Sunday, October 25, 2015

Akasha Mountain Retreat - the house

Night 3: Off to a Moroccan inspired house, Akasha, in the high hill country behind Heidelberg
Everyone who had been here said to us we would absolutely LOVE this place and we did. We were invited to stay for two nights, which is always a good period to review a place properly. One night means you arrive, stay the night and leave the next morning giving you very little time to explore the place and the area it is in, get to know the locals and the staff and experience some of the differences, the drawcards and activities on offer to visitors. Akasha had lots to show us and we had time to wind down and stop a while instead of moving swiftly along to the next place
We agreed to be in Heidelberg by 2pm, where we would met the owner Chris van der Walt at Delish Deli so we could follow him to Akasha. In fact we arrived there just before one, which enabled us to have some lunch. They make great pies and you can order these to take away to enjoy on your trip or where ever you are staying. See link here
When Chris and his wife Elana arrived, we followed them through the outskirts of Heidelberg and then up the dirt road for approximately 12 kilometres, climbing all the time. It's a good road and you don't need a 4x4 . We came to the top of the hill and the countryside opened up before us. The hills slope down steeply towards the large dam below and then climb again beyond it towards the far Langeberg mountains. You can see no houses, no people, only nature
The house is concealed a little way down the hill and is magnificent. It is in a Cape Maroc style (the owners term) and built for relaxed living and casual entertaining indoors and out
Parking is above the house
The entrance. The whole house is painted a shade of warm desert sand
What a view to enjoy from a hammock slung onto the fruiting mulberry tree. We had some of those with our breakfast
Into the lounge with its built in divans. They are made of concrete and fitted with comfortable foam mattresses. There is a small library of books and games but no television. As the owners say on their website, an ideal off-grid location in which to "disconnect from digital & reconnect with nature". There is a Bluetooth/analog speaker for your iPod/phone. And there is also a cell phone signal, so you won't be cut off entirely. But you should be, this is a place to come and de-stress and relax
Wonderful views from every window and small Moroccan touches everywhere. The Sanskrit word Akasha means space or sky or "to shine or radiate". In Hindi it's the ether, the basis and essence of all things in the material world. There is a bed of mint in the front garden and the first thing Lynne did on arrival was make a refreshing pot of mint tea
The house is full of mineral samples and crystals because Elana van der Walt has a very good collection and uses them for healing
A shelf for crockery
One of the two bathrooms in the main house with the handmade Moroccan style tiles they had made locally
One of two mosaic glass windows made by a local craftswoman
A Moroccan painted cupboard front used as artwork
A painted chest, a shuttered window, a lamp and a decorated mirror all add texture to the house
A lamp which casts magical lacy shadows when lit. All the ceilings are of reeds locally known as spaansriet
The wonderful view from our bedroom
Interesting quartz crystals with inclusions
The Langeberg mountains in the evening mist
Our bedroom doors
The cutlery shelf has everything you need
and so do the coffee and tea shelves
Another view of the lounge with the dining table
Look either side of the console table at the two enormous tree trunks which support the roof
There is a Dover stove for traditional wood-fired baking and extra heating in winter
The kitchen is filled with light. It is a very Green house. The stove, hob, fridge and the water heating all run on gas. The lighting is all solar powered from batteries, which are re-charged by photovoltaic panels on the roof. There is a large granite chopping block so visitors don't wreck the countertops by chopping food on them. One did. And there is a singing kettle. And clean fresh spring water for drinking is piped into the sink through its own tap
One of the two bathrooms has a huge walk in shower. The water is brown and smells a little of sulphur from local tannins and minerals in the water, but is perfectly safe
Our bedroom
Good crisp linen, huge, comfortable bed and lots of storage
Our en suite bathroom also had a huge Cleopatra bath. They are not that easy to get in and out of and use a lot of water, but are great to lie in for the view
and it also has a shower
The second bedroom
is also very comfortable and has views
The third bedroom has single beds
The humidity and rainfall are high in this area, so the land is green at this time of the year
There is a huge outdoor 'lounge' at the side of the house with a table and chairs, a divan and an outdoor shower
The front lawn
At the back of the house is a separate suite being the villa’s 4th bedroom with bathroom en-suite. Great for older members of a large family staying here?
It also has magnificent views
On the second evening we were joined by Chris and Elana after supper. They are well known as they used to own a very successful hand painted clothing business in the V&A Waterfront called Indygo Artwear

We lit a fire in the fire pit and sat out in the warm evening air
And sang along softly under our breath to the songs we knew. Thank you both for a wonderful stay. It was just what we needed, a chance to decompress and properly relax
© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2015

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