Living loud with Liezel

Living loud with Liezel

Bontebok National Park a great winter getaway spot

Liezel van der Westhuizen

By Liezel van der Westhuizen

Bontebok National Park a great winter getaway spot
A question I often get asked from my friends in Johannesburg is what can one do in the Western Cape during winter months, because according to them it is always raining here during winter.

Not sure where they get their weather updates from, but that’s the fun part of living here. There is always something to do that doesn’t involve shopping, which is what my Jozi friends seem to do every weekend. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy shopping as much as any other woman, but I also enjoy relaxing and exploring the Western Cape over the 48 hours that I call weekend.

Which is exactly what I did three weeks ago; I packed my bags and headed with Guy McDonald from Goodhope FM to Bontebok National Park just outside Swellendam. Stop right there. I know what you are thinking: was it a romantic weekend away? No, it was a weekend away with 10 other journalists. However Bontebok National Park has everything on offer to make it a romantic weekend getaway, not to mention that is only two hours outside of Cape Town.

Bontebok National Park was proclaimed in 1931 to protect the last 30 Bontebok left in the wild and it’s also the smallest of South Africa’s 20 National Parks. It is a place of beauty and charm, with the majestic Langeberg Mountains providing a picturesque backdrop and The Breede River providing an idyllic western border to the park. It offers guests scenery, bird watching, fishing, and a refreshing swimming spot (even in winter, but only for the brave). Visitors can also develop a cozy familiarity with the Park’s endless sights and sounds while on one of the various hiking trails, or on a winding bike trip. Furthermore, Bontebok provides its guests with an experience of South African culture. Connect to the people of the past and learn about how the Khoisan lived and changed through local history.

We made Bontebok National Park our base and used it to travel to the surrounding towns and explore the wine routes; wonderful restaurants and historic buildings of Swellendam and the surrounding areas. Swellendam has a variety of great restaurants; we ate rooster koek at Old Goal Coffee Shop and enjoyed dinner at De Vagebond. We explored the wine and brandy makers in the Troudow pass area along Cape Route 62, which showcases the many extras that this area has on offer. We even explored the village of Suurbrak, which has a few activities on offer including community guides for village walks and mountain hikes and the riverine areas offer great bird-watching opportunities.

This weekend trip was the perfect time to relax and forget about the busy hassle of the week that lay ahead. Despite it being winter, the warm welcome we received from the locals made the chills fade away. There are so many activities in that area and it’s the ideal getaway for 48 hours away with the entire family.