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Why did we hand pick Her Majesty's Apology?

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  • Beautiful pastoral setting which invites the adventurous to get outdoors
  • Charming history to the property
  • Comfortable base to explore the numerous charms of the region

Her Majesty's Apology

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

22km from Harrismith


-28.0976, 29.116


The story of the characterful Her Majesty’s Apology begins at the turn of the 19th century, when British soldiers fighting in the Anglo-Boer War razed the house of local farmer Paul Bester. When the war was over, the British rebuilt the homestead, as an apology from Queen Victoria.

Guests can now enjoy comfortable self-catering accommodation in a renovated wing of this historic farmhouse, surrounded by lush, well-established gardens and attractive green grapevines. The house is a tribute to the era of its origin, featuring plenty of antique furniture and interesting artefacts, combining this bygone air with comforting modern amenities.

The house sleeps six guests, with the master bedroom housing a comfortable double bed and the other two featuring twin beds perfect for extra couples, friends or children. The kitchen is particularly well-equipped, offering more amenities than you can use and a huge amount of space. Meals can be enjoyed at a large dining room table, while the lounge is a cosy haven where a fire can be stoked up during the cold winters. The bathroom is large and has a ball-and-claw tub and spacious shower.

If you want to take a break from cooking, the guesthouse can prepare some hearty country-style meals, which need to be requested before you arrive.

Also by prior request, extensive picnic baskets can be arranged. The large farm has plenty of idyllic picnic spots, particularly alongside the river, where willow trees and the trickling of water provide shade and tranquillity. The farm is especially good for kids, who will love running around with the friendly dogs or exploring the pretty sights and sounds of the property. Slip on your walking shoes for endless walks on the farm, while looking out for a range of grassland birds. The farm is also great for mountain biking and your very affable hosts can point out routes for bikers of all skill levels.

Surrounding attractions are plentiful and include the mountainous heaven of the Drakensberg, the azure waters of Sterkfontein Dam Nature Reserve, both famous fly-fishing, hiking, birding and game viewing destinations. The Golden Gate Highlands National Park is the place to go if you want to see some of the bigger general game. Just outside Harrismith, Eagle Safaris offers outdoor activities such as trophy hunting, fly fishing and photographic safaris.

For the culturally inclined, the delightful little artists’ village of Clarens is within comfortable distance and makes for a very worthwhile day trip, breaking for a delicious lunch at one of the quaint restaurants on the village square. Overall, Her Majesty’s Apology offers a fun-filled, tranquil, affordable, family-friendly holiday for all of its treasured guests.

Rates & Summary

Self-catering unit

Situated in a quiet wing of the homestead
Sleeps 6 guests in three bedrooms
One double room and two twin rooms
Open-plan kitchen, dining room and lounge
Bathroom with bath and shower


  • R250 pp


Catered meals and picnic baskets can be arranged prior to arrival


Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Situated on a tranquil farm outside the town of Harrismith in the Free State, close to the majestic Drakensberg mountains, Her Majesty’s Apology accommodates up to six guests in a very well-appointed self-catering homestead. Guests will be charmed by the old sandstone homestead at Her Majesty’s Apology, which has a fascinating origin. The self-catering wing of the house is comfy and has a distinct old-world charm, while the farm is situated in a lovely area of grasslands and rivers.


  • Beautiful pastoral setting which invites the adventurous to get outdoors
  • Charming history to the property
  • Comfortable base to explore the numerous charms of the region

Things to consider Bringing

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

Road Conditions

The gravel road leading to the guest house is suitable for all vehicles.

Activities & Attractions

  • Mountain biking
  • Hiking

Nearby: Golden Gate National Park, Sterkfontein Dam, Drakensberg, fly fishing, mountain biking, hiking, art galleries.


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Lounge
  • Dining table
  • Covered verandah / patio
  • Fan included
  • Heater included
  • Fireplace
  • Firewood provided
  • No under floor heating
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Bring own swimming towels
  • Periodic housekeeping
  • Self-service laundry available
  • Ironing service available
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast and dinner by arrangement
  • Full Kitchen
  • Braai area available
  • Microwave oven
  • Electric stove
  • Fridge and freezer
  • Basic cleaning materials


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

Leisure Amenities

  • Swimming pool
  • Satellite television
  • Library
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Good cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • Limited wheelchair friendliness
  • Very child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops further than 10km
  • Nearest fuel further than 10km


  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted




Thabo Mofutsanyana

Free State


The northern and eastern sections of the Free State, commonly referred to as the “eastern Free State”, nudge up against the borders of Gauteng, Mpumalanga and the Kingdom of Lesotho. Officially the region is called Thabo Mofutsanayana.  Mofutsanyana, born in QwaQwa, was a leading light of both the African National Congress and the South African Communist Party until his death in 1995.

