WIN! Congratulations to Melissa Quanson on winning the weekend at Koffylaagte 4-star Game Lodge. She and her family will enjoy becoming part of this story. 😀
Date Visited: 27 -29 July 2012 (Winter)
Where we Stayed: The Bush Cabin, set somewhat aside from the main lodge area. Koffylaagte offers a diverse range of accommodation, including 4-star luxury safari tents & 3-star self-catering units in the old farmhouse.
What we did: We spent time enjoying beautiful sunsets. We had a great bush-walk, a game drive, went horse-riding & met amazingly interesting people who filled the hours with interesting conversation. We also took a drive to Darlington Lake Dam & had lunch in nearby Jansenville. Koffylaagte offers a wide range of activities, including quad-biking & archery, a steam-room, pool-table, swimming pool & birding.
Recommendation: Koffylaagte is perfectly situated between Nelson Mandela Bay & Graaff Reinett. It is ideal as a weekend destination or as a resting place on your way to discovering other places like Graaff Reinett, Nieu Bethesda or Baviaanskloof. It is very family friendly. I wouldn’t stay for less than two days, but could imagine that you could even stay a week at Koffylaagte, becoming part of this story.
Website: Koffylaagte Game Lodge
Koffylaagte is not a place.
Its location can be marked on a map.
Its environment could be described in all the words so many places are so often described.
Its accommodation could be rated.
That would still, however, not put into words what is already evident just from the name Koffylaagte carries.
‘Koffylaagte’ – Coffee Hollow, some would translate. Or coffee lowlands, others would say.
In Dutch it should be ‘Koffie’.
But its not.
The story goes, a long time ago, travelers stopped here to rest. Brew some coffee. Perhaps gather wood, feed horses & cattle, precisely halfway between Graaff Reinett & Port Elizabeth.
The landscape scattered with ‘Perboon’ Trees of which the seeds might have been used as a coffee substitute in times of lack.
On the walls of the old, beautifully restored farmhouse, pictures of the Hurter family, who lived here in the early 1900’s bear witness to new generations resting in bedrooms.
Perhaps Koffylaagte is a story.
Of that resting place for travelers & merchants & ‘karweiers’.
Of a pantry for others, long before the ships dropped anchor at new harbors to carry away an unknown bounty.
A story of a tollgate erected by English, who wanted to show rebellious Dutch the consequence of their Protestantism.
Of soldiers shoeing horses & new farmers claiming land & goats being shaved & little Dorothea dying of a unkown illness at the age of two.
A story of parents standing at a grave.
Of land abandoned in drought, as traveler-farmers find their way to cities & new generations put their hope in industrialization.
A story which began centuries ago in Africa.
A story which began in Turkey in the 1950’s and in England a little while later.
They met in York.
They lived in England & Turkey.
In East Africa & West Africa.
In Russia & Nigeria.
When the time came to turn a page in their own story, the new chapter opened onto Koffylaagte.
A place where they could sink the roots of their souls deep into Karoo soil.
And as they settled, they were drawn into the Koffylaagte story.
First the old Farmhouse was restored.
Right down to the original iron-gate keeping animals off the ‘stoep’.
Then the hunter’s lodge evolved into a dining room to become a restaurant.
A lounge and swimming pool appeared.
Luxury safari tents.
Buffalo & wildebeest.
All the time more travelers drawn into a story written with the ink of time on the pages of hope.
And so we are drawn near as well.
We travel past little invitations posted along the R75 as we make our way to Graaff Reinett & Nieu Bethesda & Bloemfontein.
As if carried on the wind, a silent desire infesting our wanderlust.
Eventually finding our way to Cem & Jane and little Lilly.
Rebecca & Alistair.
To a little bush cottage with a massive rock fire-place overwhelming its kitchen.
To meals created from organic venison & vegetables, bread slowly kneaded & covered in honey harvested from wild mountain hives.
To people who’ve been drawn into the Koffylaagte story.
One by one.
Each a word.
Rebecca was a brand manager in England.
Disillusioned with sails filled with uncapturable wind she is drawn to the Kalahari.
A little closer.
She falls in love with a boy from Upington.
They come to visit friends at Koffylaagte.
Dreaming of a place of wellness.
Where city-dwellers could come to experience more than game.
To re-discover beauty.
In ways never before imagined.
We ride on horses right up to a family of Giraffe.
We walk in Karoo veldt.
The smell of soil fresh from rain.
We talk to travelers from as far as Switzerland & as close as Nelson Mandela Bay.
We touch our own dreams.
As Friday flows into Sunday Koffylaagte does what she seemed to have always done.
Perhaps answering her own need.
For a moment.
Into a lifetime.
We say reluctant goodbyes.
The Dodge Journey finds its own way to nearby Darlington Lake.
To Jansenville for lunch.
The pull of Koffylaagte not wanting to let go.
To become a part of her.
Into the rich texture which is Koffylaagte.