This is one of those places where I walked in and the view simply took my breath away. I moved spellbound towards the deck, while the poor hostess bounced in front of me trying to catch my attention to explain various practicalities. I waved her away with a glazed smile, and opened every one of the glass doors to let the cool forest breeze and astounding mountain views in.
As I walked out onto the deck I breathed deeply, remembering why I have always loved Hout Bay. It is a thickly forested green haven, close to Cape Town, with a pretty, winding, tall-tree-lined road into town. It has easy access to beautiful beaches like Llandudno, Camps Bay, Noordhoek and the spectacular Chapman’s Peak drive. But best of all, it is surrounded by towering mountains, with two perfectly-placed gaps between the mountains – one allowing fresh morning sunlight to spill over the back of Table Mountain, the other parting from the sea side allows late golden light to shine up the valley, where long evenings may be spent enjoying sundowners on the deck while many other parts of Cape Town are already in the shadow of the mountain.
And within this pristine setting I find the perfect Hout Bay accommodation – Blackwood Log Cabin Mountain Retreat. A glamorous yet natural wooden house set high up a hill in the thick forest setting, the house has been designed to maximize the views on every front. The lounge is conservatory style, with surround glass doors opening onto the deck which faces in three directions. Even the bedrooms have ceiling-to-floor glass all round. And of course one of my favourite things – a freestanding bath set up against a bank of windows with forest and mountain views and cool breezes to offset the warm water.
The cabin is a freestanding villa, with a well fitted, full scale kitchen, open plan dining and lounge area. The lounge is decorated with a natural, organic touch, including woven lamps, baskets and hanging rows of flat, pearly shells on the walls. The look is not too earthy-crunchy though, and it is sophisticated and modern, with a clean-lined grey couch and a Kelim rug. There are two private bedrooms and two full bathrooms, one with bath and one with shower. There is an indoor fireplace and outdoor barbeque area, with 3 lovely outdoor seating areas, and a hammock. The lodge has its own private swimming pool.
I was supposed to be working on a big report which was due at the end of the month. But when a colleague phoned to ask about my progress, my reply was simple – “It’s too beautiful.” She chuckled and left me in peace.
I lay on the hammock on the deck, perfectly shaded from the hot afternoon sun, a cool breeze blowing across me. I wanted to pray, but, like Mary Oliver, "I have not forgotten the Way, but, a little, the way to the Way". My prayer came out in a wordless combination of request and gratitude – a silent and deep thanks for this place and moment, all that had come before and all that was yet to come and for the hope and certainty of a life well lived.