Geographically, this region bucks a trend. While most of the Free State is flat, the eastern reaches tower up as the Drakensberg and the Malotis come into play. The landscape climbs and soars, leaving impressive cliffs and buttresses of sandstone, and hidden caves in its wake.

Nowhere is the scene more striking that at the Golden Gate Highlands National Park near the village of Clarens. The maze of sculptured rock formations here is almost too much to absorb.  Sunset colours the cliffs in shades of ochre, hence the reference to gold in the name of the park.

These higher altitudes, of course, do wonders for the eastern Free State air, which is crisp, clean and bracing, conducive to a feeling of good health.

Clarens is one of the villages that lie in the foothills of the Malotis. With its mountainous surrounds, it is said to be reminiscent of the Swiss village of Clarens, where President Paul Kruger lived out his exile.

A town of sandstone buildings set amidst farmland, it has undergone something of a reincarnation in recent years as an artists’ colony. Just three hours or so from Gauteng’s big cities, weekenders come down to roam its galleries and craft shops.

The principal town in this region is Bethlehem. Once again sandstone buildings are characteristic of the town, which is the centre of a farming community that produces the lion’s share of South Africa’s wheat crop.

It has both built and natural attractions, including a flat-water slalom course for canoeists on the Ash River. Bethlehem is also the location of an annual national hot-air balloon championship.

Also set against an imposing Maloti backdrop is Ficksburg, renowned for its annual Cherry Festival in summer. A gateway to Lesotho and its Katse Dam, the town’s environs offer much in the way of adventure activity, such as 4x4 trails, quad-biking, abseiling, trout-fishing and game-viewing.

Other Thabo Mofutsanyane towns are Arlington, Clocolan, Fouriesburg, Harrismith, Kestell, Lindley, Marquard, Memel, Paul Roux, Petrus Steyn, Phuthaditjhaba, Reitz, Rosendal, Senekal, Vrede and Warden.

Look out for

Golden Gate Highlands National Park – This park is a theatre of natural, towering sandstone formations, named “golden” for their colour at sunset.  At that time of day, the best place to appreciate the beauty is the highest point in the park, Ribbokkop.  The former QwaQwa National Park was incorporated into Golden Gate in 2005.  Horseriding is a popular outdoor pursuit in the park, which is valued for its plant, animal and bird life.  A number of accommodation options are available.

Basotho Cultural Village –  South Sotho architecture, arts and crafts, herbal medicinal remedies and cuisine can be explored at the Basotho Cultural Village near Phuthaditjhaba.  Song and dance folklore shows can also be enjoyed.

The Sentinel – Also near Phuthaditjhaba, it is the access point for a series of trails that lead hikers to the rear of the Drakensberg Amphitheatre and some of the country’s most magnificent scenery.  Geographical features to view are The Sentinel, Devil’s Tooth, the Eastern Buttress and the Tugela Falls.

Discovering cherries, Ficksburg  - The annual Cherry Festival in Ficksburg takes place in November.  It is a three-day event that attracts thousands and entertains with fun activities such as horse- and camel-rides.  Cherry farm tours, however, take place throughout the cherry season, which is in October and November.  Locally made cherry liqueurs, brandies and schnapps should be tasted to complete the experience.

Clarens – A host of things to do and see in Clarens includes the Artist Amble, a route of galleries open to the public; rock art on Schaapplaats Farm; sandstone formations such as Mushroom Rock and Titanic Rock; dinosaur fossils at Sue’s Zoo; fly-fishing as well as bass- and river-fishing; hiking and horse-riding.

Sterkfontein Dam, Harrismith – The third largest dam in South Africa, the Sterkfontein Dam is a popular venue for water sports and angling.  Predating the Lesotho Highlands project, the water that fills the dam is pumped up from KwaZulu-Natal.  It is then released into the Wilge River, from where it flows into the Vaal Dam.    The Sterkfontein Dam’s banks are surrounded by a nature reserve where strange rock formations are just as interesting to view as buck and raptors.  Camping and chalet accommodation is available, as well as hiking trails.

Salpeterkrans – At Fouriesburg you will find Salpeterkrans, one of the largest sandstone overhangs in the southern hemisphere, shaped by wind erosion.  It not surprising that it is considered a sacred site where ancestral worship and fertility rites take place.

Rosendal – like the town of Clarens, Rosendal is known for its arty vibe. There are numerous art galleries in and around town, as well as quaint shops and restaurants. The Meerkatkolonie Art Gallery is a must. Rosendal is a popular weekend getaway destination for those who live in Pretoria and Johannesburg.

When to go

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