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Why did we hand pick Balloch Cottages?

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  • Breathtaking Drakensberg setting in a sheer sandstone valley
  • Excellent flyfishing on the farm and nearby
  • Total tranquility on this remote mountain farm

Balloch Cottages

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

45km from Barkly East

 

-30.7121, 27.6949

About

Balloch is situated in the Wartrail area of the Barkly East district in the Eastern Cape. It is close to the southern tip of Lesotho, which can be accessed via the beautiful Lundeans Nek and is the perfect stop over for trips into and out of Lesotho using the Telle Bridge border crossing.

Balloch has been in the Frost family for 3 generations and lies in one of the most spectacular and unique valleys you will find in South Africa. The Frosts are passionate owners who love sharing its towering crags and abundant sandstone rock formations with their guests. They farm Bonsmara cattle for beef and Dohne merino sheep for mutton and wool, but all within a strict ethos of preserving the environmental diversity and sustainability of the farm. 

Apart from the cottage and annex, Balloch hosts a very, very special camping site, which is partially protected by a huge sandstone overhang. Meals can be arranged for large groups by special request.

Balloch is a natural heritage site because of the Cape and Bearded Vulture colonies that nest in the basalt cliffs which form a broad band in the mountains.

The well known Willow stream runs through the farm, with very easy access for fly-fishermen who will enjoy fishing for both brown and rainbow trout. For the more adventurous, Balloch is the half-way stopover for the popular annual “Skyrun” and “Wartrail Tri-Challenge”, which are extreme adventure race events.

Rates & Summary


Willowstream Cottage

Sleeps 4 - 6 in two en-suite bedrooms with extra bed & divan in open plan area
Open plan kitchen, dining and lounge area with fireplace

Annex

Sleeps 2 as extra room for the cottage

Camping site

A very special spot under a huge overhang
2 shower rooms plus washing up facility
Lights and 1 power point provided

Pricing

Willowstream & Annex

  • R 300 pp sharing
  • Have a look at the website for December Holidays rates, which are per unit only 

Camping site

  • R 120 pp
  • Booked out to one group at a time

Catering

Self-catering
Meals may be requested for big groups 

Kids

  • 0 - 1: Stay for free
  • 2 - 11yrs: R 200 pp
  • Camping under 12 yrs: R 80 pp

Why Stay Here?

Balloch lies at the end of a farm track, 5km after you have turned off the local dirt road - literally at the end of the road.  A more restful setting is hard to imagine. The cottages are less than a stone's throw from one of the best known fly fishing rivers in the area, and there are numerous other activities on the farm. For endurance junkies, Balloch is the halfway stop for the annual “Skyrun” and “Wartrail Tri-Challenge” extreme adventure races.

Summary

  • Breathtaking Drakensberg setting in a sheer sandstone valley
  • Excellent flyfishing on the farm and nearby
  • Total tranquility on this remote mountain farm

Privacy

Willowstream Cottage lies a little further up the valley and is well separated from Glen Shee. The camp site is booked out to only one group at a time.

Things to consider Bringing

Balloch is a good 45 minutes away from the nearest town. Remember to bring all essentials and supplies.

Road Conditions

The regional dirt roads in the area are usually in fair condition.

Activities & Attractions

  • Birding
  • Tennis
  • Mountain climbing
  • Mushroom hunting
  • Boating on the lake
  • Fly fishing for wild trout
  • Guided horse riding trails
  • Mountain and riverside walks
  • Guided hikes to well-preserved San rock art sites
  • Mountain biking - the farm track is ideal for youngsters
  • 5 Day cycle tours

Details

Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Dining table
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood provided
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Periodic housekeeping
  • No laundry service available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • No Catering
  • Full Kitchen
  • Braai area available
  • Gas stove
  • Fridge or minibar
  • Basic cleaning materials

Utilities

  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Gas geysers
  • Hydroelectric power

Leisure Amenities

  • No television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • No cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed

Payment

  • Credit cards not accepted
  • EFT accepted

Gallery

Map

Blog

Friendly N6

Eastern Cape

About

The Friendly N6 route runs between Bloemfontein and East London, connecting the provinces of the Free State and the Eastern Cape. Aliwal North is at the border of the 2 provinces.

South Africa is famous for horizons that stretch for kilometres, so wide open spaces and endless skies are a traveller’s constant companions on the N6. The route takes one through about 600km of peaceful, diverse and beautiful land, giving one a sense of just how vast the country really is.

