by Lindiwe Mlandu
At the moment, there is a lot happening in our beloved country, South Africa. Basically, our country is a mess. We have a former president, who feels he’s been provoked while claiming to have received death threats via his personal assistant. There are state-owned enterprises that need bailouts and there are Kaizer Chiefs fans… The least said about them the better.
Living in South Africa can be overwhelming at times. However, we are fortunate to live in a beautiful country despite all the challenges.
So it’s important to pause, recharge and then come back refreshed. Now and again, those who can afford to must make time just to get away from it all. Leave behind the everyday stress and go where there’s no TV or traffic.
I just came back from McGregor. It’s a small town in the Western Cape that was established in 1862.
Our first stop was the Eseltjiesrus Donkey Sanctuary just outside of McGregor. Just after entering the premises, there’s a green sign written “Eat. Bray. Love”.
They take in donkeys that are abused and rehabilitate them. They also put up the animals for adoption. The sanctuary also hosts workshops to teach communities about the best way to look after donkeys. They are a registered charity. You can contact them on www.donkeysanctuary.co.za to make a donation.
We then made our way to McGregor for the long weekend. We found a small, peaceful and beautiful village that’s stuck in time with its old Dutch-style cottages. It’s perfect for me-time or a writing retreat or just a group of friends/family that wants a break from the rat race.
For adrenaline junkies, there are numerous hiking trails such as Temenos Retreat.and the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve which offers biking, birding and hiking.
On the second day, we woke up early to go hiking. It was freezing but as the morning progressed, the sun came out. On our way back, we stopped by the Saturday Morning Market. They sell delicious pastries, coffee, jams, books, and clothes.
In the afternoon, we explored the galleries, the pottery before making our way to the Temenos Retreat. We took a walk on their silent garden which has so many surprises. It’s a place of relaxation and spirituality. There is a mini chapel and places of meditation. The garden is stunning and there are ducks, helmeted Guinea-fowls and peacocks.
We then had a late lunch at Tebaldi’s Restaurant. The food is good and prices are reasonable. The food was so good that we stuffed our faces. We had to chill for about an hour afterward because we could barely move with our full stomachs. After the food had settled, we decided to return to the silent gardens for another silent walk. The sun was now starting to go down. We then walked back to our cottage. The village is perfect for walking. Everything is within walking distance so you don’t really need a car once you arrive.
On Sunday, which was our last day, we took it easy. We went to the museum to learn more about the town. The museum is really small. I think the smallest I’ve ever seen, but it has fascinating stories about McGregor. In conclusion, we had an amazing weekend away. I definitely recommend McGregor to anyone, who enjoys life in a small town and waking up to the chirping of birds.