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Why did we hand pick The Willow Historical Guest House?

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  • Historic building, tastefully updated for comfort
  • Tranquil garden in a quiet part of town
  • Authentic local cuisine on offer

The Willow Historical Guest House

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Price tier (pps): R200  R1500+

Child policy: All ages

In Willowmore


-33.2954, 23.4917


Built as a rectory for the Dutch Reformed Church in the late 1800s, The Willow Historical Guest House offers an enchanting old-world, authentically Karoo experience in the little village of Willowmore. Showcasing the typical architecture of the day, the double-storey building with green roofs and shutters holds immense historical charm, boasting impressive collections of antique Victorian furniture and captivating South African memorabilia. 

Guests are accommodated in lodgings which stay true to their charming traditional roots while providing modern amenities. In all the lodgings, guests are assured comfort by air conditioning, heaters, electric blankets, tea/coffee facilities, wireless internet and televisions. Two cottages are appointed for self-catering, while every other possible option is available, ranging from room only up to full board. This makes the guest house a suitable choice for any traveller, while flexibility is further increased by a wide range of bathroom and sleeping configurations. 

Couples or friend pairs can stay in one of five double cottages, choosing between twin beds or one King-size bed, while three double rooms offer the same option. The cottages have either a bath or a shower, while the rooms all have showers. Parents with a child are well accommodated in a family cottage with a King-size bed and single bed, leading to a bathroom with a shower. 

The self-catering options include a two-bedroomed cottage sleeping four guests, and a three-bedroomed cottage sleeping six. A spacious lounge and amply equipped kitchen allow families or groups to have a comfortable self-catering experience, no matter how long they choose to stay. 

The guest house serves delicious food 15 hours a day, starting with a superb full English breakfast that will quench the biggest appetite. For lunch and dinner, local specialities such as Karoo lamb and ostrich, along with a host of other hearty South African dishes, can be selected from the à la carte menu.

Behind the main house, a welcome surprise awaits in the form of large, lush gardens with plenty of outdoor seating areas for guests to enjoy.

The rich sense of history even extends to this part of the property, with an old bicycle and battered wagon holding pride of place. During the warm summers, guests can spend idyllic days relaxing under the trees and cooling off in the swimming pool. Winter days can be spent in the beautiful lounge area, which boasts a genuine Victorian fireplace. A drink in the old bar, which is chock-a-block with memorabilia, is a must. 

Although the guest house is perfect as an overnight stop for travellers passing through the Karoo, there are several nearby attractions which warrant a longer stay. Willowmore is close to the spectacular Baviaanskloof Wilderness Area, while there are numerous hiking, mountain biking and 4x4 trails in the mountains. You can ask your friendly hosts to point the way to the weird and wonderful Wonder Tree, or to some of the town’s fascinating historical sites and other attractions.

Rates & Summary

5 Double Cottages

Each sleeps 2 in twin or King-size beds
En-suite bath or shower
Outdoor seating with garden view

3 Double Rooms

Each sleeps 2 in twin or King-size beds
En-suite shower
Outdoor seating with garden view

Family Cottage

Sleeps 3 in King-size and single beds
Bathroom with shower
Outdoor seating with garden view

Self-catering Cottage (4-sleeper)

Sleeps 4 in 2 bedrooms
2 bathrooms with showers
Living room and kitchen
Outdoor seating with garden view

Self-catering Cottage (6-sleeper)

Sleeps 6 in 3 bedrooms
2 bathrooms with showers
Living room and kitchen
Outdoor seating with garden view


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


B&B, DBB, Full Board and Room Only options available
Two cottages available on self-catering rates


Children of all ages are welcome.

Why Stay Here?

Situated in the peaceful Klein Karoo village of Willowmore, The Willow Historical Guest House offers catered or self-catering accommodation in cottages and rooms with an old-world ambience and modern amenities. The guest house’s period buildings are packed with fascinating South African memorabilia and lovely antique furniture, creating a delightfully nostalgic feel. Warm Klein Karoo hospitality is complemented by traditional Karoo cuisine and other authentically South African dishes.


  • Historic building, tastefully updated for comfort
  • Tranquil garden in a quiet part of town
  • Authentic local cuisine on offer

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

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


Accommodation & Hospitality

  • Communal lounge
  • Verandah / patio
  • Air conditioning
  • Heater included
  • Bed linen supplied
  • Bathroom towels supplied
  • Daily housekeeping
  • Self-service tea and coffee available
  • No smoking indoors

Catering & Kitchen

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurant
  • Licensed
  • Full Kitchen


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

Leisure Amenities

  • Swimming pool
  • Satellite television
  • Library
  • Garden

Business & Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi
  • Good cell phone reception
  • Limited business centre
  • Conference facilities available

Access & Convenience

  • Not wheelchair friendly
  • No babysitting
  • Child friendly
  • No pets allowed
  • Off street parking
  • Nearest shops within 2km
  • Nearest fuel within 5km
  • No shuttle service available


  • Credit cards accepted
  • EFT accepted
  • Cash accepted




Karoo Heartland

Eastern Cape


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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