Words Magriet Kruger, pics Alessandro Bonora
There’s a tribe of people for whom the name Algeria calls up the very best memories. Swimming in the soft, clear water of the Rondegat River. Hiking in the burnt orange mountains with their fragrant fynbos and curious rock formations. Looking up at a velvet sky dusted with stars at night.
For years this paradise was the almost exclusive playground of campers. Now six modern and superbly comfortable cottages have been built a little uphill from the campsite. Conveniently close to the swimming hole and Algeria’s wonderful walks, they are ideal for anyone who values their creature comforts.
The cottages have a similar eco-chic feel as CapeNature’s Rocherpan cabins, with walls painted in natural tones and latte screens.
Each cottage has two bedrooms, one with a double bed, the other two singles. The open-plan lounge has a wood-burning stove for winter nights and a sleeper couch suitable for children under 12. The well-equipped kitchen even has a microwave oven and electric toaster. One thing you won’t find is a television, and with good reason. The large picture windows look out onto spectacular mountains.
On a recent weekend break from Cape Town, my husband and I stayed in the Maltese Cross cottage. (All the cottages are named after the area’s attractions). We immediately fell in love with the large stoep facing the mountains. Thanks to clever design this outside area feels completely private, screened on one side by the main bedroom and on the other by the built-in braai. We lit our fire and, as the light faded, three grysbok came up to graze on the grasses below. We raised a glass to our good fortune.
In the morning we got up early and, armed with Hike the Cederberg, the new Slingsby map, set off on the Waterfall hike. This moderately strenuous trail heads up the Middelberg to an entrancing spot where water cascades into a translucent pool. As this was our first visit, we know there’s much more to discover, but already the name Algeria holds an irresistible magic.
Algeria is a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Cape Town.
Cottages are R800 a night for one to four people out of season, R100 an extra person. In peak season, it’s R1 200 for one to six people.
Hike the Cederberg map costs R270 from www.slingsbymaps.com
Bookings CapeNature Central Reservations 021 483 0190
Source: Wild Magazine