The Poplars is an old farmhouse in the Great Karoo, about an hour from Graaff-Reinet on the 15 000-hectare farm, Gordonville that long belonged to that beloved icon of elegance, Charlotte Daneel, and has now been passed down to her children. It’s at the heart of the Sneeuberg Nature Reserve conservancy project that she and her partner Derk Blaisse set up to recreate the pristine environment found in this part of South Africa by pioneers who settled here over 200 years ago. It’s rugged, wild and dramatic – and utterly silent. The Poplars sleeps ten people comfortably and provides an extraordinary base from which to explore an environment created so that indigenous fauna and flora are able to flourish. Already substantial numbers of springbuck, wildebeest and mountain zebra can be found roaming the lands here. The fences are down and the natural order of things is taking over once again.
It’s cold up here, come winter, but The Poplars avoids the deadening summer temperatures of nearby Graaff-Reinet. There’s a pool fashioned out of an old raised farm dam, and a small, nearby copse of trees protects the house from the prevailing winds. You could just come here and sit on the stoep and read, with the occasional swim in the pool the antidote to summer’s lethargy. Or you could bring your mountain bikes for the cooler months and work up a heat on the farm tracks or on the slopes of the nearby Sneeuberg or the Compassberg.
Please note: Vehicles with low clearance are not suitable for driving to The Poplars.