A Retreat to Naries Namakwa

The Northern Cape is the largest province in Africa, and therefore a trip to the land of vast desert, gemstones, and flowers is essential for explorers looking to take to the open road, and want the peace and quiet that only being in the middle of nowhere brings.

I decided to experience this tranquillity by visiting Naries Namakwa Retreat, located just outside of Springbok.

Set in a 6,000 hectare estate, the accommodation options include en suite rooms in the Manor House (where dinner and breakfast are served, and the Wi-Fi is accessible), two self-catering cottages, and three mountain suites.

I was in the latter, so I got back in my car and followed the guide to the mountain suite. Set next to the other two suites, but still far apart to ensure utmost privacy, it included a well-stocked minibar, which ensured spectacular drinks for sundowners, the beds were laid with lush pillows and linen, and the en suite bathroom included a spacious bath littered with flowers and candles. Two loungers were set on the veranda, overlooking the vast rocky, wild landscape. This is truly a place to relax in the stillness and beauty of nature.

Dinners at Naries are three courses of lovingly prepared international flavours. I enjoyed tomato gazpacho with a tot of vodka, BBQ sirloin steak with vegetables, and finished off with a chocolate and coffee torte. Each course has a suggested wine from the extensive wine list.

The estate has a number of hiking trails winding through it – from easy paced 3 km paths, to over 5 km walks through the wilderness. During the Quiver Tree hike, the guide pointed out some of the natural splendours of the area, including April Fools – a red bud that makes people expect the flower season early – and some of the animals that call the estate home, including springbok and orynx, and a wealth of birdlife.

The team at Naries put together a picnic of epic proportions, with freshly baked olive bread, cheeses, kebabs, chickpea salad, veggie wraps, mini pizzas, pomegranate ice tea, and, to finish on a sweet note, crème brûlée. As I tucked into this feast, overlooking the expanse of natural rugged beauty spread before me, the sky turning from light blue to deep purple as the sun set, I revelled in the quiet and tranquillity that being in the middle of nowhere brings.