I spent the day driving past numerous wineries during harvest with the odor inviting me to pull over, but being a real lightweight I don’t drink and drive. Plus alcohol wouldn’t have mixed well with the curvy roads over three mountain passes, Du Toitskloof, Bain’s Kloof and Michell’s. Instead I was rocky mountain high and decided I wanted to stay at a vineyard or winery with a view of the mountains.
I stopped at the Ceres Info Center and told them what I was looking for. After several phone calls and no luck at a winery they found me a cottage at Rhodene Farm. By far one of the nicest places I stayed.
This house, and its matching neighbor, sits in a clearing surrounded by pear trees. Because I visited in March harvest was on and a bowl of sweet freshly picked pears sat waiting for me.
It was hard to believe all this space was for me alone and at a very moderate price.
I had picked up a pizza in town which I enjoyed on the back patio looking up at the mountains.
Going for a walk
Upon checking in I asked Liesel where I could watch sunset and she suggested the top of the dam, a small reservoir with high earthen walls.
Not being sure how far away it was I drove through orchards to the dam but could have easily walked.
It was like being up high yet in the bottom of a bowl surrounded by mountain ranges.
And as the sun dipped behind the peaks the last light painted slightly different hues on the towering walls that reflected back onto the dam.
I had the place to myself except for all the birds coming in to roost for the night including the noisy Hadedas.
Captain Dean laid out the original farm in the 1920s and named it after his daughter Rhoda. Then in 1951 the farm changed hands when it was given to Ray von Buddenbrock as a wedding present from her father. Her son, Ean is the present owner.
Rhodene Farm covers 370 acres (150 hectares) with about a fourth planted to mainly various varieties of pears as well as apples and peaches. Fruit picking goes on from the middle of December to the beginning of April so time your stay with fresh fruit in mind.
Ceres lies nestled in the Witzenberg Valley so access will be over some spectacular mountain pass no matter which direction you come from.
I could have lapped up this luxury for days or weeks but had more miles to drive as I headed to the west coast. So after breakfast with sunrise from the back patio I first took the recommended drive to the north up Gydo Pass which offered great views of the valley, then turned around and came back down just for the fun of it.
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