As a child I dreamed of climbing the Magic Faraway Tree to find a different world among its branches. Spending a night in a magical Speekhout tree house in the Baviaanskloof made me feel like a kid again with its crooked corners and mismatched colours, its secret garden below.
It seems to have grown organically, fitting around branches and not a straight line to be found. The windows are odd sizes and shapes, and a 10cm-thick polished plank of wood forms the table in the living room.
The tree house is not a place for those who freak out at sharing space with insects or a few creepy crawlies. You’re close to nature and nature claims right of way. A little striped mouse also came to visit us on its way from one tree branch to another, straight through the house which now stood in its way.
Have a braai in the garden, listen to birds like turtle doves and sombre greenbuls calling, sleep with the curtains open so you can peer out the window into the tree branches when you wake.
What to do
This is a wonderful place to kick back and do nothing but read a book, but if you’re feeling energetic there’s plenty to do.
- Bring your mountain bike and go riding in and around the kloof.
- Walk one of the trails on the farm. Some of them take you up the mountains for views over the valley, others to seasonal waterfalls and rivers.
- Take your binos on your ramble and look out for birds. You may even see tortoise, klipspringer or mountain reedbuck.
- Take a dip in the above-ground pool near the tree house to cool off in hot weather.
- If you’re keen on rock art, talk to the owners who can tell you where to find some.
- Visit the Baviaans Craft Shop nearby or enjoy tea and a roosterkoek at Vero’s Restaurant on the opposite side of the road (see Baviaanskloof’s unusual tea garden).
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