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Why did we hand pick De Doornkraal Historic Country House Boutique Hotel?

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  • Set in a tiny, interesting town in a very pretty region
  • The estate offers its own organic wines and gourmet fare
  • Elegant Cape Dutch buildings offer a great base for exploring a seldom visited part of the Cape

De Doornkraal Historic Country House Boutique Hotel

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

In Riversdale


-34.0888, 21.2618


It is easy for travellers to pass the small town of Riversdale by when heading towards more popular Western Cape destinations such as Cape Town and Stellenbosch. However, the quaint countryside village, and the De Doornkraal estate in particular, are worth much more than a fleeting glimpse. Pretty mountain scenery, rivers and streams surround the wine estate, which has been owned by the Steyn family since 1746.

Guests to the farm are accommodated in pretty Cape Dutch style buildings housing luxurious, stylish bedrooms that cater to every whim. Each of the accommodations, from the standard rooms to the private, opulent cottages, has a full en-suite bathroom and comforts such as hairdryers, satellite television, telephones, fans and heaters and tea/coffee facilities. Eco-friendliness is a priority, with the water heated by solar power.

Comfort is assured in the five standard and seven luxury rooms, which accommodate guests in a choice of double or twin beds, with the luxury rooms offering slightly more space. The two cottages are particularly secluded and luxurious, making them idyllic honeymoon retreats. The Garden Cottage has a double bed and is situated in the well-manicured garden. A lounge, along with a patio, means that some valuable private time can be had while enjoying the scenery and the pleasure of a loved one’s company.

Situated next to the vineyards, the Vineyard Cottage has two full en-suite bedrooms, making it a luxurious option for families or groups. Again, a private lounge and patio means that guests are assured of privacy, particularly when considering that the estate’s owners reside off the property. No matter where guests stay, they have free use of the guest house’s two cosy lounges and refreshing swimming pool. 

One of the establishment's most alluring drawcards is the outstanding quality of its food and wine. Wine-making has been part of the Steyn family since the 1800s, when the great-grandfather of De Doornkraal’s current owner cultivated grapes on the De Wingerdt (The Vineyard) farm in the Langstraat area of Riversdale. Keeping with tradition, De Doornkraal’s vineyard was established in 2008 and has been producing award-winning red and white wines since 2011. Aligning with the environmentally-friendly principles of the estate, the vineyard utilises no pesticides or herbicides.

Wine is expertly produced in the farm’s 150 year old barn, which has been converted into a state-of-the art winery and air-conditioned cellar. Named after the Steyns’ original vineyard, the on-site De Wingerdt Restaurant serves up a varied range of cuisine of the highest calibre. The restaurant offers dishes inspired by flavours from Europe, the Mediterranean, Asia and North Africa, and after ordering a meal, guests may notice the chef picking ingredients straight from the vegetable garden. 

Between meals, guests can explore the Riversdale area, which offers activities ranging from horse riding, to mountain biking, hiking, fishing, abseiling, paragliding and golf. The town is a short drive away from the sea, the Klein Karoo and the Garden Route’s huge range of attractions, making it a perfect base for exploring this region of immense beauty, history and variety.

Rates & Summary

5 Standard Rooms

Each sleeps 2 in double/twin beds
En-suite bath and shower

7 Luxury Rooms

More spacious than standard rooms
Each sleeps 2 in double/twin beds
En-suite bath and shower

Garden Cottage

Sleeps 2 in double bed
En-suite bath and shower
Patio with vineyard views

Vineyard Cottage

Sleeps 4 in double and twin rooms
En-suite bath and shower
Mountain and vineyard views


  • For pricing detail, click on CHECK AVAILABILITY & BOOK ONLINE above


Continental and Full English breakfast included
Lunch and dinner available at on-site restaurant


Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Surrounded by vineyards and mountains in the peaceful Western Cape town of Riversdale, De Doornkraal is a Cape Dutch style country house which provides luxurious accommodation for guests seeking well-heeled relaxation. The country house has a long and esteemed history and offers an authentic, scenic and luxurious Cape Winelands experience. The estate’s award winning organic wines and sumptuous gourmet fare are well worth savouring.


