It’s like stepping into a Flemish still life – rich heritage colours blend with abundant floral beauty, whether it’s the welcoming flowers done by floral designer and artist DP Ferreira or the linen floral cushions and William Morris wallpaper. Brightly coloured Oriental rugs caress underfoot and the softest down duvets keep you toasty on chilly winter evenings after many a glass of good wine around the fire. Set in the lush High Acre Garden, landscaped by DP’s partner Hannes Stander of Ecozest, Sylvan Cottage and Floreo Cottage (just across the garden) are the creative vision of both talented owners. Quite honestly though, these are no ordinary forest hideaways – they’re a haven for anyone looking for a wonderfully pampered stay in this special part of the world.
Literally half an hour from Knysna and bordering the most beautiful indigenous forest, Sylvan Cottage is a real find for mountain bikers, walkers and dog lovers (yes, they’re welcome!) and is a great place to break a journey if you’re doing an Eastern Cape safari. You’ll want to find time to curl up with a good book to the playful sound of baboons and birds, or simply drift off to sleep in the gentle afternoon light on the deck. You’ll enjoy every meal out here or around the antique table by candlelight and spend evenings playing Scrabble or 30 Seconds. Sylvan is shamelessly romantic and just the tonic every urbanite needs!
A short walk through the succulent and indigenous garden will take you to Floreo Cottage, another equally gorgeous and beautifully decorated cottage on the smallholding, and sleeps two in an open-plan bedroom and living room with a cosy fireplace, compact kitchen and en-suite bathroom. Its private stoep overlooks an English-style garden with a flush of bright dahlias leading to pathway blooming with dainty climbing clematis, deeply scented David Austen roses and amber rosehips… a florist’s heaven.
And before long, DP and Hannes’s dogs, especially the three Steekhaar Boere Windhonde – Babette, Rosalinde and Hiram – will join you. Their wonderfully theatrical names have equally interesting characters to match. They are well socialized and if your dogs are too, they’ll have a ball, especially as these are the last cottages on the road and it’s rare to find such virgin forest with wonderful walks on your doorstep.
What we love!
• The interiors! Need we say more – signature Perfect Hideaway style. Personal warmth, rich in character and full of collectables. Fascinating curated tableaux.
• The gorgeous new bathroom in Sylvan Cottage, lined with beautifully scented cedar wood.
• Quality bed linen, pillows and towels – and electric blankets for winter stays.
• The deck at sunrise: listen to the birds, breathe deeply and spot the dewy spiderwebs glistening in the morning light near the dam.
What you need to know…
• Mountain bikers should take their bikes (and Wild Cards) and head up into the mountains through magnificent indigenous forest. Spectacular views are promised at the top of a 7km climb if you take the route from the cottage! Permits at Goudveld/Millwood forest entrance (the cottages are actually at High Acre Garden farm at Bibby’s Hoek, near Rheenendal, which is closest to this entrance).
• For those who don’t ride, drive in to the forest to Dalene Matthee’s Big Tree (where she is buried) and walk the peaceful Circles in the Forest trail.
• Vegetarians will love the Veg Table restaurant nearby – worth booking in advance.
• Buy all you need before you leave Knysna (although Porter’s Market on the Rheenendal Road has essentials and seasonal produce).
Reviewed by Michelle Snaddon
• 1 x bedroom (queen)
• 1 x bedroom (twin singles)
All linen & towels provided
• Stove (gas)
• Oven (electric)
• French press
• Fireplace (wood)
• Please enquire for more information on serving
• Outside shower
• No TV
• Animals permitted
• Smoking outside only
• Child friendly
• Max 4 guests
• Check-in: 14:00
• Check-out: 10:00