Staunchly standing at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains, within the Leeurivier Valley of Swellendam, God’s Window discreetly reveals itself with dignity. In honour of the curvaceous hills in front of it, this property refrains from making any spectacle, or from being too loud. Just like a true gentleman, it gently tilts its cap to the powers unfolding around it, and lets the nature do the talking.
Set on over a hundred hectares of fynbos farm and forest land, where voluptuous valleys meet the majestic mountains, this hideaway hums to the hymns of the Marloth Nature Reserve. As you drive the dirt road, passing the neighbouring berry farms and their thatched cottages, a great sense of serenity and solitude engulfs you – regardless of how many people are in the car. It’s clear from the moment you arrive, that the destination you have reached is already making it hard for you to leave.
Built just over ten years ago, by South African architect Georg van Gass, God’s Window emerges from the emerald green rolling lawn, and pans out over one expansive level of glass, stone, cement, brick, and more glass. Firmness, commodity and light resonate inside and out, as the outside comes back in. The slanted roof raises its brows to the soaring Misty Peak of The Cape Fold Mountains, 1700 metres above the glistening gold and green Leucadendron, below. The bespoke pieces of furniture, all individually sourced or custom-made, fill the space with the signature palate of green, gold, mahogany, mustard and maroon. Minimalism is the message in this pavilion style farmhouse. There’s nothing here to distract from that view. It’s all about keeping the conversation flowing with the nature surrounding it. The massive open fireplace says it’s fine to stay on the sofa, or to sit at the long, 12-seater dining table for as long as you like. Little, quiet nooks beside books, and more windows, with more views from spacious daybeds, lure you in and let you rest. You’ll need it after all of the trails you’ve been hiking. Rock-hopping the enchanting, fairy forest walks, amongst the tree ferns, wild olives and yellowwoods. Misty morning swims in the waterfalls, dams and river rock pools. Mountain biking the dirt-road loops with the odd Blue Crane, Secretary Bird, Fish Eagle, or African Spoonbill – the birdlife is nothing short of breathtaking. Even just a few laps in the 15-metre swimming pool will justify all the feasting and quaffing, the lazing and the lounging, that’s just as mandatory.
As the night draws in and the leopards begin to bark, there are deep bathtubs to sink into, bunkbeds to climb upon, or king beds to be swallowed in. There is neither need nor want for more. Exactly what the owner’s of God’s Window sought when searching for such a property; a place to retreat to, that gives you everything, without ever having to leave.
What we love!
- The vegetable garden bursting with produce for daily consumption.
- Evening sunsets, beside the open fire on the verandah, looking up at the mountain.
- Amazing swimming spots in the rock pools and rivers along the hiking trails.
- Canoeing and zip lining on the dam.
- Nguni cattle roaming the nearby fields as the goats giggle alongside.
- Endless routes and trails to explore the abundance of flora, wildlife and birdlife.
What you need to know…
- The owner’s youngest child is now swim-safe and the pool fence has been removed, as seen in the first picture.
- Swellendam is only a 10-minute drive away for stocking up on groceries.
- Though shy, the baboons would like to enter the property when no one is around. It’s necessary to close-up when out climbing, swimming, biking, or shopping.
- There is plenty of firewood at the back of the property for those endless fireside evenings. But it’s important to keep the fires low and monitored at all times. This is, after all, a Fynbos region.
- Being luddites, the owner’s need for Wifi differs from others. Wifi is available, but in limited areas only.
- If you must leave the property for excursions into town, Voortrekker Rd, in Swellendam is where all the art, craft, history, honey, food and wine is at.
- Visit Barrydale, over the Tradouw Pass for some unbeatable milkshakes.
- Sadly, no pets are allowed.
- The house sleeps 8 adults and there is a room with three sets of bunk beds, so fits 6 kids if they are happy to all be together.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie