Not all who wander are lost
There is something about being close to water which is good for the soul. It is especially lovely being right down at the level of water, a feeling of floating with the ducks. Add to this experience a log cabin with tasteful décor and you have the makings of instant happiness. This is what I find outside the unassuming little town of Kokstad on the border of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.
The Old Orchard is a busy little bed and breakfast situated a few kilometers outside the town, on a farm on the R56 to Matatiele. The lakeside log cabins are clustered on one side of the lake, near a restaurant and plunge pool, and they all overlook open hills and mountains beyond. The cottages each have a deck which extends out right over the water, where one can watch ducks move underneath and weavers building nests in the reeds alongside.
Inside, the thatched log cabins are cosy and pretty, with upholstered wingback armchairs and natural décor. There is white linen on the comfortable beds which face the water and hillside views.
We have travelled far and arrive tired but pleased about our choice of stay, instantly refreshed by the green surrounds. We settle in just before a dramatic summer berg storm. From our waterfront vantage point we enjoy watching the storm move across the skies. The downpour comes in sheets across the water and feels much closer for our setting. We hunker down with the birds, who find refuge under our deck, and we are grateful for our safe spot from which to witness the impressive display. The storm quickly passes and soon the birds are out again as if nothing has happened. A cup of tea and a good book later and we spend an enjoyable afternoon alternating between reading and watching the water birds going about their duck-like business. Whether it is the cleansing storm that took our minds off our troubles, or the watery setting or simply watching nature being natural, we find ourselves deeply refreshed and the happiest versions of our travelling selves.