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I recently turned 24 and for my birthday, I was gifted a surprise weekend away. I was told simply to pack enough for an overnight stay and that I needed to bring my costume. We hit the road, heading north of Cape Town, towards our retreat in Ceres.

A1AB4EA1-BBD1-42AC-A6C2-D3E3CF7EDF87South Africa is a country with a lot to offer. Even locally, just travelling an hour and a half from a city, brings you to a whole new world where nature prevails. From Cape Town, we saw the landscapes change, to that of fields with grazing animals and the changing of ever-present mountains in sight.

Processed with VSCO with c1 presetDriving towards Ceres, there are four main roads to choose from, all of which are the ‘scenic route.’ With the GPS in my hands as the backseat driver, I forgot to look at the map and we missed the turnoff. It was a stroke of luck, because we got to drive through Bainskloof Pass, a scary, albeit beautiful drive, with water trickling down the mountain.

Ceres known for producing fruit, although we soon discovered that it had so much more to offer. We stayed at Aurum Lily Lodge: six wooden cabins, wedged between a fruit farm and little lake. It was beautiful: there were ducks in the water, miniature mountains as a backdrop and greenery all round.

4EA136E2-9138-4639-A8F8-50E45D5CABACThe cabin had an upstairs bedroom, with a standalone bath positioned by the big windows, offering the spot for views and relaxation. Downstairs, we had an open planned kitchen opening up to the lounge, fit with a fireplace and connecting deck. The cabin was filled with books and boardgames, giving it a homely feel. The best part, though, was the outside patio: to one side, there was a bomma and to the other, was a fire-heated jacuzzi!

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Coming from Cape Town in the cold, this cabin was a winner in terms of a winter retreat. We enjoyed our stay, lounging for hours and even trying our hand at canoeing around the lake, which almost landed us both in the water. In the evening, we sat making smores by the fire and by morning, there were ducks at the door, eager to wake us up.

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99813911-0BE2-41AD-B21E-B2CB1BAEDB23En route back to the Mother City, we decided to explore some of the area. This brought us to Tulbagh, a small town not far from Ceres. Heres, we enjoyed a meal at xxxxx Hotel, before buying tickets at the tourism office (R15 pp). These tickets gave us entry into 4 museums along the main road: one was about to a devastating earthquake in the area some years ago, another to a church and the others were Victorian houses.

The little venture out of the city was a great way to celebrate my birthday and escape to rest our minds. Where have you travelled locally lately?

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