As a family we always enjoy getting away into the country… nothing beats fresh country air, quality time and beautiful surroundings. The last few weeks have been emotionally draining for so many reasons – personal and political – and so when we had the chance to head out of town for the weekend to AfriCamps at Doolhof near Wellington recently it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Despite skipping the traffic, I still arrived feeling exhausted. For the first time in my travels I arrived depleted. I usually arrive full of energy, excited to tackle a full itinerary of pre-planned things to do and places to go. This time, not so much!
We arrived at the Doolhof Wine Estate, where the AfriCamps glamping tents, are based to overcast weather and threatening rain (not so Spring-like!) and I was only too grateful to head inside our cosy tent, stoke the fire and take out my book for a relaxing night in.
My boys had other plans.
As soon as they spotted the outdoor wood-fired hot tub they were game to get it going… My thoughts were “Guys, are you crazy? It’s 5pm, getting dark and drizzly not to mention that it is freezing cold!” But what does a mom know, right?? The immediately got to work stoking the “donkey” and getting the water warmed up. This process takes approximately 2 hours. I figured it was a waste of time and wood as there was no ways I would be jumping into my swimming costume at 7pm. HAHA. I was proved entirely wrong. After a few hours the lifted off the covering to reveal steaming water hot enough to scald. With some “cauldron” stirring we finally got the temperature to the right level and then ALL of us proceeded to jump into our swim stuff and soak in the loveliest hot bath we’ve ever had…. warm water, starry skies, fine drizzle on our faces, fir tree horizons and amazing memories. I felt transported to another time and place…. possibly Scandinavia… I’ve never been, but this felt like what it would feel like to be there (albeit without the snow)
For the rest of the weekend we wallowed… and allowed our stresses and strains to be washed away. (Be warned, the water doesn’t stay so clean when you share it with little people so may be rather use it at night when you can’t see the floating matter!!)
Glamping Through The Seasons
AfriCamps has 9 different sites around South Africa (soon to be 11!). Their glamping tents can be booked throughout the year and they are the perfect base from which to explore the surrounding areas.
Over holidays and popular long weekends the camps do get booked up well in advance so make sure you are ahead of the pack and plan ahead a little! Their easy online bookings on their site makes it really simple to secure your spot!
Accommodation at AfriCamps at Doolhof, Wellington
AfriCamps at Doolhof near Wellington offers a relaxing, affordable country experience on a working farm in an area known for its amazing mountain biking and hiking trails and incredible wineries.
The glamping accommodation is surrounded by vineyards, the Kromme River and glorious mountain views.
This spot is a great base from which to explore the beautiful natural surroundings, the pretty town of Wellington and all that is on offer in the area.
AfriCamps at Doolhof has 6 luxury tents that all sleep 5 people. They are located near each other to allow for a great group getaway, but also far enough away to give you privacy should you prefer.
The luxury tents are set up on a wooden stand off the ground and they all have a wooden deck and built in braai place. The tent can be kept zipped up in the front and if the weather warms up enough one can upzip the entire front to enjoy the views over the majestic mountains.
The tents have adequate space and can accommodate 5 people in two small rooms – one queen and the other a queen and a single bunk above it. Linen and bath towels are provided and the bathroom is neat and spacious with a shower, toilet and hand basin. We would advise you bring your own beach towels if you plan to use the hot tub – you MUST plan to use the hot tub. It was the highlight of our stay!
During colder evenings (and we had a few despite our visit being in Spring!) there are electric blankets to warm the beds plus down duvets and two large polar fleece blankets were provided to add some extra warmth. There is also an aircon that can be put on heater mode and a log burning stove that we stoked every night to keep things cosy! You certainly won’t get cold despite sleeping in a tent…
Food and Catering at AfriCamps at Doolhof
AfriCamps at Doolhof is self-catering. Each tent has their own braai place, microwave, small gas stove, bar fridge, toaster and kettle. Just remember to bring your food before you arrive as a drive back into town is the last thing you feel like doing once you have arrived!
We enjoyed a braai on the deck one evening watching the sunset colours across the majestic Groenberg Mountain Range.
On another evening we enjoyed takeaway pizza from Pizza Vista on the nearby Val du Charron estate another evening.
“Cook your own” braai packs and breakfast baskets can also be ordered via the wine tasting room at Doolhof. Meal baskets are charged per person per day and should be booked a day in advance.
Picnic baskets can also be arranged with vegetarian options on offer too.
Wellington and the surrounding area also offers a variety of eating places ranging from bakeries to coffee shops, lunch spots and Italian eateries. So you certainly don’t need to cook if you aren’t up for it (I’m never up for it!)
