Named after the elusive and mystical African wild cat, Caracal sits perched on a hill on the edge of the Klein Karoo. Inspired by the wooden cabins of Northern Scandinavia, here is an incredibly stylish box built on the edge of a hill surrounded by rocky semi-desert. Made from sustainable Siberian Larch, it breathes in the sun – emitting a warm forest smell throughout winter and summer months.
Beautifully considered it keeps cool and breezy in summer, warm and cosy in winter. This is amplified by the easy-inside out feeling; almost every exterior wall is made of glass. These are floor-to-ceiling windows that slide open transforming the light-touch cabin into an open-everywhere platform.
Add expansive views across the mountain valley and this chalet couldn’t be more magical, particularly on hot summer days or when the sun sets and everything turns golden. Just as special is the wide open sky strewn with stars and touched with the early morning light, filled with bird calls and even, for those lucky enough, perhaps the cry of the elusive Caracal.
Made up of three suites – the main bedroom is adjacent to the living area and alongside the pool deck. Here is a black free-standing tub and outdoor shower. The second is a little more private, accessed over a natural path and set away from the house, while the third is down a set of steep stairs alongside of the house; this has a completely different back view. This lower suite is also attached to what could be a teenager or kid’s bunk room – eight three-quarter, extra length bunks made from beautiful dark wood and lined as if on a train carriage.
These bunks, plus the room configuration and divine living, eating, swimming areas mean it’s as easily a party house as it is an inter-generational or multi-family hideaway. One can imagine long lazy days with kids running wild in the veld, easy lunches and afternoons drinking G&Ts around the pool or sundowners pontificating around the fire at the back (like every good African hideaway there is of course a Braai or BBQ area).
As if this isn’t enough, the wonderful team can also organize a picnic up on the hills, decamping caravan style with umbrellas and rugs to set up a bohemian style bar in the wild. There is also a staff member who is on hand to help with any supplies if things run low and if asked nicely can cook up an exceptional breakfast.
This is done in the full kitchen attached to a tucked away scullery. The living room is setup with deep leather couches, and clutches of design books. A variety of games can be found scattered casually on leather trunks and side tables. There’s also a full honesty bar and beautiful floating fireplace to light up when the evenings get chill. It may not be needed at all, but as a nice party trick a fancy smart TV rises out a leather trunk.
Equally impressive is even with this level of slickness Caracal is completely off-grid. It runs one hundred percent on solar power, has it’s own water filtration system (providing the sweetest H2O on tap) and phones will only connect through WiFi (i.e. no network signal within a 10km radius).
If you’re after a cabin in the mountains, and don’t want to skip on any of life’s pleasures then this is the place for you. In fact, here it’s quite the opposite; you can probably dial up the pleasure meter in every conceivable way.
What we love!
- The design of the house encourages full use of communal space but has enough private get-away places
- The individual suites, hidden patios, front and back decks, plus of course the vast open veld means there’s definitely place for individual or couple time
- The pool area with deep loungers and strategic umbrellas call-out for days of easy lounging
- The games and design books strewn across what feels like every available surface
- The warm forest scent of the Siberian Larch, Caracal’s main building material
- Infinite night skies make sky-watching and planet spotting a must
- Great for parties and milestone celebrations
- With a sense of luxurious isolation a couple of days here can feel like a month of reset refresh
What you need to know…
- Although children are welcome the pool has a sheer cliff drop off the side so no jumping games allowed and the little ones (and not so little, to be honest) need to be watched at all times
- The staircase to the bunk and southern suite is very steep and again kids must be monitored or helped down
- Access is via a dirt road so leaving the sports car at home is a must
House and Leisure | Photography: Greg Cox | Styling: Charl Edwards | Production: Storm Ross