Authentic countryside experience: Nikalandershoek offers a quick weekend getaway option for city dwellers

BY TAMLYN MCMULLAN - MARCH 17, 2015

The Gamtoos Valley could just as well have been called the “Garden Route” of Port Elizabeth as it offers everything that makes a trip worthwhile; the scenery, beauty, charm and lack of city-life ruckus.

Nestled in the heart of the Valley, amongst the seemingly never ending rows of citrus orchards, a mere 86 km from the Friendly City, on the banks of the Gamtoos River with the Cockscomb Mountains serving as backdrop, Nikalandershoek Guest Cottage provided the perfect setting for myself and a friend to recharge our batteries following a rather hectic start to the new year.

Located 3.5 km from Patensie, Nikalandershoek doubles-up as gateway to the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve, and is the perfect base for exploring the area’s bird-and wildlife offerings. In addition, it is also within reach of the Kouga Dam, Bergvenster (window in the mountain) natural arch, 4x4 trails, local game reserves, historical sites as well as the famed Tolbos Country Shop and Restaurant.

Having been mesmerised by our surroundings and the orchard-lined road leading up to Nikalandershoek, we met up with owner Nichola Uys, who made sure that all our requirements had been met before showing us to our cottage for the night.

While Nikalandershoek is a working citrus farm, we were happy to find that our two-bedroom self-catering cottage was fully-equipped and sporting an outside braai facility and wooden-deck, metres from the banks of the Gamtoos River.

After exploring the farm and wandering through the citrus orchards, we ended up on the deck of our cottage, where we topped the day off with a few sundowners.

The following day, we awoke feeling more refreshed than either of us has had been in some time – I guess living in the city takes its toll on the body and spirit. Nikalandershoek is an experience that you hope never ends; unfortunately, we had to say our goodbyes that same morning.

There is no doubt I will be escaping back to this haven very soon. To make the most of this getaway, it is highly recommend that you bring along binoculars, a torch for night-time strolls, hiking shoes, a good book and swimwear in summer.

To experience true country hospitality or to find out more about Nikalandershoek Guest Cottage, call 083 556 3206 or visit www.nikalandershoek.co.za today!