They’re wacky, wonderfully original and sometimes just a little bit weird. Fun-tasy family sleepovers reign supreme in the quirky Western Cape province.
Requiring little more than an imagination to match the environment they’re in, adventurous accommodation can be experienced in all sorts of Cape vegetation and terrain, including mountains and forest.
Doing your stay differently includes taking bedroom “fights” to new fun levels in a boxing ring-cum-bed; emulating Robinson Crusoe’s family at a treetop eco-resort; and waking up in a Voortrekker-styled wagon of yore.
Wagons on the move
Snooze while literally on the move in a replica of an 1800s horse-drawn wagon, courtesy of the Cape Town Carriage Company. If the rhythmic clip-clopping overcomes you, your double bed in the wagon’s interior with its neon lighting provides a soft landing.
Expect to see the farmland sights in slow motion on your Overberg wagon meander. As in the days of the Groot Trek, you’ll stop frequently to ensure the horses rest.
By night, the wagon’s canvas cover is rolled down and your home-on-wheels rounded up into a laager. Don’t expect time out to contemplate your navel because the entire family is expected to muck in with chores such as chopping wood and making a potjie. You’ll be rewarded later at the fireside with yarns you’ve never heard before.
The Mills & Boon trailer at The Old Mac Daddy resort.
It’s all about the journey and not the destination; women “voortrekkers” test their horse-riding, whip-cracking and fire-making skills and men learn how to boil water in a paper bag and feel like a pioneer in mastering the art of wagon-riding.
Wacky old Mac Daddy
You won’t master any art at Elgin’s Old Mac Daddy resort, but you’ll be tickled pink by the playfulness and creative designs of artists.
Nestled in pine forest, each Airstream caravan is individually decked out in a theme matching its name. Variously, you could experience the exotic, the humorous, the mysterious, the fantastical and the nostalgic, among others.
Play at being “trailer trash” in the all-pink, kitsch Mills & Boon with its Twin Peaks-type elements. Called the “best powder puff of a pulp fiction trailer”, with mirrors everywhere – including the interior’s roof – narcissists won’t know where to look first. Mills & Boon books could help to stave off boredom.
Natural-born snoops will gravitate to the Yellow Submarine’s vinyl interior. Plot your course using the working telescope and the underlit ocean floor-cum-chart table and imitate Austin Powers and Vanessa Kensington on a spy mission.
The Dirkie Sanchez caravan.
Is role-playing in the bedroom your bag? Then the Dirkie Sanchez caravan is for you. A “boxing ring” bed roped off with satin cords is where you can “tussle … as you grunt and groan until you score”.
On your next round make use of the wrestler costumes provided. WWW Smackdown won’t have a patch on your antics.
Indulging in fantasies extends to the specially constructed “beach”, complete with cocktail bar at the (dam) water’s edge.
In contrast, at Teniqua Treetops outside Sedgefield you’ll find nothing but reality. The owners insist on living in green integrity and even encourage clients to go elsewhere if they can’t appreciate that Mother Earth comes first here.
Surrounded by yellowood, ironwood and milkwood trees and tame rescue horses used as lawnmowers, you won’t need to be a happy hippy to enjoy life in your unique, hand-built cabin with its recycled windows.
Tarzan and Jane-style swinging from the forest’s treetops is verboten. Instead, you’ll enjoy drinking harvested, sweet rainwater. Showers are open to the forest – and voyeuristic animals – with water coming from the Karatara River below you where you can also swim. Ditto the old cattle drinking point, now a pool.
If you’re even slightly fascinated by living green, waste from the dry toilet system becomes compost for trees. A surface layer of leaves accelerates the process.
Wagon Weekends cost R6000 a weekend wagon adventure for four people, including meals. Contact: 021 704 6907 or 082 575 5669. Email: [email protected]
Old Mac Daddy trailers cost R975 (during the week) or R1 595 (on weekends) a night and this includes breakfast. Contact : 021 844 0241. Email: [email protected]
Teniqua Treetops costs from R1 060 for two people to R3 000 a night for six, depending on cabin size and season. Self-catering. Contact: 044 356 2868. Email: [email protected]