  • Set in a tiny, interesting town in a very pretty region
  • The estate offers its own organic wines and gourmet fare
  • Elegant Cape Dutch buildings offer a great base for exploring a seldom visited part of the Cape


The two cottages are tucked away in the garden and are especially private.

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, swimming costume, swimming towels, golf clubs, binoculars for bird watching.

Road Conditions

All roads leading to the guest house are tarred.

Activities & Attractions

  • Swimming pool
  • Wine tasting
  • Nearby: cheese and olive tasting, art galleries, museums, health club, golf courses, fly fishing, mountain biking, hiking trails, horse riding, Cape Town. 


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Verandah / patio
  • Fan included
  • Heater included
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Hair dryer available
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Licensed


  • Water supply good for drinking
  • Electric geysers
  • Eskom electricity

Leisure Amenities

  • No gym available
  • Swimming pool
  • Satellite television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Good cell phone reception
  • Conference facilities available

Access & Convenience

  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops within 2km
  • Nearest fuel within 5km
  • No shuttle service available


  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted


  • Personal safe




Garden Route

Western Cape


The Garden Route encompasses a large section of the Southern Cape coast, bookended by Witsand in the west and Nature’s Valley in the east. In-between are the large towns of Mossel Bay and George, and the smaller, more touristy destinations of Knysna, Plettenberg Bay, Wilderness and Sedgefield.

The region is a narrow zone wedged between the Indian Ocean and the Outeniqua and Tsitsikamma Mountains; and is one of great natural beauty. Despite massive development in recent years, it remains the country’s Garden of Eden. There are gloriously long beaches, lush and mysterious forests, rugged coastlines, amber rivers, and tranquil lagoons. All overlooked by hazy mountain peaks.

The region has been a favourite with locals and overseas visitors for decades. The temperate climate makes it idyllic to visit at almost any time of the year. 

Although the beaches are promoted as the main attraction, the forests are equally important. In fact, they are the gardens of the Garden Route. 

With their magnificent giant Outeniqua yellowwoods (podocarpus falcatus), unfathomable gorges and areas of impenetrable trees, vines, and ferns, the forests have long been a passion for those with a love of nature. Much of their depths remain unexplored and, thankfully, unexploited. Perhaps their greatest treasure is that they are home to a handful of Knysna elephants.

Rivers tumbling from the mountain slopes have carved the landscape into deep gorges and twisting valleys, shaded by steep slopes and plunging cliffs. The Keurbooms and Knysna rivers flow into tidal lagoons at Plettenberg Bay and Knysna respectively. Sedgefield Lagoon, which is also open to the sea, is fed by Swartvlei, the biggest body of water in an area known as South Africa’s lake district. This chain of 5 lakes stretches from Sedgefield to Wilderness.

A large swathe of the region is protected within the Garden Route National Park. The park is made up of disjointed patches of land and therefore has no fixed beginning or end.

The Wilderness National Park, the Tsitsikamma National Park and the Knysna National Lakes area are sections within the greater park

Thanks to the habitats of forest, fynbos, coastline and wetlands, there is a plethora of wildlife, birdlife and marine life. Visitors can also enjoy a vast number of activities and attractions (adrenalin, adventure or relaxation). The innumerable accommodation establishments offer everything from 5-star luxury to basic camping facilities. In recent years, the Garden Route has become something of a gourmet route that will satisfy even the most discerning epicure.

Look out for

National Parks – the Wilderness National Park makes up the western section of the recently formed Garden Route National Park. Situated in the vicinity of Wilderness it protects patches of indigenous forest and fynbos, long stretches of unspoilt coastline and pristine beaches, coastal dunes, rivers and estuaries. It has a series of 5 lakes – something unique in South Africa. The park is renowned for its diversity of activities, which include canoeing, mountain biking, abseiling and kloofing.

Hiking includes the 7km-long Half-Collared Kingfisher Trail; the 5km-long Brown Hooded Kingfisher Trail; the Cape Dune Molerat Trail between Rondevlei and Swartvlei (3km- or 6km-long routes); and the Pied Kingfisher Trail, the longest at 10km.

Birdwatching is popular, with 230 species to be seen, and part of the park is a designated RAMSAR site. There are 3 bird hides - at Rondevlei, Langvlei, and on the Touw River. Accommodation at the Ebb and Flow Rest Camp on the banks of the Touw River takes the form of caravan and camping sites, rondavels and cottages. 

