TRAVEL

En route to Naries, a luxurious country retreat in SA’s Northern Cape

Having just stayed at the Hippo Boutique Hotel in Gardens, Cape Town, for one night, we’re greeted with a light drizzle the next morning as we check out of the hotel and make our way to Naries Namakwa Retreat in the Northern Cape, a member of Cape Country Routes.

The N7 beckons us, and, snugged at the back of our Ford Everest, I rest my tired eyes for a little while.

Being from a small settlement along the West Coast, I’ve ventured down this road plenty of times, yet, today, I’m off on a new adventure.

Ready, set, go – en route to Naries

We stop for some hearty breakfast and coffee at a quaint little farm stall called Desert Rose along the N7. We feast and admire the quirky décor and gifts. With our tummies filled, we get back on the road, eager to reach our destination.

Our breakfast stop at Desert Rose – look at all the number plates!

After about 7 hours on the road, we arrive at Naries, and are greeted by assistant manager, Bianca Bezuidenhout, in the friendliness that so epitomises the people of the Northern Cape.

She shows us around the elegant Cape Dutch-style Manor House, which consists of five luxurious en-suite bedrooms, before we head out to explore the exquisite thatched Mountain Suites.

Perched on a hill, the exterior reminds me of little hobbit burrows and, upon entering, I escape into a world of luxury. The suites are beautifully designed, with gorgeous and tasteful African touches. The spacious bedrooms flow out to expansive private decks, from where you can take in the picturesque views of the farm – perfect for sundowners on sizzling summer evenings.

All checked in, we have the afternoon at leisure before having pre-dinner drinks at the Gemsbok lapa where general manager, Julene Joubert shares a bit more about the history of Naries.

From anecdotes to how the Spektakel Mountains got its name, to quipping (or was she?) about a family of leopards living just beyond the hills… we listen attentively to history of the formation of this gorgeous setting.

We head to dinner just as the sun is setting, hues of orange and pink like swathes on an artist’s canvas. The stillness and serenity of Naries quiet my own spirit, and I count myself blessed to share in this moment with my fellow travellers.

At dinner we are spoilt for choice: from scrumptious starters to mouthwatering mains – the menu at Naries is carefully planned, prepared and served, and caters for all dietary requirements.

After a wonderful night of repartee, my fellow travellers and I call it a day, and head off to bed.

A new day

Breakfast the next morning is a beautiful affair.

We dine at leisure before part of the group embark on a 10 km hike around the farm. I, as indolent as they come, and a fellow traveller opt for lounging around the pool before we join the rest of our companions for a gorgeous picnic and some chilled wine at the lookout point.

En route we are enthralled to see a bevy of gemsbok in the distance.

Naries started a programme in 1999 to re-establish indigenous antelope, and although still busy with the rehabilitation process, is home to about 50 gemsbok, 40 springbok and a number of klipspringer.

The wind at the lookout point is strong and gusty, but the views of the farm and breathtaking Spektakel Mountains bring about a quiet ease. We kuier for a bit, all the while indulging in our delicious wraps and treats, before heading back to our respective lodging.

We have the afternoon free, and I spend mine exploring the Manor House and the surrounding grounds. There’s a quiet comfort to be found here – it is a much-welcomed break from the hustle and bustle of city life. A daydreamer by nature, I revel in this stillness.

I observe my last colourful bursts of rays at Naries, as the sun and dust settle in the distance, before joining the rest of the group for supper.

Farewell, tot weer siens

The next morning I wake up reluctantly, knowing that I will have to leave this enchanting place.

We pack our bags in our Ford Everest and bid farewell to the friendly staff. My experience at Naries – more than a retreat or a mere getaway destination – will stay with me for many years to come.

I arrived here a little unsettled – what, with the current state of life and the world being as it is – but leave refreshed and completely replenished.

I take in one last look of my surrounds before bidding it farewell.

I am determined to visit again soon.

Accommodation options

The Manor House

Rates include dinner, bed & breakfast.

Family self-catering chalets

Two luxury Cape country-style cottages with top-quality finishes. Ideal for families travelling together as well as those who love to self-cater.

Mountain Suites

State-of-the-art, private, romantic and luxurious (dinner, bed & breakfast package)

Book your stay

Naries – a hallmark Cape Country Routes property – is an establishment that is renowned for its variety of comfortable accommodation; delicious, world-class meals; warm-hearted hospitality and friendly staff. 

Receive 20% off your stay if you book now until January 2021.

Bookings can be made at bookings@capecountryroutes.com or by visiting www.capecountryroutes.com.

Lead image credit: Theresa Gibbon

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