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Country retreat reconnects visitors with nature

In the middle of the COVID lockdown, François and JD arrived at their new home in the mountains. While the pandemic had forced the world to push pause, the concept of slowing down, living a life more removed and just being able to breathe fresh air was something that the couple had been yearning for.

While perhaps in the back of their minds as a retirement project, COVID forced the pair, then working in the world of travel and living in a cramped apartment in Cape Town, to take stock of their lives. They made the bold decision to pack up their lifetime of possessions, their daughter and their dog and embark on a new adventure – a life in the mountains.

Three years on, it’s a life shared with others at Starry Starry Night, their unique country retreat. No one puts it better than François himself: “We believe in a life where we tread gently and live in equilibrium with nature. That we are merely custodians of this land – is our obligation to help heal the planet.”

With this ethos in mind, Starry Starry Night is completely off-grid, sustainably powered through green energy with an environmental focus, from the garden compost bins where guests can collect scraps for the chickens to the vegetable garden where anyone can go and choose spinach, lettuce or beans for their evening salad.

Natural beauty
Located on Route 62, between Montagu and Barrydale, close enough to these towns for convenience yet far away for that middle-of-nowhere feeling, this eco mountain retreat is a place to properly switch off. There are beautiful rivers, natural rock pools and waterfalls to explore; fabulous views to enjoy while indulging in yoga on the deck or sitting in the hot tub; and amazing night skies with minimal light pollution. A stay here can be as action-packed or relaxed as you want it to be.

When it comes to accommodation, there are three options to choose from – the two-bedroom Nova StarDome with its striking geodesic bedroom and spectacular view – and two semi-detached studio-style mountain cottages.

The next time the need to escape and rejuvenate beckons, let the mountains be your haven. This is the perfect place to get away from it all, reconnect with nature and discover real tranquillity.

Text and photography | Janine Avery
To book a stay or for more information, go to

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