Yearning for a weekend glamping somewhere in the country where you can enjoy panoramic views, gourmet meals, and romantic hot tubbing, even active mountain biking or hiking? Canvas Collective Africa in the greater Hemel en Aarde Valley between Caledon and Stanford in the Western Cape might be just the place.
Everything in this off-the-grid posh tenting destination is intended to touch the earth lightly. They can pull up sticks from one venue and relocate the whole shebang to another without leaving a permanent imprint. And they’ve done exactly that – more than once. The Canvas Collective Africa luxury tented camp was originally set up in Bot River, then spent a while at a spot in the Cederberg. Now owners Dez Lundy and Samara Stern have a five-year contract at Glen Oakes Farm in the Hemel en Aarde Valley. Find it off the R320 in the Overberg, just a two-hour drive from Cape Town.
You’ll stay in one of ten tents accessed down mulched paths lined by rocks. Although the walls and roof of your tent are canvas and this is billed as luxury camping, or glamping, the facilities are what you might expect to find in a boutique hotel.
Inside you’ll find wall-to-wall carpeting, a king-sized bed, a coffee station with snacks and a Nespresso machine, a mini fridge, cotton towelling robes and slippers, and aromatic eco-friendly toiletries in the en suite bathroom. There are double basins with hot and cold running water, a rain shower, and flushing loo.
I can promise you won’t go hungry at Canvas Collective Africa, with its Field Kitchen claimed to be ‘South Africa’s first truly mobile fine dining restaurant’. As far as possible, ingredients are sourced locally.
Start the day with fruit, yoghurt and muesli, as well as croissants, muffins (I made a pig of myself on moist bite-sized lemon poppyseed muffins), and cheeses. Keep space for a cooked breakfast afterwards, with eggs Benedict featuring on the menu.
It might be of interest to know that the kitchen is equipped to cook kosher food for groups. One of the owners is Jewish, so she knows what she’s doing and has put in a lot of work with the chef and kitchen staff to get the finer details of kashrut and food preparation right.
Romantic weekend, anyone?
Just two hours from Cape Town, Canvas Collective Africa makes a super weekend getaway. Celebrate a birthday or other special occasion, or take a romantic weekend with your significant other. While we were there, the staff pulled out all the stops with bubbly and breakfast at the hot tub for a marriage proposal that went really well. For Valentine’s Day, there’s a special menu too.
- Have a slap-up breakfast delivered to your tent for breakfast in bed.
- Sip a cocktail on the deck at sunset, or end the day with some bubbly at the dam’s jetty.
- Ask for a private picnic lunch set out somewhere on the farm just for you.
- Spend time in the hot tub with a view over farmland, fynbos and mountains, perhaps with some snacks and cocktails if it’s a special occasion.
- Relax on the double sunbed under a canopy near the hot tub.
- Lounge around the fire pit after supper to enjoy the flickering flames while sipping a glass of brandy or cup of after-dinner coffee. Admire the prickle of stars through the trees.
- Finish a fabulous evening with a Lindt chocolate left on your pillow after turn-down.
If it’s not a romantic weekend (see above for romantic activities), what else can you do here other than relax and recharge in attractive surroundings? All the activities below are included in the price of your tented accommodation.
- Swim or go stand-up paddle boarding on the dam.
- Go fishing at the dam.
- Swim in the pool.
- Bring your mountain bike and ride to your heart’s content along the farm tracks and surrounding gravel roads.
- Set out on a walking trail with a guide. Depending on your energy level, choose from a 30min, 45min or 110min walk.
- Enjoy a hands-on afternoon activity with the chef in the open-plan kitchen. Depending on what she has planned, it might be gnocchi making or bread making.
- Eat to your heart’s content. See more above about the delicious food you can expect.
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