02 October 2011 by Julienne du Toit

A One-Off, Just for Two

What a delightful thing it is, to find a place to stay that has been lovingly renovated, where you feel you footprint is light upon the earth.

I once slept over with my husband in a cottage called Just for Two. It was in the mystical Baviaanskloof wilderness, where two valleys converge.

It was a distinctively Karoo-styled building had last seen use when Italian Prisoners of War were housed there sixty years ago.

Once we’d opened all the doors to let the day’s steamy mugginess out, its enchantment became clear in the gentle lamplight.

There was a simple bathroom under the stars - bath, basin and shower. Elegant and spacious, and oh so cool.

An elegant, stylish bedroom. We were lulled to sleep by the gentle drizzle outside.

In the morning we prepared a simple breakfast in the comfortable kitchen. Everything breathed love. Care had been taken over everything, yet it was simple, solid and country. There was a recycling system going.

And the outside toilet, intriguingly, had a ‘growing roof’. On top of the corrugated iron, there was a layer of earth, some chicken wire and sourfig (goukom) growing on top, hardy and shallow-rooted.

In the morning, we went to walk the nearby Chartres labyrinth, made of local stone and the centre of a particularly sweet peace.

Not far away the owners, Jeanne and Linden Booth, had set up a centre where they teach alternative building techniques. In fact the meditation room, cunningly, doubles as a building demonstration room. Here you can see cob building (clay, straw and water) at work, as well as strawbale building, the various mixes of plasters, methods of trapping stones between fencing to create a solid thermal north-facing wall.

I felt gently bathed in idealism with a practical bent. Best of all, they had set up two of their employees with a cob guesthouse using a way of funding they called Another Way Trust. Of which more is to come…

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