A holiday is a chance to escape from your day-to-day life and experience new scenery of beauty and awe. While some travelers like to use the time to explore, adventure and learn new things, others use a breakaway to rest, relax, and find stillness in landscapes of vast beauty.
At 4-star De Bergkant Lodge in Prince Albert you are guaranteed an opportunity to do both.
Just a four-hour drive from Cape Town through the scenic Karoo along the Route 62 or 2-hours' drive from George over the majestic Swartberg Pass, De Bergkant Lodge is the oasis of Prince Albert waiting to welcome you from its position at the foot of the Swartberg Mountains.
Take your book (yes, that one you have been meaning to read for months), pack your hiking boots, bring your pet (De Bergkant Lodge is #petfriendly) and most definitely pack your bathing suit to make the most of the Lodge’s two pools, sauna and room service masseuse for your own private spa experience.
There is a surprising wealth of fascinating things to do about town and in the vast surroundings of Prince Albert, so make sure you book your stay long enough to relax as well as enjoy a few thrilling adventures.
Want to know where those delicious figs which you enjoyed at breakfast were picked? Weltevrede Fig Farm, just 25km outside Prince Albert is a chance to see how figs are harvested, processed and packed. Guided hikes over the Swartberg Mountain from the farm into "Die Hel" are on offer during the cooler months where you can see Bushmen art on the rock formations.
The Fransie Pienaar Museum is a short stroll along Church Street from your private suite or double room at De Bergkant Lodge. The building is the original hospital and offers a trip back in time to when the town first developed and claimed its royal name.
Along with some fascinating fossils, it has its own distillery where ‘Witblits’ is produced in the time-honoured manner. Learn how herbal remedies and the use of Witblits is used medically in the valley, both of which can be purchased at the Museum shop if not sold out!
Situated in the exquisite Prince Albert Valley, the family owned and operated, Fernkloof organic wine farm produces handcrafted wines with personality, from organically grown grapes. Open for tasting and sales, you are welcomed by Diederik Le Grange the man behind Fernkloof’s winemaking and viticulture and the seventh-generation family man on the farm with a lineage that hails back to the first Huguenots who arrived in the Cape as early as 1671. The tasting room is open daily from 10:00 - 16:00 and on Sundays from 10:00 - 14:00 by appointment. The farm also prides itself on its 16km hiking or running trail.
Just two kilometers out of town, the Karoo Donkey Sanctuary is the largest donkey rescue centre in Africa. When you visit their happy sanctuary you assist them to rehabilitate and rehome rescues from dire circumstances of both the Chinese donkey skin trade and from over-work, abuse and malnourishment as beasts of burden in the cart-horse industry. Sir Robert, Amazing Grace and Mona are just some of their rescued stars waiting to meet you!
One of the steepest passes in South Africa, Swartberg Pass reaches 1 000 metres in 12 kilometres and links Prince Albert in the north and Oudtshoorn in the south, delivering spectacular views of both the Little and Great Karoo. Like De Bergkant Lodge, it was built in the late 1800s, and today the pass and the Lodge are National Monuments. The 121 000 hectares of the Swartberg Nature Reserve is an adventure playground covered by the spectacular Fynbos of the Cape Floral Kingdom and overseen by impressive geological rock formations which grey reebok, klipspringer, baboon, duikers and steenbok, badger, aardwolf and leopard as well as rare black eagle call home. Hike, run or cycle its trails or if you have a 4x4 look out for the sign 'Die Hel'. Visit Cape Nature and discover the 6km Grootkloof Trail which takes about two hours to complete.
Whether you want to conquer the Swartberg Pass with leg power or amble along a Karoo road on a rental bicycle, Arno Botha of Prince Albert Cycles and Tours can make it happen. Discover a large variety of routes offering a range of scenery and challenges. If you are a Strava hunter, this is the place to go.
Don’t miss a chance to go stargazing with Astro Tours. Hans and Tilanie Daehne take guests on a tour through the celestial splendour of the Southern Hemisphere. Discover a deep sense of wonder as you recognise patterns in the sky that have formed a universal ‘language’ across cultures and thousands of years of human history. They also offer tours in German.
Gay’s Guernsey Dairy offers a selection of handmade cheeses and yoghurts made from raw, full cream Guernsey cows milk and a selection of fine meat cuts. Together with a natural cheese making process, the natural Karoo veld provides optimum grazing for their animals and their pigs are fed on whey from the dairy.
Home to the oldest Angora stud in South Africa, Prince Albert is also at the center of the mohair producing region of South Africa of which 90% of mohair sold world-wide is Cape Mohair. Visit Karoo Looms for a variety of luxurious mohair products and rugs.
Take home the local produce of Prince Albert Olives and discover a well-balanced, soft, medium style Extra Virgin Olive Oil with good, green fruit, grass and artichoke plus a hint of ripe olives. Sold in an attractive tin, once you have consumed its gold medal quality olive oil, recycle it as an quirky planter or stylish ice bucket for you home patio.
Don’t miss this chance to take a piece of the Karoo home with you until you perchance to visit again. Visit Avoova for a world-famous selection of homeware and luxury African gifts made from intricate designs in ostrich shell. While staying at De Bergkant Lodge you will have a chance to see some of their beautiful decorative items placed in the rooms, hanging on your room keyring and on the toiletries tray in the en suite bathrooms.