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Resting in the shadow of the Towerkop peak of the Swartberg Mountain range lies the lovely little town of Ladismith. Just over 300km from Cape Town, along the renowned Route 62, the charming fruit farming community – producing a third of the country’s plums and apricots, gallons of quality olive oil, stocking cellars with world class wines and extraordinarily good cheese – this sophisticated little hamlet in the Klein Karoo is as intriguing as it is lulling. Its vast skies and as-far-as-the-eye-can-see landscape, its spectacular mountain ranges met by old gravel roads that run through the vineyards, the groves and the orchards are the natural essence of what lured so many curious communities to settle, many hundreds of years ago.

Along one of those gravel roads within the Buffelsdrift conservancy, a cluster of farmhouses, barns and outhouses scatter themselves along the roadside. Overlooking the olive groves and the rugged Karoo terrain – all the way out to the Rooiberg mountains – Buffelsdrift settles itself into the abiding land it occupies and opens its 1850’s doors to a timeless and tailored space. Comprising of a main house, two separate barns and the pink wine store, this hideaway accommodates as many as 10 guests. Most of its original building components and signature features have been lovingly restored and brought back to life thanks to the architect-owner’s compassion for the build, its heritage and its integrity. So much so that the Italian Ferrara University awarded Buffelsdrift the gold medal for the Domus International Prize for Restoration and Conservation. The Santa Maria di Nazareth Church in Venice shared the medal with this hideaway. Original lime and clay foundations and walls, yellowwood beams, poplar timber and rough stone flooring, thatched roofing and the original poplar wooden shutters are just a few features to mention.

Together with its history, this hideaway has its beguiling attributes of seducing you into a contemporary calm amidst the ruggedness of the Karoo. Refined furnishings and clever, comfy finishes adorn each living, cooking, entertaining and reclining space – so as not to detract from the authenticity of its environment. The collection of the Dutch Gable houses and the gorgeous pink wine store with their equally-ample adjoining and independent spaces allow for fabulous family gatherings for days on end. As soon as the window shutters are swung open and the morning sun greets the magnificent landscape that unravels with the rays of light, coffee and chitter chatter will ensue in the courtyard, under the pergola and its creeping vines, whilst the more active few hit the gravel road for a quick jog into the wilderness. Some might be doing a spot of yoga on a mat beneath the acacias, whilst others are likely to still be snoozing in bed. The beauty of the Karoo and its ever-changing light allows for different moments throughout the hours of the day – spent in the courtyard, around the dam or the swimming pool, walking through the young olive groves or in the veld, around the fire-pits and fire-places reclining, reading, board-gaming or – dare we say it – working! With the WiFi as speedy as it is, you are at your leisure to catch up on a couple of those projects should you feel inspired. There are enough hours in the day for it, here. And the crisp air, the stillness of the nature that abounds, the birdlife dancing in the blue, or the dramatic display of stars shooting through the Milky Way at night. As the wood crackles away in the fire-pit and the melody of water trickling, travelling down into the dam pacifies our busy bodies into a happy slumber.

What we love!

  • For those that are interested in South African architectural heritage, Buffelsdrift is an experience that offers more than simply sublime accommodation in the Klein Karoo. There is a lot to be told about the property’s heritage that’s palpable in all areas of the homestead.
  • Star gazing at night with the most incredible canvas of darkness, interrupted by spurts of fireballs shooting across the sky. A sighting of the Milky Way doesn’t get much better than this. Neither does romance.
  • Gathering in the courtyard, outside the back of the kitchen, around the fire-pit – whether it be in the sunshine, under the pergola or at night, watching the stars – it’s a cosy place to connect whatever the weather.
  • The views of the Swartberg and the famous Towerkop – where the main source of the area’s water comes from – are a marvellous sight and can be enjoyed all around the homestead.
  • There are a number of enticing activities to enjoy in the area, should you wish to venture away from the farm and head into the nearest town, or up the various passes exploring.

What you need to know…

  • The nearest town of Ladismith is only a 15-minute drive away. Barrydale is a 45-minute drive away from Buffelsdrift. Another gorgeous little Hamlet is Van Wyksdorp, at the foothills of the Rooiberg mountains only 30km away on a dirt road.
  • For some world class cheese and charcuterie, visit The Accidental Baker in Calitzdorp where a Dutch couple have perfected the art of cheese making, baking and artisanal preserves.
  • Buffelsdrift can be rented entirely, including the wine store as additional accommodation for a large family gathering, or independently.
  • The lovely courtyard space outside the kitchen of the main house, where the pergola provides shelter, is perfect for small celebrations and momentous occasions – by day and night.
  • There are a number of passes to drive in the area with spectacular sighting points – especially the Seweweeks Poort which is one of the most spectacular mountain passes in South Africa! As well as adventurous hiking and biking trails for the action-goers of the group.
  • The revitalising hot mineral springs at Warmwaterberg are certainly worth a visit for the day and are only about 25 minutes away from the hideaway.

Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie

Facilities

  • 1 x Bedroom (king) with bath and shower
  • 1 x Bedroom (king), en-suite (shower)
  • 1 x Bedroom (king), en-suite (shower) - Wine Store
  • Alarm system
  • All linen & towels provided
  • Ceiling fans
  • Eco pool (no net)
  • Fireplace (2 bags of wood provided per stay)
  • Freezer (small)
  • Fridge (small)
  • Microwave
  • Nespresso machine (pods provided)
  • Oven (Electric)
  • Parking inside gated yard
  • Servicing by prior arrangement only
  • Stove (Gas)
  • Toaster
  • TV with limited DSTV & Showmax

Guests

Sleeps 4 guests in the Main House and 2 guests in the Wine Store.

 

Pets

Pet friendly

Check-in time

2 PM

Check-out time

10 AM

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Ladismith, Klein Karoo

Ladismith, Klein KarooResting in the shadow of the Towerkop peak of the Swartberg Mountain range lies the lovely little town of Ladismith. Just over 300km from Cape Town, along the renowned Route 62, the charming fruit farming community - producing a third of the country’s plums and apricots, gallons of quality olive oil, stocking cellars with world

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Rates

Wine Store - from R2 500 per night

Main House - from R5 500 per night