* This article first appeared here in VIEW Magologue
We’re living in a time where silence and solace are increasing scare. If there’s anyone who knows this, its Gordon Hempton. He’s a man with a rather unique work as an acoustic ecologist, collecting sounds from around the world. In an evocative interview of his I listened to recently, he laments: “Oh, boy. Silence is so endangered, we even need another word for it. Silence is on the verge of extinction.”
The challenges of the past months have, I think, made this even worse. We’ve spent many an anxiety-ridden week seeing, hearing, and reading about the impact of the pandemic. At times I found myself automatically reaching for a device and mindlessly doom-scrolling through either social media or news sites. Stillness and silence have indeed been scarce.
I knew that a change of scenery was necessary to begin to quieten out these voices, and so I headed to the Cederberg. This mountainous playground begins just north of Tulbagh and then runs upwards, just inland of South Africa’s West Coast for around 100 kilometers. On the far northern boundary of the Cederberg, I’d be visiting Doringbos Farm to pursue the luxury of silence.
Approaching the farm something magical happens that is both frightening and relieving –network reception dies out. The no signal icon on my phone would serve as an excellent reminder that I was really, in the middle of nowhere.
While the Cederberg offers rustic cottages aplenty, Doringbos is something distinctly different. Decadence abounds in every corner of the main house and then the four cottages set around. The owner’s personal touches can be seen in the lavish interiors that rival any luxury hotel – yet surprisingly at home in this rugged environment. Up to 18 people can be accommodated in style through the various rooms and cottages on the farm.
When you’re not drinking in the glorious silence, there’s plenty to do in the wild landscape. Two quad bikes provide the opportunity to explore the farm’s backroads, fishing rods are available for the river, several mountain bikes are on offer, three pools for cooling down – one being a wood-fired hot tub, and then a short walk from the main house is a pan where you can watch the farm’s resident wild game arrive for a sunset drink, of course with a sundowner of your own in hand.
The farm’s most striking attribute however is that the buildings are positioned on a rocky ridge high above the perennial Doringbos River. This generous view simply begs sitting and staring, encouraging the space for reflection and relaxation.
Doringbos is brand new to the rental market and is only open to a select amount of bookings per year. Perfectly suited for small friends’ gatherings, family get-togethers, or celebrating special occasions. The base rate rental per night starts at R20k per night – surprisingly reasonable considering the size of the group it accommodates and that the rate includes a full staff compliment and a hearty breakfast. Fully catered options are available on request.
The drive to Doringbos Farm is not only rewarded with the luxury of silence, but also a uniquely luxurious mountain stay that is second to none. doringbos.com