Our ladies weekend getaway at Calais Wine Estate Self-catering cottage in Paarl

Paarl has many secret gems and the Calais Wine Estate, the oldest wine farm in Paarl is one of them. We spent the last weekend of the school holidays at one of the Kleinvallei self-catering cottages. Kleinvallei used to be a boutique wine farm that was privately owned. Now this farm is part of the Calais Wine Estate.

Kleinvallei Family cottage.

Friday Chillbuzz

The hosts, farm manager, Vladimir and his wife, Helena, were warm and friendly. The welcoming tone was already set by Maritza, the Office manager who took care of our booking and received us with a broad smile the Friday afternoon when Sasha and I arrived.

We settled in and then took a walk on the upper slopes where we saw rolling vineyards of black grapes, a dam hidden by tall pine trees and two houses perched on the upper banks of the dam. That was a pleasing visual treat.

Later the afternoon, Vladimir had tried to tune the television channels. Interestingly, only channel that had a good signal, was a Russian channel. After many failed attempts to improve on the snowy local channels we were getting, he offered to connect us to DSTV. Of course, we refused because we didn't need television on our farm breakaway. Vladimir is a chatterbox.

"Have you taken a walk and picked some grapes? I hope you didn't eat the black grapes," he said, in his heavy Russian accent, when he heard that I had taken a walk up the slope earlier. "Those grapes aren't table grapes, they are wine grapes. They will make your tummy turn and turn." All this talk was accompanied with gestures of the grapes passing down the throat and then circulating in the belly area.

Walk along the Calais Wine Estate vineyards on the upper slopes.
"You must bring your family and friends here. This is a piece of paradise. You can also come when it is guava season. You can ride your bike here, bring your tents..."

I laughed at his enthusiastic sales pitch, wondering what Vladimir would do if we should really pitch up witth our tents. After all, camping is in our blood.

I was the braai master and cooked up a veggie potjie for supper. We sat on the large stoep for the greater part of the evening, chatting up a storm.
Saturday Fun Galore

Calais Wine Estate, Paarl. View of the big dam.
We had the whole day on Saturday to enjoy all the farm pleasures. After a generous farm breakfast, we took off to spend time at the main dam with its own log cabin. The short walk takes you through vineyards and olive groves. The dam and its surroundings are spectacular. The group, except me, enjoyed sitting on the diving platform because we felt it would be too risky to swim in the massive dam.
Calais farm dam
I stayed put on the deck, watching the family enjoying the views from their small platform. There was no way that I was going to risk sitting on that flimsy board. The board sank deeper into the quiet waters with each additional weight. Then the coaching sessions on "Facing Your Fears" started spontaneously. Kristen, my niece, and Sasha, my daughter, were now the experts.
Kristen calculated the weight distribution to strengthen her persuasion. I tried descending about three steps, then gave up. My height phobia was kicking in. After much coaxing from the group and feeling a bit foolish, I had to "face my fears", as my niece, Kristen said. Eventually a nervous me also managed to reach the diving platform. Visions of meeting the carp family down below was thankfully just the workings of an over -active imagination.
The "facing your fears" lessons took a turn. It was Sasha and Kristen's chance to bolster their courage when we left the dam. Earlier, we saw a cow and two horses grazing in the nearby fields on our way to the dam.The smaller horse looked irritated when we passed, but he stayed half-hidden in the bush. When we returned from our dam experience, the agitated horse was grazing in an enclosure along the path.
When this jumpy horse saw us again, he neighed, lowered his head slightly and gave us the eye. Within seconds after Sasha had just calmly told us to "show no fear", our neighing steed with flaring nostrils and flapping lips, came trotting towards us. We were out there in a flash, with the two "fear-bashing" maidens at the front of the pack.
Well, that ended the lessons on mind over matter for the rest of the day.
Weekend Getaways in the Western Cape
Facing your fears team Sasha and Kristen.
Picnic at the swimming pool.
Later we frolicked in the swimming pool and enjoyed our picnic lunch beautifully prepared and presented by Peaches and Cream, a restaurant in Paarl. The picnic basket and four complimentary wines from the Calais stable were part of the Weekend package deal at Calais Wine Estate.

We rounded the day with a sunset walk to the third dam where Vladimir had caught his seven well-sized carp.

And, finally we retired at our magical cottage with sundowners.
If you want your family to experience a holiday on a working farm, Calais Wine Estate would be a good option.















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