CapeNature’s Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve recently launched four newly renovated self-catering units. The revamp is part of a significant tourism investment into the Breede River Valley area. By Arnold Ras

The revamped units have a fresh and modern look and two of them even boast a hot tub – a first for CapeNature accommodation.

Nestled between Robertson and McGregor, Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve is popular with hikers, birders (the reserve is home to 175 bird species) and mountain bikers. It’s easy to see why. I suddenly feel spoiled – away from city air surrounded by nature’s beauty and true serenity.Vrolijkheid’s redeveloped self-catering units

The renovation of four spacious and comfortable houses at Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve is good news for families and groups of friends. Each of the units can sleep up to eight guests and private braai areas will make for peaceful evenings around the fire. But the most exciting? Two of the four houses have a hot tub for lazy afternoon relaxation. With load shedding alive and kicking, you’ll be glad to know that CapeNature also installed a gas stove and oven in all the new units. What could be better than a hot tub, a good book or two and picture-perfect scenery?

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Pictures by Arnold Ras

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On my visit, CapeNature’s Tierck Hoekstra, Regional Manager: Central, revealed that the launch of the new units is but the beginning of several improvements. Aside from a second phase of planned upgrades, CapeNature is also in the process of obtaining an additional piece of land, adding to the reserve’s 1,900 hectares.

Sheraaz Ismail, CapeNature Executive Director: Marketing & Eco-tourism, expanded on the plans. “The second phase of redeveloping the reserve will focus on creating a more family-friendly reserve such as a communal swimming pool for the hot summer months, jungle gyms and we are even considering a mini putt-putt course.” Conference facilities are also on the cards.
Vrolijkheid’s redeveloped self-catering units

The four houses have been redeveloped with the help of the Cape Agency for Sustainable Integrated Development in Rural Areas after CapeNature made R3,5 million available for the upgrade.

The CapeNature CEO, Dr Razeena Omar, was not able to attend the launch, but said in a statement: “One of our strategic goals for the next five years is to ensure better access to our province’s unique and cultural heritage for all. We want to get people involved and make them proud of where they live. It is for this reason we carefully chose Vrolijkheid for our first significant tourism investment into the Breede River Valley area. It is a nature reserve with potential to massively boost the tourism industry and provide socio-economic benefits for the local community.”

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How to get there

The distance from Cape Town is approximately 171km with a drive time of about two hours. Take the N1 towards Paarl and travel through Robertson to reach the reserve.

Things to do

  • Go for a relaxed ramble on the Heron Trail, which winds past the two dams.
  • Take binoculars and add to your birding life list from one of the bird hides.
  • Have a picnic at the tranquil site near the entrance.
  • Take your mountain bike and explore the reserve on two wheels.

Tariffs for new units

The cottages with a hot tub cost R1,200 for one to six people per night, and R200 per person per night for additional guests. The units without a hot tub cost R1,000 for one to six people per night, and R150 per person per night for the seventh or eighth guest.

Call +27 (0)23 625 1621 for more information or visit CapeNature’s website.