Travel South Africa
13. Vineyard Country House, Montagu
When we needed respite from the world for about a week, this was the place we chose. Montagu is a lovely town. It’s surrounded by mountains, which gives the effect of it being protected. You can pretty much walk anywhere, everything’s so close. The Vineyard Country House is set off the main road (so you can hear some traffic) and in a vineyard. It offers five rooms, each as lovely as the next. The style is that of a classy home – good linens, comfy couches, chairs and loungers. The owners live on site, but separate, and both are foodies, so breakfasts are a treat (book a dinner too, while you’re there). Our favourite room is number five, which has a reed ceiling and no television, only music. If you’re going to (re)treat yourself over winter, this is the one to book.
14. Samara, Karoo
Deep in a 28300-hectare Karoo wilderness reclaimed from former farmlands, one of the signature charms of Samara Private Game Reserve is the opportunity to track a collared rehabilitated cheetah, and then get within whispering distance of her on foot. The terrain is extraordinary; huge, mercurial skies shelter a surreal landscape of wide-open plains and soaring peaks, with the Camdeboo mountainscape forming a backdrop to abundant game-viewing opportunities. The free-standing Victorian-style suites that make up Karoo Lodge have interiors that evoke another era, and each has its own outdoor shower and fantastic views from the veranda. There are equally period-evoking suites in the main homestead, while The Manor is more recently built, with a modern, Afro-chic design.
15. Bloemhofkaroo, Richmond Area
Conveniently situated off the N1 some 25 kilometres south of Richmond in the Great Karoo, is BloemhofKaroo. This peaceful haven on a working farm has the talented, hospitable Jenny Pickard as owner, and a rich history – it was once home to the late Professor Chris Barnard. It’s worth more than an overnight stop, and is the ideal family getaway or artists’ retreat. You can swim in the farm’s ‘swemdam’, hike, mountain bike and picnic – at night the star-gazing is incredible. The accommodation is hugely comfortable, with a charming authenticity. You’ll have roaring fires, winter food plus a friendly team that will oversee your stay.