Did you know?
On 29 September 1969, the town of Tulbagh was hit by an earthquake that measured 6.5 on the Richter scale, causing serious damage to most of the historical buildings on Church Street.
The Blue Butterfly Retreat Centre revels in its tranquil setting on a 153ha nature reserve called Welbedacht outside the town of Tulbagh in the Western Cape. It is about 120km from Cape Town.
It runs a year-round schedule of retreats, and its amenities are marketed to expert facilitators who conduct, in the main, mind and body wellness courses. These retreats may run for as long as a week, or just for a weekend. The focus is on meditation, yoga, massage, nature walks and guided walks around its labyrinth.
Guests can book for private retreats, as individuals or with a group of friends. The four garden cottages (sleeping two to six people) have homely features such as fireplaces for warmth on wintry nights. Linen is provided and each cottage has a well-equipped kitchen, ideal for self-catering. However, some of the retreats do include meals as part of the package. Visitors can also book the entire retreat space for a private gathering on a self-catering basis.
The centre’s main building is a double-storey restored thatched barn. On the ground floor there is a large studio, a verandah and a kitchen. On the top floor there are an additional two bedrooms sleeping up to four guests each, with en suite bathrooms. Outdoors there is a large fire pit for night-time gatherings.
The centre is largely unpretentious, and the aim is to allow the natural elements to work their healing, and for visitors to spend time in the gardens in quiet contemplation, far from the madding crowds.
Welbedacht is under the stewardship of CapeNature, the Western Cape’s conservation authority. Its vegetation is diverse, and walking trails of 15 to 45 minutes allow visitors to explore the plant life, bird life and small species of game found here. Visitors can also cycle around the nature reserve, while there are numerous activities on offer in the surrounding areas.
There are a number of dams on site – some stocked with fish for anglers and others for swimming. On one of the neighbouring farms it is possible to arrange for horse riding, and massages can be organised in the privacy of the cottages.
Walking the on-site labyrinth is a grounding experience, while a trip into the town of Tulbagh is also an interesting experience for those who love a bit of history and small-town vibe.