Wondering where to stay in the Baviaanskloof in the Eastern Cape? Would you like to sleep in a cave? Forget notions of dank, dark caves filled with smelly bats and sign up to sleep in a cave in the Baviaanskloof. If you’re like us, you won’t regret it.
That’s the joy of being at the Makkedaat Caves in the Baviaanskloof, about 50km from the Karoo town of Willowmore in the Eastern Cape.
So Boetie got busy with some rocks and wooden planks, creating a façade to enclose one of them. Beds and kitchen equipment soon followed. With a few hiccups in between while Boetie learnt what would or wouldn’t work, the couple was soon in business. Before long, the cave was proving so sought after that Boetie went walkabout in search of inspiration for another. And then another…
Dawid se Bak sleeps six and even has its own splash pool, while Alwynbak, which you reach via a 4x4 trail, has been left open to the elements in the east to give an uninterrupted view of mountains, stars and sunrises. Rounding out the list are Swaeltjie Nes, another two-sleeper 'honeymoon' cave, and Martiens Huis, which sleeps 4-6 and has electricity and an inside braai.
The sun is beating relentlessly against the ‘wall’ of the sitting area, but we soon discover that this wall is actually a roll-up awning that can be raised to let the breeze in. I imagine how someone might have left rock art on the back wall of the cave, although now, all these years later, it’s stained black. A small sign tells us the black stuff is dassie urine, but of course it’s been there so long it no longer smells so I’m quite happy to share digs with it.
Although the armchairs and duvet-covered beds, the gas hotplates and even the hot shower are mod cons that the old hunter-gatherers of yore wouldn’t have known what to do with, some stylish 21st century city folk might find all of this a little too rustic for their taste. But I love it for its very oddness, its unique sense of place that will be hard to forget
To find out more about this unusual Baviaanskloof accommodation, see www.makkedaat.co.za/index.htm. Just remember that if you want to book accommodation, it’s best to pick up the phone; e-mail in the Baviaanskloof is so unreliable and slow you’d do better to send a pigeon or a runner with a forked stick.
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