A Mountain Retreat for the Soul

Image via Just James

Image via Just James

Cape Town and I have a complicated relationship. Sure, she’s perfect on paper with all those white sandy beaches and rows and rows of mountains…but sometimes The Mother City can get a little cranky. She throws you with ex boyfriends bump-ins, slaps you with insane traffic and sometimes makes it impossible to find a decent matcha latte in the greater city vicinity.

And, like any relationship, a little space can be good. Real good. The final straw? Bumping into my has-he-even-aged-a-day ex—complete with his French Bulldog and beautiful wife sporting a burger-sized baby bump. It was time for a break. But not just any break, I needed to breathe deeply, sleep soundly, a place to practise my sweet yoga moves—and most of all—soothe my sorry-ass soul.

Enter the anecdote…Akasha Mountain Retreat. A place that had been popping up on my radar for quite some time now. And it seemed to be exactly what I needed. Close enough not to drive for days but far enough to make me feel as though I had escaped Cape Town. The stars had aligned. Plus my yoga-teaching, kale-loving bestie was feeling pretty much the same as me. We’re in sync like that. #twinflames

The Drive

Our mini getaway was a-go. We prepared a playlist, packed some steamed broccoli (what else?) to snack on—and we headed off onto the open road. About 3 hours and several bathroom stops later (we needed to stay hydrated, alright?) we arrived to the dusty dirt roads of Heidelberg mountains, just outside of Swellendam. 

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As we snaked up the final hill to Akasha, we got stuck behind a herd of about 200 cows. These milked-up moo cows slowly swayed from side to side as they made their weary way home for the night. We decided this had to be the universe telling us to slow down, and soak up our surroundings before arriving at Akasha. Decompress from the drive, and ease us in to it—if you will. #searchingformeaningineverything

First Impressions

Chris, the farm-owner, greeted us with a big grin in his bakkie at the gate. As soon as you meet Chris you feel kinda calm. I’m pretty sure he has that effect on most of the people he meets. He and his wife, Elana, moved to Akasha 18 years ago, he tells us under his sun-stained Zara beanie. We follow him, and his pack of farm dogs, up to our home for the next two nights. The farm is so quiet and still. We pull up to our pad and it’s pretty much perfect…

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The Set Up

The simple, rustic and humble abode is beautiful. First up its position is on top of a valley overlooking the Langeberg and secluded Duiwenhoks dam. As soon as you walk in you feel right at home. Completely solar-powered the cosy Moroccan-style self-catering spot has everything you need. Two large double bedrooms (the main bedroom has an en-suite bathroom with a beautiful big bath) each has large windows looking out onto the garden-slash-valley. There’s also a smaller bedroom with two single beds for kiddies and a separate cottage above the house that can sleep another two people. So all in all, the house can sleep 8 comfortably.

The home is simply, yet thoughtfully decorated with candles, lanterns and an aptly placed Buddha. It has an indoor fire for colder nights, and outdoor braai area, hammocks, bongo drums, and even a rain stick for some late-night jam sessions. There’s also a picturesque courtyard with a big day bed and lots of seating for a bit of reading and outdoor meals. This was the spot my friend and I chose to practise our early morning yoga flows. So you know the kinda Zen we’re dealing with here.

Day Trips

Akasha also offers a variety of day trips tailored to individual group needs. You can choose guided walks, horse interactions and music lessons. These are led by Chris and are interweaved with local history—as well as myths and legends from the surrounding area. We opted for a guided walk during sunset one evening. Chris told us about how he and his wife met through mutual friends and found their way to the farm. He also took us down to the water’s edge where you can swim during the warmer months.

Image via Just James

Image via Just James

One of the most serene spots you’ll surely ever visit in this lifetime, here Chris told us about Mermaid Pool, legend has it there was one fine-looking mermaid who lured a man into her cave one night, and he was never seen again. Sounds like an average night at Hanks. 

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Next, we chased the sun, and the farm’s newest stallion, stopping now and again to see the area’s indigenous birdlife, plants and flowers. The area is home to—amongst many, many other plant species—proteas, pin cushions, and loads of buchu. Since forever, locals believe buchu can heal many an ailment. We stash some in our bags.

In the End

Our Akasha experience is hard to put into words. It’s truly one of the most magical places I have ever been to. It heals your heart and spoon-feeds your soul with its raw, untouched beauty. You’re literally in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the best that nature has to offer. Most cathartic of all, was that it gave me a little space from my first love, Cape Town. And, we returned to the Mother City with a renewed sense of appreciation. I hope to visit Akasha every year. Otherwise I don't know how long Cape Town and I would last? Ok, ok, CT, if you’re listening, you know I love you, right?

Image via Just James

Image via Just James

Some Parting Words

What’s in a name…Akasha is a kind of fifth super-element: a binding force between the other four elements. It’s also thought to represent the realm of promise, of paths not yet taken. So, if your soul is also in need of a bit of TLC, best you take this path not taken, and experience Akasha Mountain Retreat and all it has to offer. 

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If you want a break form cooking too, Chris can arrange cooked breakfasts and deliveries from a delicious deli in town. Chris can also organize a local masseuse who will literally give you the best massage of your life. To book your stay at one of my all-time favourite spots, email Chris on info@akasharetreat.co.za or go to

Written by Kari Collard. Images via Just James.