Bo Kouga Mountain Retreat offers a sane alternative to the Knysna and Plett December mayhem. Tucked safely inland, among the rolling Kouga Mountains, this 300ha farm lies just 30km from sleeply Uniondale and not far from the start of the beautiful Prince Alfred Pass - which many an intrepid Karoo to Coast mountain biker will remember for its twisty climbs and bone-rattling descents. Heading further inland leads you into the amazing Baviaanskloof and the Eastern Cape.
The general area is typified by dramatic mountains covered in perfumed fynbos, hot still days and sultry evenings under incredible skies, cool streams cutting through bouldered gorges... Taken as a whole, the experience is unique and far removed from the crazy outside world.
There are five cottages to enjoy it all from; two of these (Springbok and Gemsbok) date back to the 1860s; Gemsbok Cottage (our favourite, based purely on the pics) is especially rich in traditional character, with Cape Dutch furnishings to match. Buffalo and Zebra Cottage are attached to each other (think about booking both) with all the mod-cons, including telly and DVD (but no reception), dishwasher, washing machine etc. So, depending on personal preference, your choice is between old world traditional and more modern. Eland Cottage has a dedicated garden area and is the pet-friendly option if you want to bring your pooch along.
The cottages sleep 2-3 (Springbok), 4-5 (Gemsbok), 4 (Eland) and 2 (Zebra), respectively. They all appear well equipped, the decor and furnishings are practical and comfortable, there are plenty of little extras thrown in, and all have a brilliant outlook over the surrounding valley and mountains. In other words, you're unlikely to go wrong booking a couple of days at Kouga Mountain Retreat.
Mountain bike (whatever you do, dont forget your bike at home!), walk (a third of the farm is unchartered mountain, plus there is a 45-minute walk through the game camp), swim, laze around doing nothing, braai, take a cruise into Uniondale, venture onto Prince Alfred Pass or even Baviaanskloof... The choices are vast and yours to enjoy.