Rooms: 3 stone cottages: Rondekraal sleeps 2 (1 double) with bath & outside shower & splash pool; De Hoop sleeps 4 with bath & outside shower; & Gert Boom sleeps 4 (2 more beds for kids if needed), with 2 bathrooms, each with shower only.
Prices: 1 August 2015 to 31 July 2016: R425 pp per night self-catering. Kids under 12 half price, under 2 free. From 1 August 2016: R460 pp self-catering, but minimum self-catering rates apply for cottages for August and September only.
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Meals: From 1 August 2016: full breakfast R140; 3-course dinners R275; 2-course dinners R210. Self-catering facilities in cottages.
Directions: From CT take N1 then N7 to Vanrhynsdorp. Turn off onto R27 to Nieuwoudtville. Turn right into town, and straight through onto dirt road for 22km. The farm is signed to the right. GPS co-ordinates S31 33.548 E19 10.978
Well, this is certainly up there among the most memorable places to stay in South Africa! For starters, you stay in an old stone cottage, high up on the summit of a wild mountain plateau, surrounded by rich geological rock formations, fynbos vegetation (including huge taaibos and kraaibos shrubs, wild olives, restios, sonkwas reeds) and bouncing dassies, not another human in sight and no mountains to break the golden horizon. The quality of peace and stillness defeats description. Gas-fired plumbing for baths, hurricane lamps for light - many guests have refused to return if the van Wyks installs electricity (although there’s a restored corrugated-iron cottage for those who can’t do without). Then there’s the small matter of the gorge and waterfall. Your jaw will drop 180 metres into the canyon. In winter, when the water runs, take picnics to the swimmable rock pools above the falls. Alternatively, opt for a quick plunge in the bore-hole water dam between the cottages. Spring’s wild flowers are sensational here even by Namaqualand standards; the plantlife - part Cape fynbos, part Karoo succulent - a botanist’s dream; steenbok, klipspringer and porcupine can be sighted hopping about if you look carefully. Alrie and her mother Petru are excellent cooks (breakfast is a string of surprises) and can set up hearty farm suppers in your cottage. It’s a magically secluded retreat that few people know about and the van Wyks are lovely, helpful hosts. Stay at least two nights. Papkuilsfontein now provides small, personalized, 2.5-hour-long tours, run by Willem and including rock art, the canyon, waterfall and its geology, birds, the diversity of veldt types, farming and conservation and flowers in season.