It’s the pervading stillness, the slow pace of life, and the ambling donkeys along the dusty streets that allude to Nieu-Bethesda’s unique vibe. The village has no tarred roads nor streetlights, no fuel station nor ATM, but it has bountiful charm and a sense of calm like just about nowhere else.
On a road trip two years ago, Mukti’s owners stayed in the village and were immediately besotted. The energy of the place was enchanting, the sense of peace so restorative that they bought the house next door – without even stepping inside it. They then embarked on an extensive and sensitively curated renovation top to bottom. Mukti emerged, so named from Sanskrit for the sense of liberation and spiritual release that is the atmosphere of Nieu-Bethesda.
The village is quiet, and Mukti is located on the quieter western side of it too, watched over by the towering Compassberg. It may be soaked in peace and stillness, but birdsong is everywhere and hummingbirds visit the house year-round. You’ll see them in the garden, along with many other species while you chill at the pool which replicates a small Karoo farm dam.
Mukti inside is cool and calm. Decor is contemporary Karoo, lightly layered and with exceptional quality throughout. There are two spacious bedrooms, the main en-suite is a king with a mountain view, while the second en-suite is a twin room – both with sumptuous mattresses and dressed in exquisite 600 thread-count cotton linen. The lounge area has a fireplace for cosy winter nights, and there’s a library for cocooning with countless books for company. Dining is at a raw wooden table in the kitchen, Karoo style. But in warm weather, meals on the verandah are relaxing. And there are comfortable soft sofas there too.
Throughout the house, décor is a seamless blend of contemporary and yesteryear. There are Persian rugs and picture rails, select ball-and-claw tables and chairs and chic sofas alongside leather armchairs. Antique chandeliers hang from original Oregon ceiling beams and light streams in through sash windows. The bathrooms and kitchen feature subway tiles, and there are Smeg appliances throughout – juxtaposed by an original working Dover stove, that’s now retired as a feature piece. But it has a shine whenever guests request housekeeper Angeline to make homemade bread – or her delicious Karoo donuts – mixed of course in antique bowls but served on Wonkiware.
Mukti epitomises fine Karoo living with no rough edges, and Angeline will make doubly sure of it. She pops in twice weekly or more if you ask her to. But mostly, Mukti is about how you feel when you’re there. Walking on floorboards that feet have pattered for 140 years, the aroma of antique wood carried in dry Karoo air, the purple light dousing the surrounding mountains, and the rare feeling of complete freedom and safety. Here you can detach and disconnect from the world. Read, relax, rest, reflect, recuperate and rejuvenate instead. Meditate on the deck amidst the birds if you choose, or stretch your legs on long walks and reflect on life and living it well. Sometimes we need to disconnect to reconnect. There’s just no better place to do it.
What we love!
- Angeline’s homemade bread and Karoo donuts, made on request.
- Her twice weekly house cleans, and on request a daily visit to make beds and do dishes. She also does laundry on request.
- The enchanting South African art collection with William Kentridge, Wilma Cruise, Sam Hlengethwa, Deborah Bell and Diane Victor included
- Sitting in the pool at night and stargazing
- The way you latch the shutters with the original steel masonry clips
- Thick walls and high ceilings that keep the house cool in summer
- The option of fans or air-conditioning in the bedrooms and lounge
- Original glass in some of the windows, dating to the 1800s
- Antique crystal glasses for elegant sundowners
- The two bicycles for gadding about town and exploring the area
- Many excellent hiking and walking options
- The bone collection in an antique display cupboard
- That the Owl House is a short walk away
- The unusual attractions at the Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre
- That you can view the village on a donkey cart tour
Need to know:
- High speed internet, so you can work and Zoom if you need to
- Cell signal for all three networks on 3G
- The temperature range is dramatic from 14 to 40C in summer; -10 to16C in winter. Weather is unpredictable so pack for all seasons.
- Preferably no children under 12
- The pool is not covered or protected
- Restaurant opening times are unpredictable, so always call ahead.