A couple of weekends ago we trekked to the other side of the Western Cape, to the mountains of Matroosberg. Why would we go there? Well it depends who you ask. If you asked the kids and I, it would be because we wanted to see snow for the first time. If you asked Seth it would be because he wanted to sleep on the top of the second highest mountain in the Western Cape. Crazy I tell you.
The good news is that we all survived despite it easily being the coldest I have EVER been. Especially Seth and Brian who slept on the top of the mountain. The bad news is that we left without seeing any snow at all. But that’s OK. It gives us an excuse to go back again.
The actual drive is about 2 and a bit hours from Cape Town. You drive past Ceres, up the Matroosberg Mountains and into the Matroosberg Reserve where you will find these cabins. The place is actually the height of Table Mountain (if you measure it from sea level) which is why you can occasionally get snow right outside your cabin if you’re really lucky. Which, as I have mentioned, we were not. There was snow this past weekend though, so we missed it by just one week!
The first night the kids slept in the the rooms that were warmed with panel heaters and beds that were warmed with electric blankets. Lucky sods. We slept in the lounge area that was heated by a fire. It wasn’t too bad though because when we arrived there around 6pm it was a balmy 20 degrees.
Early the next morning the kids were up at dawns crack and so we started the day with a delicious breakfast before helping the guys get ready to leave on their mission.
Their mission that they chose to accept even though it was not really a mission at all, was to climb to the top of the Matroosberg Mountains and camp out there for the night. I still can’t figure out why exactly but I think it has something to do with proving manliness or something. Matroosberg is the second highest peak in all of the Western Cape and is twice as high as Table Mountain.
They got packed up and headed off on their adventure.
While they were gone, we made smores, played with the kids, read a couple of pages of our book club books and had lots of chats. It was busy, considering the kids couldn’t really play outside (there might not have been snow but the wind was something else!), we managed quite well.
Side note – Knox fell into the dam and wet his whole butt, knees and basically everything except his head. He was screaming his head off, but today wen we talked about it, it was like it never happened. He didn’t remember it at all. Funny guy.
Apparently the hike was going to be a relatively easy 4-6 hours up. The aim was to be up there before sunset to get the tent up, make their supper and settle in for the night. The way down was a little bit different. Before they left I checked the details, it went a little something like this…
“So, you say it takes about 4 – 6 hours to get up? How long will it take you to get down?”
“Roughly an hour, hour and a half.”
“Say what now? How can it possible take you so long to get up but then so short to be down?”
“Our packs will be lighter, we’ll have eaten all the food and drunk most of the water. Easy. Plus, we’ll happily wake up at 6 and get an early start down.”
Well OK then. I can get behind that even though I can’t get those maths to add up in my head.
After a freezing cold and windy night, the morning brought rain. And lots of it. It was bucketing. Inside our little cabin we had gone through all the wood that we’d bought before arrival (8 bags!). But our housie was warm. Which meant that we couldn’t stop thinking about our men who must be completely soaked trying to make it down the mountain. Whom I felt sorry for occasionally, but not consistently because, well, they asked for it.
Then around 12pmish they arrived – looking utterly soaked but rather proud of themselves.
We warmed up their freezing bodies with a hearty breakfast of burnt eggs and other things. Then the Finchams had to leave us. We’d decided that we wanted to stay another night because there was a prediction that there could potentially be snow on the Sunday night.
That afternoon we bundled up and ventured outside with the kids in the drizzle to experience what it was like to walk around in 2 degree weather with a wind chill that was easily -3 or -4. It’s the wind that’s the problem. Not even the cold. The wind pushes the freeze into every crevice. It’s awful!
Knox didn’t have mittens, so we used socks. We told him that they would act as mittens and he was totally down with it!
That night was so flipping cold. Oh my gosh. It went down to -8 degrees outside and even though I was snuggled between Seth and Knox, with a panel heater and electric blanket, I was still cold. I just can’t do cold.
But then we woke up the next morning just knowing that it hadn’t snowed. But what we weren’t expecting was the frost! It is just so beautiful. We bundled up again and went to check it all out.
This holiday we tried something completely different in trying to actually film little snippets of our stay. It’s taken me for freaking ever to put all these clips together into something almost watchable and I hope you bear with me on this. I will get better.
The video includes everything from the weekend – our stay in the cabins, the guys trip up the mountains and then our little frosty experience in the morning.
Let me know what you think 🙂