Some of the recommended restaurants in Wellington include:
- Villamar Restaurant
- Oude Wellington Restaurant
- Langkloof Roses
- The Stone Kitchen
- The Grillroom
Spring Activities at AfriCamps at Doolhof
1.Discover the wonders of Wellington’s wine route with a wine tasting
AfriCamps at Doolhof is located ON a wine farm so wine tasting is a must. The tasting room is situated in an original wagon house built in the late 19th century. Enjoy your wine tasting, platter or lunch on the large terrace and explore the garden. You can taste five Doolhof Wines for R50 or try your luck in the weekly mystery tasting.
2. Hop in the hot tub
All six tents offer the exclusive use of their own outdoor wood-fired hot tub. Soak up your beautiful views while listening to the calming crackle of the fire. Or take a dip to cool off during the hot Wellington summers.
3. Picnic in the forest
Enjoy a delicious picnic lunch (including vegetarian and kiddies’ picnics) along with a bottle of Doolhof wine of your choice along the river walk, vineyard hike or on a grassy spot on the farm.
4. Soothe your soul with a spa treatment
Indulge in a spa treatment in the comfort of your tent including massages, mani’s, pedi’s and facials. Bookings can be made at Doolhof and should be confirmed 24 hours in advance.
5. Hiking the majestic mountains
Take a leisurely early morning walk along the river, through the vineyards or in the forest. There is a 5km walk through the vineyards and a shorter river walk. The estate is home to many small mammals, including buck, porcupine, baboons and even leopard. For more formal hikes contact Viking Adventures at Doolhof. You can even join guide Jaco for a ride halfway up Groenberg Mountain and a hike to the top!
6. On your bikes
It was well worth bringing your bikes along. The area is very well known for spectacular mountain bike trails and you can start the trails right from Doolhof. The kids can explore the farm during the 3.5km Vineyard Ride or just enjoy riding along the farm roads. Rent mountain bikes from the tasting room at R150 per day (subject to availability) or bring your own. Find the Wild Boar trail map in your tent and pick your route!
7. Get lost in the Labyrinth
As a tribute to the estate’s history and typographic Labyrinthine characteristics, a small labyrinth was constructed close to the entrance of the farm. This is a fun spot for the kids to play and make their way through the labyrinth.
8. Get adventurous with Viking Adventures at Doolhof
Viking Adventures offers a range of family friendly tours and activities starting on Doolhof including Groenberg 4X4 trail where you will drive with a military Unimog around the Groenberg Mountain to see a few of our neighbouring farms – 4X4 style. The Ghost House Rock Pool Trip is a drive on the Unimog to an old ghost house in the mountains where you can also take a swim in the mountain pools should you be feeling brave.
9. Get active
Make the most of the rolling lawns and pack some ball games or outdoor fun such as frisbee, cricket or bats and balls or send the kids off to enjoy the children’s playground which is situated at the top of the AfriCamps area (near tent 6).
10. Catch up on your reading
I really only get to read on holiday and it’s something I love so much. I always make sure to pack a pile of books and magazines I’ve been meaning to read for ages so when going glamping be sure to take along a book or magazine to enjoy under a blanket on one of the lounger chairs on the deck. Another winning spot is on the cosy bed while listening to the pitter patter of the rain on the canvas. I loved that moment the most during my time at AfriCamps at Doolhof.
11. Enjoy a cosy night in
Make the most of the cooler weather by cuddling up in front of the indoor fireplace and enjoy some board games, chess or cards. Alternatively, set up a family movie night on your digital device.
12. Embrace the closeness of nature.
Enjoy every moment of the day while being immersed in the experience of nature all around you. Wake up with coffee on your desk as you watch the sunrise and hear the birds greet the day. Spend a leisurely afternoon napping on your bed while listening to the rain or the birds. Enjoy sundowners on your deck while sipping on your best Wellington wine finds and watch the sunset change the colours of the mountains. Once darkness descends get out your star-gazing app and identify the constellations in the star speckled sky above your head then toast some marshmallows on the fire to pop into your warm mug of hot chocolate!
What a wonderful Spring break this weekend at AfriCamps at Doolhof was, the perfect way to refuel and refresh our family after what has been a rather challenging season!
Read more about our visits to Wellington here:
AfriCamps are currently running an early bird pre-summer special for stays between 25 November and 12 December. Find out more about how to book here: https://www.africamps.
Keep an eye out over the next few weeks for a chance to WIN a weekend away with AfriCamps as part of our Glamping through the Seasons series.
You won’t want to miss that!