Hiking – the Garden Route is well-known for its large variety of short and multi-day hiking trails. Probably the most popular is the 48km-long 5-day Otter Trail from Storms River Mouth along the coast to Nature’s Valley. The Outeniqua Trail is the longest hike on the Garden Route. It commences at Beervlei hut at an old forestry station just off the Seven Passes Road inland from Sedgefield. From here it traverses 108km of forest and fynbos covering the slopes and foothills of the Outeniqua Mountains. It finishes 7 days later at Harkerville between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. 

The Harkerville Hiking Trail is a 24km-long, 2-day circular trail aimed at fit hikers that don’t have a fear of heights. It starts and ends at the Harkerville Forest Station. 

Kranshoek Coastal Walk is a spectacular 9km-long circular route covering a section of the Harkerville coastline.

The 61km-long Tsitsikamma Trail starts at the Nature’s Valley Rest camp and heads for the slopes of the Tsitsikamma mountains, away from the coast. It finishes at either Storms River Bridge or Storms River Village.

There are also some beautiful slack packing options the 65km-long, 5-day, Garden Route Trail between Wilderness and Knysna; the 48km-long, 5-day Oyster Catcher Trail between Mossel Bay and Gourits River Mouth; and the 17km-long, 2-day Dolphin Trail from Storms River Mouth east along the coast to the Fernery.

Nature Reserves – there are 4 nature reserves in the region. These are the Outeniqua Nature Reserve at George, the Goukamma Nature Reserve between Sedgefield and Buffalo Bay, the Robberg Nature Reserve at Plettenberg Bay, and the Keurbooms Nature Reserve, also at Plettenberg Bay.

All offer good birding and each has a network of hiking trails - except Keurbooms, which has river-based activities instead. 

Forests – these thickly-wooded areas are alive with unique life forms, birdsong, fungi, ferns, frogs and feathered creatures. The towering Outeniqua yellowwoods, some 800 years old, are the pillars of the forests and magnificent in stature. From George through to Nature’s Valley there are several sections of forest where visitors can walk or picnic beneath the canopy. These include the Groeneweide Nature Walk, at Groenkop Farleigh Indigenous Forest near George. 

Around Knysna, there are 3 main forest areas. Goudveld lies north-west of town and is accessed via the rural area of Rheenendal. It is home to the locals’ favourite picnic spot of Jubilee Creek, the worked-out Bendigo gold mine, and the isolated gorge known as Drupkelders. Gouna is north of town and links up with Diepwalle, which lies to the east. The Garden of Eden is a small patch of forest alongside the N2, accessed along boardwalks between Knysna and Plettenberg Bay. Also here is the Harkerville Forest. In the east of the region, around Nature’s Valley, the forests of the Tsitsikamma National Park virtually spill onto the beaches and rocky headlands.   

Beaches and lagoons – for many the wide, sweeping stretches of beach that glint like a string of pearls along the coastline are what the Garden Route is all about. These are found throughout the region and most are accessible via minor roads off the N2. If the rough and tumble of surf isn’t quite your thing then the more tranquil waters of the Knysna Lagoon, the Keurbooms Lagoon at Plettenberg Bay, and the Sedgefield Lagoon are popular options.

The Maritime Museum – visitors who enjoy a good museum should head to Mossel Bay. Here the maritime history of the area can be explored at the Dias Museum Complex where you can board a replica of Bartolomeu Dias’s caravel. There’s also a collection of ancient maps from those days and a good shipwreck display. Here too stands the 500+-year-old Post Office Tree. The museum complex houses a Shell Museum, said to be the largest in South Africa. There is also an aquarium. The complex is open from 09h00-16h45, Monday to Friday, and from 09h00-15h45 on weekends and public holidays.

Golf – for those who consider golf to be a large part of a holiday, there are premier golf courses along virtually the entire Garden Route. These include the 18-hole championship course at Pinnacle Point near Mossel Bay; the 3 courses of Fancourt at George; the Knysna Golf Club; Simola Golf & Country Estate (Knysna); Pezula Championship Course (Knysna); Plettenberg Bay Country Club; and Goose Valley Golf Club (Plettenberg Bay).

When to go

To Do

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