Boutique Hotel in Swellendam ( https://www.oena.co.za/rotterdam-boutique-hotel/ )
The latter being where I recently spent 48 hours on my last visit to Swellendam
About Moffid’s Place
Moffid’s Place is a four-bedroom home tucked away at the hillside just a stone’s throw away from a stud farm with beautiful paddocks and mountain views. The peaked house is positioned along the riverbed which whistles with it’s trees and waterworks as you arrive in the gardens just adjacent to the River.
There is a plunge pool which I imagine, in summer makes for the perfect afternoon doing not much else then sipping some local wines from neighbouring farms like Sijnn Wines, Joubert-Tradauw, Zanvliet and gorgeous bubbly from Bon Courage.
We stayed in a ground floor room with the house exclusively booked for our stay and us.
From what I could tell there were four rooms that make up Moffid’s Place.
One bedroom situated on the ground floor next to the communal lounge area, library and three upstairs. As mentioned, we were lucky enough during lockdown to have had the place to ourselves and were allowed to roam the public areas freely.
There’s a beautiful indoor fireplace with old cigar lounge-type furniture and gorgeous antiques which would be perfect for a family weekend away. I dreamed up large lunches as there is a kitchen on-site as well this is very industrial looking and would be more than sufficient for a 7+ night stay should you book Moffid’s Place in its entirety
Our home for our sojourn was mere walking distance from some of the best eateries in Swellendam as well as the High Street that I mentioned offering cafes and shopping. We braved this on a very rainy day thinking that it was a short walk and we wouldn’t get too wet. We were ere very much mistaken and found ourselves spending almost two hours at the cafe waiting for the storm to pass. What’s that adage?
“Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass but learning to dance in the rain”
This is precisely what we did. Never to have left the confines of our comforting cottage until utterly imperative i.e the day of our departure.
A beautiful estate with a rich history, Jan Harmsgat Country House is located on the R60 highway, just off the N2. A haven of historic charm, the property boasts a 5-Star guest house, a fine-dining restaurant and an on-site spa.
During our weekend we were accommodated at Mardouw, but we were equally able to spend time enjoying the picturesque Jan Harmsgat. We had most of our meals at the restaurant, enjoyed a farm tour on the back of a 4×4 vehicle, sampled the estates wine and Mardouw’s olive oils in a tasting and indulged in spa treatments at the gorgeous OENA spa space.
Our first outing at Jan Harmsgat was a tour of the working parts of the farm. We were collected for our farm 4×4 at our door at Mardouw and hopped on the back to enjoy a visit to the pomegranate orchards that Jan Harmsgat is most well known for being one of the top pomegranate exporters in South Africa.
The 680-hectare working farm also is home to hand-picked cultivars that make up the single-block JHG Wines. On our return to the estate’s historical hub we enjoyed sampling these with a wine tasting under the shade of a grove of pecan nut trees! Bliss on a hot summer’s day!
The tranquil country setting that surrounds all of Jan Harmsgat offers the opportunity to take things slowly and we really enjoyed the fact that we didn’t have to venture far all weekend – enjoying all our delicious meals in the relaxed, yet upmarket Just Amy’s restaurant.
We enjoyed breakfast and lunch on the terrace and dinner in the cosy dining room space that has an authentic country ambience reminiscent of its’ rich history.
All our meals were incredible and the service world-class. This little gem of a country restaurant is definitely worth a visit even if you’re passing through the area or staying nearby!
The estate offers beautiful outdoor spaces allowing guests to spread out and enjoy nature. There’s a gorgeous pool with luxe loungers to relax on, abundant walking, hiking and biking trails as well as the cutest little pomegranate “pod” – perfect for a lazy afternoon of reading!
A highlight of our time at Jan Harmsgat was our visit to the on-site spa located in one of the historical staff cottages on the estate. Beautifully renovated, the spa opened in late 2020 and has already become popular with locals and visitors alike.
The space is serene with splashes of soothing green to calm the soul and a gently atmosphere. Our therapist treated us each to 30mins of magic with a back, neck and shoulder massage that certainly felt longer than half an hour!
