Peace of Eden Vegan Forest Retreat & Backpackers Lodge in Knysna
Tucked away in the mystical mountains of Knysna, we found a piece of Eden – or rather a PEACE of Eden. Whilst traveling to Port Elizabeth for IronMan 2017, this retreat-style, 100% vegan backpackers lodge offered Don & I a tranquil, homey overnight stay on the way. From the cosy cabin to the incredible cuisine, Peace of Eden exceeded every expectation.
Peace of Eden has a variety of budget-friendly accommodation options on offer. The enchanting double-storey Gwendolyn’s Glade Cottage (R1250 per unit per night) is the one we called home. We were greeted on a wooden veranda draped in bright, beautiful bougainvillea which overlooks the garden and lily pond. The veranda leads into an open-plan kitchen and lounge with two single beds and a bathroom downstairs. Dreamy touches include fairly-lights spun upon the wall and a wood-packed fireplace for when it gets cold. We were blown away by the hospitable welcome bag filled with candles and incense, Agapanthis seeds from the garden, a resource booklet, and activity guide – what a wonderful surprize! And making our way upstairs, we found the attic bedroom with dreamy dormer windows. It is romantic and serene – perfect for a cuddle, meditation or purely a great night’s sleep.
Other than the cosy cabins, Peace of Eden also offers retro canvas forest tents (R799 per unit per night) within the indigenous forest. Think rustic glamping! The tents, built on timber decks, sleep up to two guests each and surrounds a communal kitchen, showers and loo. It is quite an exceptional experience – not only do you doze off with crickets and monkeys scattering through the forest ferns, but you get to stare at nature when you wash your back or take a poo.
You can expect only the finest, most flavoursome food from this veggie mom and daughter crew. Peace of Eden is now 100% vegan – how incredibly cool! They even advise all guests not to bring, serve or consume meat in their peaceful paradise. Heart-warming & home-cooking describes their decadent dishes best. We dined al fresco on our veranda, under the starry Knysna skies. The indulgent dinner comprised of pita bread with smokey hummus, full-fleshed olives, a gorgeous gnocchi dish and crisp veggies with a tangy tahini dressing. For breakfast, we headed up to the main deck were Don devoured a savoury vegan omelet stuffed with aubergine, fried potato, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, pepperdew, parsley, and thyme. I opted for a fresh fruit and nut cereal bowl with maple syrup and chewy dates.
Peace of Eden encourage guests to explore and embrace the ethos of their lifestyle. Reflect and restore by the peaceable pond, fly freely on the garden swing or twirl a hula hoop around your hip. For the adventurist, there is a guided walk along the Ancient Elephant Trail and for the musician, a recording and publishing studio equipped to produce professional sound and audio-visual productions.
There are a few factors that make Peace of Eden even more memorable than your everyday stay. The showers are powered by the river stream seeping through the forest and the 5litre water bottle found in every kitchen is filled with dewdrops of rain. Visitors feel like friends and friends feel like family. Thank you, Jen and Jess, for sharing your soul-soothing space. We eagerly anticipate returning for another breakaway.