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Why did we hand pick Keurfontein Country House?

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  • Warm, elegant renovated Karoo homestead
  • Beautiful landscape with mountains and dams to explore
  • Interesting history in the region and a friendly host to discuss it with

Keurfontein Country House

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

19km from Willowmore

 

-33.3926, 23.3672

About

Washed in earthy colours on the outside, and filled with warmth on the inside, Keurfontein is an elegant manor house which pays tribute to the distinctive character of the Karoo. The renovated interior of the house features the terracotta tiles and wooden ceilings typical of many residences in the Klein Karoo, accentuated by warm colours, opulent furniture and Persian carpets. Although staying true to their traditional roots, the cottages and rooms are decorated with a contemporary touch and are fitted with modern comforts such as ceiling fans, televisions and high quality percale linen. 

All the units are exceptionally spacious and have full en-suite bathrooms with quirky copper pipe fittings and pine cabinets. The kitchenettes in the cottages also have pine cupboards and are equipped with a microwave, fridge, stovetop and all the crockery and cutlery needed for self-catering. A delicious full farm breakfast may be enjoyed in the main house or on the patio while admiring the mountains and scrubland.

There is an excellent a la carte restaurant in Willowmore at The Willow Historical Guest House, but guests will also not regret eating in, as the kitchen offers Karoo lamb shank or curry lamb stew dishes with a small selection of wines and beer. Alternatively, guests may order individual braaipacks to enjoy braaiing at the fully equipped braai facility.

While the country house is an ideal stopover point for travellers, it is well worth sticking around a bit to explore the surrounding landscape. Guests can wander around the property and watch the waterbirds drifting around in the dams, or go for a hike or cycle up in the rugged mountains. 

Sophia, the wife of hospitable Keurfontein owner Pepi van Der Merwe, runs Sophie's Choice, a wonderful multipurpose shop in Willowmore, which is a must-visit. Visitors to this charming double-storey building can enjoy a coffee or light meal on the stoep, browse through the fascinating antique shop or purchase a fine gift or Karoo delicacy to take home. 

Just down the road, visitors will find two historical graveyards, housing the graves of residents who died during the Anglo Boer War and Flu Epidemic, and there are numerous historical buildings which stand as proud reminders of the town’s history. A small sign just outside the town, with the words ‘Wonderboom’ (Wonder Tree) on it, points to an unassuming bush, which upon closer inspection reveals an intriguing surprise. 

Willowmore is best known as the western gateway to the Baviaanskloof World Heritage Site, a remarkably beautiful and diverse nature reserve with incredible rock formations, lush forests and streams. Keurfontein is optimally positioned for day trips into this unspoilt wilderness area.

Rates & Summary


5 Cottages

Each sleeps 2 in twin beds
En-suite bath and shower
Kitchenette
Patio with views of the countryside

2 Twin Rooms

Each sleeps 2 in twin beds
En-suite bath and shower
Patio with views of the countryside

Pricing

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

Catering

Self-catering or bed and breakfast for cottages
Room only or bed and breakfast for rooms
Cooked dinner and braaipacks available

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

From the hugely spacious accommodation to the refined cuisine, Keurfontein is an authentic but elegant tribute to the Klein Karoo. Vistas of the hauntingly beautiful landscape can be enjoyed from the patios, while guests can explore the mountains and two dams at their leisure. Situated between Willowmore and Uniondale, Keurfontein Country House offers secluded accommodation in beautifully renovated cottages and rooms, and is a convenient stopover point for travellers driving from Gauteng to the Garden Route.

Summary

  • Warm, elegant renovated Karoo homestead
  • Beautiful landscape with mountains and dams to explore
  • Interesting history in the region and a friendly host to discuss it with

Things to consider Bringing

Sunblock, hat, walking shoes, mountain bike, golf clubs, binoculars for bird watching/game viewing.

Road Conditions

All roads leading to the guest house are tarred.

Activities & Attractions

  • Braai facilities
  • Nearby: Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, hiking trails, mountain biking trails, 4x4 trails, hunting, The Wonder Tree, golf course, historical graveyards, Old Power Station. 

Details

Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Communal lounge
  • Verandah / patio
  • Ceiling fans
  • Fireplace
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast (dinner by arrangement)
  • No Restaurant
  • Licensed
  • Kitchenette
  • Braai area available
  • Microwave oven
  • Stove
  • Fridge or minibar

Utilities

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

Leisure Amenities

  • Swimming pool
  • Television
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi
  • Good cell phone reception

Access & Convenience

  • No babysitting
  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops further than 10km
  • Nearest fuel further than 10km
  • No shuttle service available

Payment

  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted

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Karoo Heartland

Eastern Cape

About

The Karoo Heartland area lies in the Eastern Cape province, inland from the busy coastal city of Port Elizabeth. It embraces the eastern landscapes of the Great Karoo and, like the rest of this vast and semi-arid region, it is sparsely populated and little developed.

