01 October 2012 by Chris Marais

Night of a Thousand Stars

The Nieu Bethesda Festival is the kind of event you book your room early for. The village is full of visitors in the spring, who have come to enjoy the pure Karoo and see the shows.

Keys to the rustic cottage – full of Nieu Bethesda charm

So, like a pair of real dodos, we make a very late decision to attend the recent Nieu Bethesda Festival and, of course, there’s no room at the inn. The little village in the Sneeuberg (Snowy Mountains) is packed for the weekend.

A beautiful fused-glass bathroom window

'Ha! I have found a rustic cottage for the 2 of you,' says Katrin Allemann of The Outsiders Accommodation. Normally we stay in 1 of her excellent self-caters, but, like I said...

'Rustic? We’ll take rustic!'

Jules and I have slept rough before. In fact, we normally do our road trips on the cheap and (preferably) not-so-nasty. We know 'rustic'.

Then we see the frogs on the floor. Painted frogs in jump mode. It so happens we love frogs. When frogs are around the water is clean and the eco-system has hope.

Once we arrive in Nieu Bethesda we get the key from Katrin, pay her a very modest little fee and are directed to the outskirts of the village, ‘beyond the cattle grid’, so to speak. I am starting to fear ‘rustic’ just a little. Getting on in years, you know. Not the fiercely tough little hobo-traveller I used to be.

The cottage is part of an accommodation complex called A Thousand Stars. And it’s perfect for the likes of us: kitchenette, bed that works, shower that works, few neighbours, and if there are any creatures that crawl or bite, they’re keeping to themselves.

But then come the charming bits. The bits that will make us want to return soon...

Firstly, there’s the Mona Lisa with the bad eye on the blue wall, looking down at us with tolerance and a certain wistfulness.

Then there’s the bottle of Karoo Air in the kitchen. Ponder on that. A little village in the middle of nowhere that sells you its air. Lovely.

How about a lovely glass of fresh Karoo Air?

This is followed by exquisite displays of fused glass all over the place, which obviously indicate that the owner is an artist or, at the very least, on good terms with one.

Then we see the frogs on the floor. Painted frogs in jump mode. It so happens we love frogs. When frogs are around the water is clean and the eco-system has hope. Lots of frogs around this room.

The shower has a sculpted water creature alongside it, an obvious artistic nod to Helen Martins of Owl House fame. That also gets our motors running.

But the thing I really love about A Thousand Stars is there’s a library in the spare room full of books: old ones, young ones, deep ones, bodice-ripping ones, thrillers and spy novels. And if you get sucked into one and want to take it home, just leave R10 on the kitchen table.

The arty bedroom, complete with a wistful-looking Mona Lisa

Category: Attractions


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