Visitors to the Oena spa at Jan Harmsgat can book individual treatments or day packages that include lunch at Just Amy’s as well as access to the pool and the opportunity to linger longer on the estate.
Our time at Jan Harmsgat was brief, yet beautiful – and we certainly left with a desire to return soon…
Bookings for Jan Harmsgat are made through Oena Escapes
The past few days at Jan Harmsgat is exactly what we needed. The 5-star country estate delivers on every level of farm life, natural beauty and absolute relaxation.
The estate is nestled beneath the Langeberg Mountain range, boasting 1000 hectares of pomegranate orchards, pecan groves, and single block vineyards. The perfect setting for our sunset safari farm drive, exclusive wine tasting and topped off with a delicious dinner by Chef Josh at Just Amy. Chef Josh and his beautiful French wife, Christelle are the dynamic duo behind the restaurant Just Amy on JHG. Named after Amy Kleinhans (who won Miss SA in 1992) who now owns the estate. Every meal was absolutely delicious, the children loved it all too! It is such an incredibly exquisite setting dining under the pecan trees.
I highly recommend booking yourself a treatment at the Oena Spa. Grant and I both had the full body massage with Anke and it was absolute heaven! The only problem is that I never wanted to leave!
We were actually meant to go for a romantic weekend away, sans children.. but we ended up taking the kiddies with. We all had such a wonderful time together exploring the farm, swimming, tanning and reading at the pool (something I don’t get to do enough of). My ultimate break involves sunshine, swimming and relaxing at a pool or ocean so this definitely ticked all the boxes for me. JHG really is perfect for a romantic getaway, family holiday or even a fun girls trip!
I’d even recommend driving through for Sunday lunch. It’s about 2 hours leisurely drive from Cape Town, just outside of Swellendam. The Overberg is definitely a region that I am going to be exploring more of. Its wonderful to experience the gorgeous gems that our country has to offer, to support locals (they need it more than ever after the craziest year) and spend quality time with loved ones. A weekend away really does wonders for the body, mind and soul!
A very special thank you to Francois, the manager at JHG, who literally does it all!
This past year has meant many changes, not least of which has been the curtailing of travel – a great passion for many. Not being permitted to travel has only exacerbated the feeling of being trapped.
Fortunately, now we are no longer on Lockdown Level 5, we are permitted to travel locally again and in the past few months I’ve been taking advantage every chance I can to escape and rediscover the great wide world – well, the South African parts of it!
While international travel may be a long way off, local travel is no longer cancelled! And that is great news. There are so many beautiful places to discover within the boundaries of our beloved country.
Too many South Africans go on the same local holiday year in and year out, forgetting to explore and discover new hidden gems and secret places that this country is full of.
We recently discovered a beautiful new part of the country and spent a weekend enjoying the splendour of the region off the R60 road near Swellendam.
This road stretches between Ashton and Swellendam and is bordered by a majestic mountain range. The verdant valley beneath these soaring peaks are abundant with vines, orchards and pastures.
After a 3 hour drive from Cape Town, we arrived as the sun was bathing the entire area in the beautiful glow of golden hour – and it was the most wonderful warm welcome!
Our accommodation was Mardouw Country House, a gorgeous house located on a working olive farm just outside Swellendam.
After dropping our bags in our large suite, we settled on the large covered patio overlooking the pool and enjoyed our “takeaway” meal courtesy of Just Amy’s restaurant located at neighbouring Jan Harmsgat.
After a deep sleep in our cocoon of a room, we awoke early (our own doing!) to discover the incredible peace of the place.
We swung the doors wide to fully appreciate the beautiful birdsong and gentle morning light, sipping coffee in our robes, reading and enjoying a slow start to the day.
Once again we ordered breakfast from Just Amy’s and were able to enjoy it while overlooking the rolling hills of olive groves, imagining we were back in Tuscany!
In fact, the whole stay at Mardouw felt very much like we were enjoying a weekend in an incredible “Italian villa”
That’s just the thing about travel in South Africa – there are so many corners of the country that can transport you to another place. The West Coast could be Greece, Cape Town could be California, the Drakensberg – Scotland, the Midlands – England, Knysna – the island of Capri.
