I clicked on an image of the Treedom villa I spotted on an Instagram feed and was transported to the Treedom website where I caught my first glimpse of the vardos.  How exciting!!  Something so different and colourful and nothing like anything I’d seen before.  I booked immediately – a surprise birthday weekend for Frans.  My only condition was that he couldn’t pack every single camera, toy, bicycle he owns as there just wouldn’t be space!

Debbie and Marc have created a magical wonderland on their property in Wilderness. They moved there from Cape Town, built their home and the villa first, then the current two vardos, the sauna and love pool, with more vardos and other plans in the pipeline.  Everything they’ve created is full of personal touches – references to family members and their own lives – and the love that has been poured into this place is immediately evident.

We stayed in Gypsy (the other one is Owl) – I was attracted to the bright colours and over the top character of it (who doesn’t love an 80’s yellow/pink combo right?) and we simply loved our stay.  Each vardo is in its own enclosed ‘yard’, surrounded by reclaimed wooden fencing, nestled in amongst the trees of the property and accompanied by a greenhouse, star gazing bed, braai and in our case a wooden moon swing.  The woodwork in this space is just fantastic – think little private Afrikaburn (before the bonfire!)

There’s a large bed in the bedroom end of the vardo (with plug points for phones and a shelf for your bits and pieces which is a huge win).  Also the luxurious blanket on the bed is just want you need on an icy winter’s night.  The kitchen is so thoughtfully kitted out – a full gas stove, fridge, Le Creuset pots and pans.  Everything you need is right there.  And then a little shower/toilet space.  It’s exactly the right size.

The greenhouse outside serves as the lounge and dining area.  It’s a great space to relax in, but also to escape cold night air or rainy days.  The moon swing and greenhouse are lit up at night with fairy lights and the entire space comes to life with little lanterns.  It’s enchanted, to say the least.

Wilderness itself has so many things to offer for nature lovers.  We visited a few bird hides and sat in silence giving each other the eyeball as the professionals around us pointed out Blacknecked Grebes and Maccoa Ducks and discussed the length of the toes of the Lesser Swamp Warbler (I’m not kidding!)  We are such amateurs but had fun regardless.  We also enjoyed the most incredible walk along the Brownhooded Kingfisher trail that meanders alongside and across the chocolate milkshake Duiwerivier, ending in a waterfall and deep pool.  It’s an easy stroll but around every corner there is another photo opportunity, so we took our time and treasured it.  And at the end (or back near the beginning) – a fantastic sighting of a pair of Knysna Turaco’s.  They flew right over our heads and the flash of red in the forest was incredible.

Wilderness is magical – we’ll have to visit again soon.  We might just be in time for Unicorn, Angel and Mermaid.