Rising in the north-west of the region are the Sneeuberg mountains. As their name suggests, the higher reaches are often draped in a blanket of snow during winter. Further east they link up with the Bankberg range. From here the landscape drops in altitude in a series of gentle slopes and rolling foothills.

For the motorist, the steep gradients are traversed via the winding roads of the Lootsberg, Naudesberg, Ouberg and Wapadsberg passes. In the south the landscape flattens out in a sweeping flat expanse, referred to as the plains of Camdeboo. In the eastern extremes the traditional Karoo scrub gives way to waving grasslands, tall slender aloes and tree-choked gorges.

Amongst the koppies and expansive plains are small rural towns like Graaff Reinet, Cradock and Nieu Bethesda. All of these are popular with visitors and well-known for their fine architecture and enduring charm. Graaff Reinet is best known for its magnificent stone church, the historic Drostdy with its colourful Stretch’s Court. It also has tranquil tree-lined streets sporting grand old houses and quaint cottages.

On its outskirts, the 19 000ha Camdeboo National Park almost encircles the town and protects the habitats and wildlife of the area. Within its boundaries stand the pillars of balancing rock that make the Valley of Desolation so intriguing. Nearby, the Sundays River flows into the Nqweba Dam.

A short drive north, at the base of the towering Kompasberg Peak, is Nieu Bethesda. Its main attractions are the Owl House with its artwork, and the mythical figures in the Camel Yard. The town is loved by seekers of tranquillity who come to escape in its rural charm and laid-back ambience.

In the east the busy, upbeat town of Cradock on the banks of the Fish River boasts a wealth of interesting architecture. The best preserved of examples form part of the well-known Tuishuise.

Each year canoeists converge on the area for the annual Fish River canoe marathon.

Cradock’s natural icon comes in the form of the Mountain Zebra National Park. This expanse was proclaimed in order to protect the endangered mountain zebra, which now number around 300 in the park. The variety of game includes cheetah, Cape buffalo and black rhinoceros. The landscape varies from rugged mountains to plateau grasslands.

Throughout the region there is a cultural richness, and strong traditions still survive in the towns and on the farms. With an extensive network of gravel back roads that lead to hidden farms and stunning views, the Karoo Heartlands is ideally suited to the explorer. It’s also home to large game lodges, 4x4 trails, hiking and mountain bike routes, fishing, and birdwatching.

Look out for

Camdeboo National Park – on the outskirts of Graaff Reinet, this 19 000ha park protects some of the low-lying plains as well as the mountainous terrain in the area. It contains the Valley of Desolation. Within its boundaries are 12 species of large game and 225 bird species. There are several hikes, varying from a 1.5 km stroll to a day walk and an overnight trail. 4x4 enthusiasts have a choice of either the Koedoeskloof or Driekoppe trails. There is a tented camp and some campsites are being developed in the park. 

The Valley of Desolation - is formed by the extraordinary geology of the mountains that create impressive dolerite rock pillars, which are easily seen from various viewpoints along the walking trails. En route to the main viewpoint a toposcope stands on a small koppie, from where there is a magnificent view of Graaff Reinet.

Mountain Zebra National Park – situated 12km from Cradock, the park nestles amongst the craggy heights of the Bankberg mountains in the far eastern area of the region. Proclaimed in 1937, the park embraces undulating plains and plunging valleys where the Cape mountain zebra was saved from extinction. Accommodation is in the restored Victorian homestead at Doornhoek (that sleeps 6), or in cottages and campsites at the main rest camp. There is an à la carte restaurant, a shop selling basic commodities, a fuel station and a swimming pool. Day visitors are welcome.

The Owl House – this iconic house was created by eccentric artist Helen Martins. It became famous by being featured in world-renowned playwright Athol Fugard’s film, ‘The Road to Mecca’. Obsessed with the interplay of light, colour and reflection, martins covered walls, ceilings, windows and other surfaces with bright paint and glass. The effect is amplified by the many candles, lamps and mirrors she collected. The Owl House is rated a premier ‘outsider art’ destination and attracts 15 000 visitors annually, from all over the world. It’s open to the public daily (except Christmas day). Opening times: 09h00-17h00 in April to September / 08h00-18h00 in October to May.

Blouwater Railway - for a rail journey with a difference give Charles Kingwill a call to book a seat on his rail van, which trundles up the 11km-long Lootsberg Railway Pass and back. He can take a maximum of 9 passengers per trip. Trips run from Monday to Saturday between 09h00 and 15h00. It takes 2 hours, and you can take your own picnic and refreshments.

Tuishuise –mention Cradock and the first places that come to mind are the historic Tuishuise. Even if you’re not planning to stay overnight (although you should), make a point of exploring Market Street where they are situated. 

When to go

To Do

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