Our time at Mardouw Country House definitely had more than a hint of Italy about it – the olive trees, the views, the large rim-flow pool, the wide patio, the luxury of space.
This large “villa-style” accommodation is idyllic for private parties or group accommodation. The house has five suites and can accommodate up to 10 people. Resident staff are available to cater for culinary and housekeeping needs.
Accommodation is offered in double rooms, deluxe suites and superior suites and the rooms are fully equipped with double or twin beds, an en-suite bathroom, a mini bar, safe, telephone, internet, DVD player, TV (DStv), hairdryer, tea and coffee making facilities, robes, slippers, heated towel rails and complimentary toiletries. Each room has its’ own balcony with incredible views of the Langeberg Mountains while the deluxe suites offer a lounge with fireplace and a private vine-covered veranda.
While spending time here we certainly felt it would make a great getaway for a family gathering or a group of friends. The house can be rented in its’ entirety for R10 000 per night (accommodation only) so if you’re looking for an intimate big birthday celebration with your nearest and dearest it could be a great option!
That being said, we spent time here connecting as a couple and loved it!
The privacy and peace were priceless. We lounged around the pool, read our books in the shade, spent time chatting, napped and relaxed with no interruptions or demands. Pure bliss!
When we found we’d had enough quiet, quality time we ventured out – but not too far! (In fact we barely got in our car all weekend which made it feel much longer than just 2 days.)
At Mardouw there are plenty of walking, hiking and biking trails as well as a golf driving range but we chose to head over to the neighbouring estate, Jan Harmsgat, to fully appreciate an authentic country ambience on this historical estate.
We took a tour of their pomegranate orchard, a wine tasting in the pecan grove and an indulgent spa treatment at their on-site spa. Olive oil tasting as well as tours of the olive making process can be arranged. But more about our time there in the next post!
While South Africa is currently in lockdown we want to ensure our guests that we are doing everything in our power to use this time to deep clean our properties and putting prosedures in place to keep you safe while staying with us at any one of our properties and estates.
We have put the following procedures in place accross all our properties to ensure your safety while staying with us.
Hand sanitizer at all basins
Our bedding are washed in warm water
We offer a ‘self check-in’ option
Staff adheres to social distancing from guests
Our staff all wear gloves and masks
All surfaces in our rooms are disinfected
Shopping service available
Isolation vacations available
Self-catering units available
Access to medical care
Move your existing booking to any date after 17 April and before 30 September 2020 and get one Free Night during your stay.
Subject to your unit being available and only valid for existing bookings.
When your boss poses the question: “Let’s find a sustainable solution for welcoming guests instead of leaving something on the stack of towels that simply wilts and dies”, You think – why didn’t I ever question this …
Our creative team came up with a solution over night that got all of us excited – we now leave a Spekboom cutting with note including planting instructions as part of our welcome gift – from our garden to yours.
Since we rolled the concept out to all our properties in the OENA group – others have followed and we welcome this whole heartedly.
Our proud moment is that we were the first and imitation is the best form of flattery – and in this case we are all working towards the greater good for our planet.
So why Spekboom (also
called Elephants food)? Because it has an exceptional ability to remove large
amounts of carbon dioxide from the air and convert it to oxygen.
Did you know that one hectare of Spekboom can average 4.2 tons of carbon dioxide annually to oxygen?
In this respect it is up to 10 times more effective per hectare than a tropical rainforest. Isn’t that astounding!
Best of all is the fact that the Spekboom is easy to propagate: simply stick your cutting in a garden bed, water every few days and soon enough you will have one of these versatile carbon-munchers happily growing in your garden.
We know how daunting it can be to pack, plan and execute a family holiday without any hiccups. Therefore we have put together this handy list of our top 5 tips for parents travelling with kids of all ages.
#1 Easy does it
Be flexible and leave enough time for check ins, boarding and getting to activities and destinations. Things will go wrong and there will be unplanned bathroom breaks. Just go with the flow and don’t put too much pressure on yourself or the family to stick with a strict timeline.
#2 Game plan
Talk your kids through the trip. They will be much more secure and cooperative if they know exactly what’s coming next. Most importantly – make it fun! Teach them travel games like ‘I spy with my little eye’.
