Vergelegen happens to have a Camphor forest and offers visitors a chance to picnic amongst giant peacocks, white table cloths, picnic baskets and roaming waiters. The walk from the car park to the picnic in itself is mesmerising. The Library – originally a winery built in 1816 – was converted to a library during the Phillips era. It is now home to a priceless collection of Sir Lionel Phillips books including ancient and modern history, travel journals and a small collection of Afrikana and French volumes. The grand oak trees, over 300 years old and believed to be the oldest living oak tree in Africa are also a sight to behold, but the rose garden in full bloom was truly a hit for me.
when you first enter the camphor forest, it feels a bit like something from Lord Of The Rings. We thought we might be sharing lunch with ancient elves and hobbits. there is one very over-friendly and naughty peacock who gets up close and personal whilst you snack on your picnic. He quite confidently expects you to surrender some of your baguette!
The picnic itself is nothing to write home about… the usual stuff like hams, potato salad and a very simple cheese platter at the end with coffee -but that’s ok, because the experience of eating in this ancient forest is quite clearly the main highlight.