A friend recently asked me whether I’d be interested to barter. Her proposal was for me to take photos of a cottage at Falls Fish Farm (which she does the marketing for) in exchange for a weekend at the said cottage. I couldn’t find a problem with taking photos and traveling to a new destination and promptly agreed to it.
On my way back to the Lowveld from Johannesburg on 26 January I popped in at the farm situated in Schoemanskloof valley. The owner, Dee, introduced herself and took me up the mountain on a rugged dirt road with her little SUV to the hidden stone cottage she affectionately calls “The Mountain Pandokkie“.
Dee’s warm personality immediately made me comfortable in her company. She did most of the talking which I found informative and it also meant I could take in the scenery. The road winds up the mountain and is flanked by indigenous bush. A boulder in the road suddenly blocked our progress. Apparently the baboons regularly protest over dangerous living conditions. A leopard patrols the area although it’s not often been spotted by her. No pun intended.
She showed me the footpaths that they have cut open and lamented on the amount of hard work it cost her to keep them clear. After a five minute drive we arrived at the entrance. The Pandokkie is classified as a heritage building and is surrounded by ancient (and some believe) sacred stone circle ruins. The cottage is made out of stone and has a rustic feel to it. The rooms are spacious and from the wooden deck there is a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains and the lower Schoemanskloof.
I’m glad to report that she is happy with the photos and that I will spend the next weekend there enjoying the fruits of my labour.