The N6’s attractions include everything from sea to snow, interspersed with charming towns. These are only slightly off the beaten highway, and are intriguing and pleasant places to explore. In the Free State, Bethulie and Zastron are within easy travelling distance of the N6, while Reddersburg, Smithfield and Rouxville are main stops along the route.

In the Eastern Cape the towns of Dordrecht, Molteno, Elliot, Rhodes, Burgersdorp, Barkly East and Lady Grey are all worthwhile diversions for curious travellers with time on their hands. For those sticking to the highway, Aliwal North, Jamestown, Queenstown, Cathcart and Stutterheim are along the route. These provide a sufficient diversity of interests and activities for guests. The highway is also relatively close to the Gariep Dam, Oviston and Hogsback Nature Reserves.

Sprawling sheep farms are probably the most obvious and frequent feature of the landscape, but the area is rich in cultural significance and interest. 

Apart from San (or Bushman) history and rock art, there are also interesting museums and art galleries, and fine local arts and crafts. The route’s proximity to the mountain kingdom of Lesotho means that Basotho culture is an important and unique influence on the culture of the area. Xhosa culture is proudly and strongly entrenched in the Eastern Cape.

The hills and towns of this area were witness to the Great Trek. This was the migration of the ‘Trekboers’ from the Eastern Cape across the Gariep River, (previously the Orange River) further into the central interior. It is often mentioned as an example of Afrikaner rebellion, perseverance and endurance. 

This same Afrikaner resilience cost Britain an unanticipated £190 million in the South African (or Anglo-Boer) War, which is commemorated at many sites and towns along the N6 route. 

Travelling south to East London from Aliwal North, tourists are afforded a majestic view of the Maluti mountains of Lesotho, as well as a sample of the Great Karoo in Stutterheim and Queenstown. East London itself is a lovely city which really lives up to the ‘friendly’ N6 brand. It has some interesting tangible links to prehistory: the East London Museum displays the last remaining dodo egg, as well as the body of a coelacanth, one of the oldest species on the planet. This fish was thought to be extinct until one was found alive on a fishing boat in the East London harbour in 1938.

Look out for

Relax and rejuvenate in Aliwal North’s hot springs and appreciate its beautiful old buildings. 

The Kologha Forest and the Kubisi Indigenous State Forests are less than 10km from Stutterheim. Large swathes of ancient indigenous forest are home to yellowwoods, ironwoods, white stinkwoods, Cape holly and Cape chestnuts with montane grassland cresting the slopes. Six well-marked forest trails, from 3-17km long, start and end at the Kologha Picnic site. They lead to waterfalls and good trout fishing and birdwatching spots. Rare birds found here include the endangered Cape parrot, grey-crowned crane and white-starred robin.  Mountain bik­ing and horse rid­ing are allowed on certain trails. Maps are avail­able at the forest kiosk. 

The Thomas River Historical Village is in the Amathole mountain region on the 31 000ha Thomas River Conservancy between Stutterheim and Cathcart on the N6 highway.  The area was named after Thomas Bentley, a deserter from the Van Der Kemps Missionary who was shot dead with an arrow while crossing the river. The conservancy offers a variety of outdoor activities including hunting, hiking, rock art talks and trails, fishing, birding, and paintball. The village dates back to the 1870s, has a popular restaurant and houses museums themed on wagons, rock art, pubs and vintage motor cars.

Mgwali Cultural Village near Stutterheim showcases Xhosa culture, with crafts and traditional food on sale. 

Tiffindell Ski and Alpine Resortnear the picturesque village of Rhodes is South Africa’s only ski resort. It offers snow adventures on the slopes of Ben McDhui, the tallest mountain in the Eastern Cape. 

Lady Grey and Cathcart are quaint, peaceful towns to visit. There is a Cape vulture sanctuary 12km from Lady Grey at the Karringmelkspruit gorge. Cathcart is known for its wildflowers, San rock art, excellent hang-gliding launch sites, fishing, birdwatching and adventure activities. 

Malaria-free game viewing is possible at the Lawrence De Lange Nature and the Longhill Nature Reserve near Queenstown, as well as at Tsolwana Game Reserve near Tarkastad. Big 5 game viewing is possible at the Mpongo and Inkwenkwezi Private Game Reserves, both within 35km of East London. 

At the N6 route’s end, East London, visit the Python Park and Lion Park, the Queen’s Park Zoo, the East London museum and the aquarium. Enjoy the shopping, restaurants and, of course, surf the waves. The Calgary Transport Museum (5km north of East London on the N6) has a quaint collection of carts, wagons and buggies. It is open daily from 09h00 to 16h30.

When to go

To Do

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