For eons, people have built settlements by the waterside. Of course, there have been obvious trade and agricultural advantages to this. There is one element, though, that has spoken more profoundly to the soul: the peacefulness of being close to water. Particularly for us urban creatures, we long to escape the madness of the city’s milieu to places of serenity and space. Bodies of water somehow have a life force that speaks to us on a deep level, calming the soul.
I realized this rather quickly on my recent break to the Tides River Lodge situated on the lower stretches of the Breede River. Where I usually fall asleep to the soft hum of cars and other urban noises, here it’s the river that rules. Birds excitedly chatter at the water’s edge and the occasional fish braves breaking the water for a quick gasp of air.
Meet Tides River Lodge
Joined by three friends, we wound our way through the Western Cape until we arrived at Tides. The lodge covers the last stretch of the Breede River just before it concludes its long journey to the ocean. Time and tides have carved a valley that hugs the river, leaving a scenic waterway.
Several cottages are on offer, ranging from the smaller ‘Boat House’ for two to the ‘Zebra House’ that sleeps 9. Our choice was Cob Cottage, a four-bedroom house that was the closest cottage to the water. A fully stocked kitchen made cooking simple, and an outdoor braai with river views was the perfect spot to end the evening. For chilly nights, the indoor fire kept us warm whilst we enjoyed some red wine and board games. Our fire-side game of Trivial Pursuit got rather heated at times, and not only from the flames nearby!
It’s no surprise that many of the lodge’s activities revolve around the river. Guests who have their own boat can bring it along and launch directly from the property; or, an arrangement can be made with the staff to be taken out on theirs. For keen fishermen, the Breede River is an excellent spot to enjoy the hobby. The lodge also has kayaks available for paddling. Also, ask about the cliff jumping. It is an adventure definitely worth trying.
Exploring the Area
- Sijnn Wine Farm
The Sijnn story is certainly a unique one. Owner David Trafford planted vines only 15 years ago. Now the farm boasts 23 hectares under vine, all of which are bush-vines. A tour and tasting is highly recommended. The views alone will have you captivated. The moderate Mediterranean climate produces some spectacular blends—winemaker Charla Haasbroek has a lot to be proud of.
- Sundowners at a Local Pub
The closest village is Malgas—although, it’s even a stretch to call it a village. Rather, it is a collection of homes with a petrol station and hotel at the center. Join the locals for a drink at the Malagas hotel or a hearty Sunday lunch. When it’s open, the Bush Pub is apparently another local’s favourite.
- Day trip to De Hoop
A recommended outing is the 40 minute drive to the neighboring De Hoop Nature Reserve. There are a variety of tours on offer, including vlei cruises, marine tours, vulture viewings and bicycle hire. The Fig Tree restaurant offers hearty meals, and their spa is the perfect spot to relax and unwind.
For more information about Tides River Lodge, visit them online here and book your time of river serenity in this special part of the country. You can read a little more about Tides here on Traveller24, and find them here on Instagram.