The Retreat at Groenfontein, nr. Calitzdorp 

The Retreat at Groenfontein, nr. Calitzdorp

 

Hearing other people's travel experiences has always held a fascination for me, so these words "the journey has been great and took us to unexpected places. One we've loved and will never forget is a place 'au bout du monde' near Calitzdorp.  So fine!".... and indeed 'so fine' is a very fitting recommendation.

Technically not in the Eastern Cape, but en route if coming from or going to the Cape on the R62, this very gracious Victorian Guest House tucked away in the Klein Karoo is a perfect place to ‘retreat’ to from the outside world.  Surrounded by vistas of the fertile Groenfontein Valley and the Swartberg beyond you would never know that the ‘ Port Wine’ capital of Calitzdorp with its trendy roadside restaurants and vineyards is only 20 kms. away and Oudtshoorn, De Rust and even Prince Albert are within easy reach.

As I turned left off the R62 in the centre of Calitzdorp, behind me laid the hustle and bustle of the modern world.  Cascading bougainvillea in hues of pink, mauve and orange assaulted the eye and scattered vineyards and olive plantations swept up the slopes on either side of the good gravel road.  As I drove past scattered farm labourers' cottages and the closed up weekend homes belonging to far-off city dwellers I felt tranquility descend.  The whistle of the breeze through the trees, the gentle lilt of birdsong and the sound of cascading water from the mountain stream became my travelling companions.  

The road does seem long, although it is only 20 kms. but my reward was a beautifully restored Victorian Farmhouse set in sweeping gardens and the more recently built garden suites set up on a gentle rise beyond.   Greeted by the perfect host Marie and one of two resident ‘staffies’ I settled in to my stylishly decorated en suite bedroom in the Main house.  This I later discovered led out onto a patio courtyard area just below the swimming pool.  

A pot of tea downed, a quick glance at their startling array of books and I set out to walk a combination of their hill trails to enjoy the cool afternoon air, the scent and sight of mountain flowers and the awesome spectacle of the Swartberg towering beyond. It was just me, the mountains and the sky – the rarest of privileges in today’s harried world.  

The evening meal was a relaxed affair – 12 of us, around one table, including hosts Marie, Grant and Melissa. We enjoyed a beautifully prepared and presented 3 course dinner, where conversation sparkled, egged on no doubt by a liberal flow of local wine.  Sleep now beckoned – the crisp mountain air and my two and a half hour walk had caught up with me. This quotation attributed to Thomas Hood: 

“O bed! O bed! Delicious bed!That heaven upon earth to the weary head.”
aptly sums up the end of my day in the heart of the Groenfontein valley.

Monday morning dawned bright and clear and the Breakfast table laid out the length of the Farmhouse verandah reflected true Klein-Karoo hospitality.  Oh, to have been able to tarry awhile, to enjoy a few more days in the stillness of time, but my journey was not yet complete and the Langkloof was calling. 
An oasis to return to and an ‘experience’ to share…

RATES FOR 2013/2014

All rates are per person sharing and include Dinner, Bed and Breakfast.  All rooms are en-suite.  The larger Garden Rooms are for a minimum of 2 nights. The 4 garden rooms have king-size beds which can be made up as twins.

From 01 October 2013 - 20 December 2013  

Standard rooms (3) R730.00
Standard room in converted milking parlour R750.00
New garden suites (2) R950.00
Larger garden room-weaving shed R910.00
Small garden room in weaving shed R850.00

Special Winter rates from 05.05.2013 until 30.09.2013 are available upon request.

From 21 December 2013 - 04 May 2014

Standard rooms (3) R740.00
Standard room in converted milking parlour R760.00
New garden suites (2) R990.00
Larger garden room-weaving shed R950.00
Small garden room inweaving shed R890.00

Single supplement rates available upon request.
All rates are inclusive of 14% VAT
Children under 12: Dinner, bed & breakfast sharfing in standard room. From R30 pro-rata.  Children of this age have meals before parents.
Children under 12: Dinner, bed & breakfast in family suites R120.00
Children over 12 or 3rd adult: Dinner, bed & breakfast R350.00