The weekend in Botriver

Who murdered the merlot.

Botriver is one of those in-between towns. In between Elgin and Franchoek. In between Cape Town and Hermanus. In between dust and sticks. The dogshow at Engen Garage is the last gateway before prisoners of elevators and calendar appointments flee into fynbos country.

Van der Stel Pass feels like driving through a farmers backyard. Vague patchworks and scars of tentative farming between graveyards of earthmoving equipment. In a valley of haunted farm houses a few wineries work on bleeding out some of the country’s best shiraz. Our cabin at kol kol was in lockdown during an entire spectrum of weather conditions. It’s built on the edge of a small ecosystem of luminous veld which any uct botanist would go nuts about. Primal feelings of feeding and fire burning take over when you’re bathing in rooikraans smoke and copper mountain water like a rite of initiation. Instead of speaking in tongues, you’re speaking in afrikaans. The wind blasts over a million year sandstone and into fires and slamming doors, giving an incessant waking up feeling of the cabin blowing away or burning down. Fishing rods, slate stones, pine walls, peach stone floors, tables from wine barrels. All the hallmarks of ecological building with the focus clearly on comfort. A jacuzzi bath on the deck is heated by a wood burning feat of local engineering which allows you to sit in steam while half the book of roberts birds of southern africa sing sweet ringtones outside. When the sun comes out you realize where bon iver and heaven get their inspiration. The best weekend break is where you feel far enough from any sense of time. Mental patterns become like easy board games. Trivial pursuit. Cluedo. Who murdered the merlot.