#3 Entertainment and snacks
Pack one bag of toys that you know keeps the little ones
busy so they have something to play with in the car or on the plane. Tablets
are great to stream some of their favorite shows, educational episodes or
movies but try to keep a balance by also letting them enjoy the view and the
Make sure to pack snacks for young and old as we all get grumpy if we are hungry. Keep it healthy and remember the beverages to keep them hydrated.
#4 Do your homework
Be sure to book accommodation that is child friendly and has
activities that tickles their interest. Some resorts like Kam’Bati has a children’s
entertainer and holiday programs that is perfect for the little ones and to
give parents some much needed time off to recharge.
AfriCamps at Kam’Bati offer guests the camping experience with all the luxuries of home and children are encouraged to do a scavenger hunt on the river trail with parents. Once they have finished the hunt, they return their bag of found treasures to reception and get a free round of putt-putt as reward!
Other activities at the resort includes water slides,
swimming pools, canoe, fishing (catch and release) and a chance to experience
farm life on the banks of the Breede River.
Uitkyk and Diamant Farmhouses also gives families access to these activities at Kam’Bati River Resort.
#5 Just in case
Pack your basic medical aid kit for the kids. You never know
what could happen and might need a cartoon plaster to fix.
Wet wipes are standard for fixing most messes, spills and
other thrills. Try and buy the biodegradable type that are more gentle on the
Extra set of clothes are also a must as you can’t always predict the weather at your destination or on the trip. It can also happen that a muddy puddle gets explored while on a bathroom break. Pack for all these worst case scenarios so that you don’t have to get upset over dirty children.
Most of all, have fun. Make memories and take lots of
pictures! There is nothing more precious than spending time with family.
We all want to do more for our
environment and the preservation of our planet. Therefore we have compiled a
easy guide with a few guidelines on what to pack and how to camp without
leaving your mark.
with the basics
When packing your food for the trip, plan ahead. Use glass containers instead of plastic and avoid all plastic packaging as they only end up in the trash and ultimately in our landfills.
It’s not always easy, especially if you have children on the trip,
but be mindful and try and buy food items in bulk that then can be stored in
#2 Re-use, re-use, re-use
“The lowest-impact product is often the one that already exists. Before buying a new piece of gear, consider buying used gear, renting your gear or repairing the gear you do have. “The longer you can keep a product in use, the longer you’re avoiding the impact that new products have on the environment,” source – rei.com
#3 Trash –
Bring along at least two reusable trash bags for your camping trip. One for disposable items and the other for recycling.
Leave your stand the way you found it by doing a clean sweep and leaving it in a better condition.
You could make a game out of it and involve the entire family to
make it fun and encourage responsible behavior with your children.
At Kam’Bati River Resort we encourage our campers to do just this by having introduced our 10% credit on your next stay initiative for campers that use their own solar panels and leave no trace by removing their own rubbish from the farm.
Read more on other upgrades and green initiatives in our previous
blog post called What’s new at Kam’Bati?
This might be something we don’t always think of but did you know that body products like insect repellent, suntan lotion and even makeup can be harmful to the environment especially if it lands up in our Rivers and Dams – especially if it is water soluble?
Check the packaging before adding it to your suitcase. We only
want products that are not harmful on you and in our river.
We found a lovely range called ‘Trek and Travel’ that might the answer. Have a look at our
shopping section below.
#5 Let it shine
By using solar items and re-chargeable batteries you are also doing your bit by helping us get off the grid.
Solar energy is a non-polluting source of energy unlike fossil
fuels and doesn’t release any greenhouse gases when producing electricity.
Therefore it is a renewable source that is sustainable.
Retailers like Cape Union
Mart and Take-a-lot stock a wide
range of solar items that is perfect for enthusiastic campers with a green
Green products we love and would recommend for campers and outdoor
KURO-Bo Go-Eco Glass Water Bottle – The KURO-Bo Go-Eco Glass Water Bottle is your new “forever bottle” – the perfect ultra-portable, reusable, non-toxic and economical alternative to single-use plastic.