IN THE DAM & AMONGST THE FYNBOS - AN OUTDOOR RETREAT WITH MRS SA AND HER OLYMPIC CHAMP

Mrs South Africa 2020, Jaqueline Ferns and Lyndon Ferns, her record-breaking, Olympic swimmer husband, take a romantic retreat to KolKol – a mountain lodge near Theewaterskloof Dam.

Jacqueline and Lyndon Ferns on their wedding day. (PHOTO: SUPPLIED)

KolKol Mountain Lodge is surrounded by exceptional views of the vast plant diversity in the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve with sweeping views of the Babylonstoren Mountains. The log-style cabin and fynbos pod accommodation was set up by Rudi and Karen Oosthuyse. The couple built this private and secluded retreat for folks needing to escape the noise of their daily lives and just enjoy the present moment – a perfect spot for newly-crowned Mrs South Africa and her husband.

Rudi explains, “You get a feeling that you’re out in the wilderness. There’s no buildings, no noise”. Karen adds, “It’s the perfect setting to connect with someone again with no distractions. We wanted people to realise what’s important in life. When you leave KolKol, you realise you need to sit back a bit and take in what’s going on around you”.

Rudi designed the cabins and pods himself, inspired by the French Stave method of using full, round logs of pine on the exterior. Inside, you’ll find natural stone from the surrounding area lining the walls. This stone was taken out of the Earth to plant more proteas and fynbos around the lodge.

Rudi and Karen paid careful consideration to the natural environment when building KolKol. Rudi explains, “These pods were designed to have a minimal footprint on the surroundings, so it’s floating a little bit above the fynbos”. The Oosthuyse’s goal was for guests to feel as though they were truly immersed in nature when they slid open their doors.

Escaping here for a getaway is Polokwane businesswoman and Mrs South Africa, Jacqueline Ferns and her husband, Lyndon Ferns, an Olympic swimming Gold Medallist and the General Manager of a large car company.

Married for 5 years, the couple met on Facebook while Jacqueline was working in Dubai. Together, the Ferns’ are Emergency Foster Care Parents and their home acts a temporary safe place for babies in need of extra care before adoption.

Lyndon has competed at two Olympic games. In 2004, he won gold and set a world record as part of the Men’s 4x100m Freestyle Relay Team. Understanding the importance of teamwork, Lyndon has been there for Jacqueline throughout her Mrs South Africa journey. 

“We’re really good teammates”, Jacqueline shares. “You have to have a teammate in life who not only wants to conquer his dreams but yours as well – together”.

The rollercoaster ride of being crowned as Mrs South Africa has kept the couple very busy. Jacqueline has found herself stretching between Polokwane to manage her three businesses and Johannesburg to partake in her duties as Mrs SA.

Although this journey has been a fun adventure for the Ferns, the couple haven’t gotten much of a chance to get outdoors – an activity the two have a shared love for.

“If we ever have a free weekend we love to go away, just us two. Especially to beautiful places like the Kolkol lodge here in the mountains just to escape life and spend time together”. Lyndon adds, “It doesn’t matter where we go, as long as I’m outdoors I’m immediately relaxed”.

The retreat is close to the Theewaterskloof Dam on the Sonderend River. Thanks to the recent rains, it’s once again a centre for water sports. Manager of Theewaterskloof Sports Club, Jacques Dreyer shares, “We are now 101,7% full” – a sweet relief following the Day Zero crisis where the dam was a mere 10,4% full and Cape Town only had three days of water left.

Now, Jacqueline and Lyndon can enjoy a host of activities out in the water, including kayaking, dinghy sailing, kite surfing, water-skiing, and windsurfing.

After the fun in the sun, the Ferns were treated to some TLC – outdoor aromatherapy massages from the privacy and comfort of their own cabin. Next, they took a dip in KolKol’s famous wood-fired hot tubs. As a first of its kind in South Africa, these hot tubs require no installation or electricity. Because of its popularity, the Oosthuyses decided to create a portable version for the market. 

Soaking it all in, Jacqueline remarks, “I think the word for KolKol is tranquil. This place is truly a dream”.

Reflecting on their year, Jacqueline shares this: “It’s truly amazing the doors that Mrs South Africa has opened for us. The things we learnt from each other in this process was phenomenal. It was most definitely worth our while. We are so happy we did it”.

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