There are those places that we come across once in a while – if we’re lucky enough to – that welcome us in, holding us gently in the space that it occupies, seducing our senses with the aesthetics of its build, its surroundings and its statements on style, and simultaneously invigorating forgotten parts of our souls, that perhaps we weren’t even aware were missing. Much like meeting an intriguing person for the first time, whose conversation ignites inspiration, a property can remind us of who we are and evoke a sentimental desire to retrieve those treasured traits that allow us to be as we inherently should. That’s definitely the message that’s conveyed from the moment you arrive at the ardently eco-conscious urban farm of Kinghorn’s Retreat, in the beautiful village of Noordhoek, that’s reminiscent of a hearty chat with a stoic conservationist. It’s one of integrity, honesty and sincerity that instantaneously takes us back to our roots and leads us home to our hearts.
Set on two acres of fruit, herb and vegetable gardens, olive groves, wild grasses, a myriad of indigenous succulent, flower and tree species, meandering Namaqua sandstone pathways, flowing streams with natural waterfalls, a dam, pockets of meditative lookout points and tranquil seating spots – all enveloped by the magnificent backdrop of the Cape Peninsula mountains and its ocean – this hideaway is a direct call from the gods of nature to settle into the stillness and beauty of its environment and surrender to its ecosystem of luxury country living.
As you move through the living, dining, entertaining and reclining spaces of the two-bedroomed farm-style cottage, Kinghorn’s statement of sustainability is echoed in its use of natural materials of stone, eucalyptus and oak timbers, Oregon pine flooring and ceilings, beautifully handcrafted design features, Italian delft-style tiles, exposed wood-burning fireplaces and tall glass doors that slide back and open out to the long wooden decks that cascade down into the gardens. The gloriously furnished ensuite bedrooms – each with their own fireplaces for those cosy, wintry evenings under the covers – are dressed in fine fabrics of foliage and quality linens on the extra king-size beds, and open to trickling water features and outdoor showers, semi-enclosed in stone with emerging blossoms of jasmine, rosemary and lavender – a lovely little touch of fragrance for those exhilarating showers in the early morning light. It’s the little details that keep the conversation going of nature harnessing its occupation inside, as much as out. Around the mammoth oak dining table, beside the ample desk space, upon the bookshelves of botanical literature, in the open-plan kitchen looking out to the herbs and olive trees, or languidly lazing on the comfy leather sofas around the oak sleeper coffee table – there is a viewpoint of the magic that’s going on around the home, from every angle.
With all of its alluring attributes that cradle the cockles of our hearts throughout the hours of the day, it’s the gathering spaces dotted around the garden of Kinghorn’s Retreat that truly ignite those cockles and bring them to flame. From the stone benches beside granite tables in the ‘kraal’ area – for al fresco dining beside the dam, beneath the stars at night – to the sauna, the swimming pool and its loungers, the elevated sunset deck with its bar area, and the numerous yoga, meditation, reading and appreciation spots cushioned into the grass beside poised Zimbabwean sculptures. They make the days longer and every hour more valuable as you allow nature to do all the talking. And the beauty of it all, should you feel the urge to leave this harmonious, holistic retreat and rejoin civilisation for an hour or two, the burgeoning community of Noordhoek is only a hop, skip and a jump away. To where like-minded souls are gathering at the village farmer’s markets, watering holes, bakeries, ice-creameries, beaches, walking trails and stables. You are at your liberty to dip in and out of society as you so choose. For when you and your clan return, it’s just yourselves and the resident grey heron sauntering around the dam, as the Cape sugarbirds preen their feathers in the water baths, the crisp mountain air moves through the long grass with the light transforming from pink, golden hues to dusky blue. The fires alight once more for some invigorating evening chats and feasting with your favourite people, around the table with a bottle or two of the good stuff, being reminded of our good traits, and what brings us home to our hearts. An invitation from the owner, whose gesture of consciously creating a home that returns all of its goodness to the soil it occupies, is indeed a gesture to us all.
What we love!
- Early morning and evening showers in the outdoor stone showers that look out over the garden, taking in the scents of the nature that prevails.
- Witnessing the late afternoon light transform all of the colours in the garden, as it hits the branches of the rare silver trees, against the majestic backdrop of Chapmans Peak.
- Enjoying an early morning brew with the birds, strolling through the gardens and watching nature wake up with the light, hard at work.
- The herb and vegetable garden – that takes up 20% of the entire garden itself – is for guests’ consumption, so you are welcome to forage for your feasts. Any surplus from the garden is donated to the community as well as the workers on the farm.
What you need to know…
- The burgeoning village of Noordhoek is a 5-minute drive from the property, with the main shopping centre for all convenience stores being a 5-minute drive in the other direction. Cape Town’s city centre is no more than a 45-minute drive away, along one of the most scenic routes in the world.
- Kinghorn’s Retreat has been specifically designed – by Janda MacDonald of Janda MacDonald Architects – to be eco-conscious and blend entirely into nature. Solar geysers, outdoor showers, gas stoves and wood-burning fireplaces are used for natural heating and cooking.
- There is a lot of literature about the ethos of the garden, its sustainability and conservation approach by the owners and what matters most, at the property. Years of love and labour have been put into establishing the ecosystem of the garden and all of its diverse plant species that co-exist harmoniously on the property. Including an exceptionally rate plant species – The Silver Tree (Leucadendron argenteum), that is almost extinct in the world.
Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie