We have just returned from a few days away in Citrusdal which is a couple of hours out of Cape Town in the Cederberg Mountains. We were staying on a citrus farm in a simple self catering cottage and hoping that the temperature was going to cool down from the 51 degree heat they were experiencing the week before!

Our country escape

There are very few places you can go to really experience silence and tranquility but we found it here. The pool was a godsend and the views spectacular. Plus, there was no electricity in our cottage so no internet, no TV, paraffin lamps for light and my hair had to stay curly! Still, it was very therapeutic to be early to bed and early to rise for a good walk accompanied by all sorts of wildlife before breakfast.

We planned most of the cooking in advance, experimenting with a few new recipes and making the most of the wood fired bbq which really did add a wonderful flavour to everything we cooked on there. I am a big endorser of the current fashion for cooking this way.

Maybe it was the 5km walk on our first morning, but personally I enjoyed the ricotta pancakes and maple cured bacon the most of all our meals:

Yummy brekky

I also found it fascinating to discover a fulfilling retail experience in this isolated countryside. We were compelled to stop at a really basic fruit stall because the marketing was so great: giant signs on the road which you can’t miss, a colourful shop front, good parking and great service. The owner sold only fresh seasonal fruit & veg all of which we could sample. And for those things that were not in season, he had preserved, pickled and dried all sorts of goodies to tempt. There is so much that many retailers can learn about shopkeeping from this simple experience.

Great produce retailer!

We opted to purchase a wonderful watermelon which we put to good use in our early evening refreshments:

Sensational sundowners

I think there is a book to be written that supports the ‘staycation’ fashion which is as prominent here in South Africa as at home in the UK. The holiday choices in this wonderful country are so varied and interesting. If anyone out there fancies writing it, I am happy to help with venues, recipes, shopping lists and lots more.