4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

Winona Griggs

4 Cool Farm Stays in South Africa

Thinking about a unique vacation experience? How about staying on a farm? South Africa offers some incredible farm stays that combine relaxation in nature with authentic farm life. Let me introduce you to four stylish farm stays that will surely make your trip unforgettable.

1. The Rustic Retreat

Welcome to The Rustic Retreat, where simplicity meets serenity. Nestled in the heart of the countryside, this charming farm stay offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Wake up to the sound of birds singing, breathe in fresh country air, and take long walks along picturesque trails. If you want to experience the beauty of rural South Africa, this is the place for you.

2. The Organic Oasis

If sustainability is important to you, then The Organic Oasis is your dream destination. This eco-friendly farm stay is all about reconnecting with nature and embracing a greener lifestyle. Get your hands dirty in the organic garden, learn about permaculture, and enjoy delicious meals made with fresh farm-to-table ingredients. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the surrounding landscapes and let your worries melt away.

3. The Adventure Farmhouse

Looking for some excitement? Look no further than The Adventure Farmhouse. This farm stay offers a perfect blend of adrenaline-filled activities and laid-back charm. Whether you want to go horseback riding, zip-lining through the trees, or simply relax by the pool, this place has it all. Feel the thrill of adventure while immersing yourself in the stunning natural beauty of South Africa.

4. The Luxury Haven

If you’re craving a touch of luxury, The Luxury Haven won’t disappoint. This elegant farm stay combines first-class amenities with a rustic setting, creating the perfect balance between indulgence and tranquility. Take a dip in the infinity pool overlooking breathtaking views, treat yourself to a spa day, or savor a gourmet meal prepared by a private chef. Get ready to be pampered like never before.

Ready to embark on a one-of-a-kind farm stay adventure? Whichever farm stay you choose, South Africa offers a diverse range of options that cater to different preferences. Whether you’re seeking peace and quiet or an action-packed getaway, there’s a farm stay waiting for you. So pack your bags, leave the city behind, and get ready to experience an unforgettable vacation on one of South Africa’s stunning farms.

4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

Looking for a farmhouse that’s not your typical rustic abode? Well, I’ve got you covered! Let me introduce you to four stunning farm stays that will rejuvenate your spirit without breaking the bank.

Just a short 50km away from the bustling streets of Johannesburg, you’ll find a tranquil oasis. This place is a haven for nature lovers, where the melodic tunes of fiery-necked nightjars fill the air and the haunting calls of black-backed jackals echo across the grasslands at night. It’s also home to a breathtaking garden that’s blooming with life. Picture-perfect soils, carefully nurtured and adorned with hay, await you – they’re the perfect foundation for a healthy farm.

Welcome to Farmhouse 58, Krugersdorp

Once upon a time, this was a dairy farm. But now, it has transformed into Farmhouse 58, the hospitality wing of the Nirox Foundation. A blend of contemporary elegance and cozy charm, this farmhouse is nestled within 180 hectares of mostly untouched land. And guess what? It’s located in the Cradle of Humankind, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

I’m amazed by how everything at this place is connected to nature. Even the interiors have colors that remind me of soil. I stayed just one night, but it was enough to experience breathtaking sunsets, have deep conversations around a campfire, and enjoy delicious meals prepared by talented chefs. To top it off, I went on a mindful walk with Epic Hikes, which made me feel incredibly calm and centered.

What’s even more surprising is that this magical place is only a 100km drive from my home in the city.

I’ve always been curious about who would have the smarts to bring a taste of Cape Winelands’ Babylonstoren to the city slickers in Joburg. Turns out, I’m not the only one longing for an escape to the countryside. According to a Google Community Mobility Report from March 2022 (yes, they keep an eye on us), there’s been a whopping 65% surge in visits to parks in South Africa. That includes national parks, public beaches, marinas, dog parks, plazas, and public gardens – all the good stuff. And that’s compared to the numbers before the pandemic hit. But the South African craze for nature retreats doesn’t stop there. Last year, Airbnb reported that people around the world have been frantically searching for farm stays on their platform, with an unbelievable increase of 1,055%!

I’ve always been fascinated by farm stays in South Africa. It’s incredible how this tradition has been going on for centuries! Just take a look at the charming cottages in the Karoo, where you can watch sheep grazing peacefully. Or the rondavels along the Wild Coast, where you wake up to the sound of chickens and cows. And let’s not forget the beautiful Cape Dutch homes nestled among vineyards that have stood the test of time.

But something exciting is happening in agritourism. There’s a new wave of farm stays that is taking this experience to a whole new level. It’s as if they’ve discovered the secret recipe for the perfect rural retreat.

4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

Last year, Farmhouse 58 proudly opened its doors, offering a unique farm experience immersed in nature. It’s like stepping into a garden straight out of a storybook – a garden that is alive with the wonders of regenerative farming. But before we dive into that, let’s talk about the foundation of it all: the soil.

The soil at Farmhouse 58 has endured years of overgrazing and neglect. However, the passionate team at the farm knows that rejuvenating the soil is key to cultivating a thriving ecosystem. That’s why they have embraced regenerative farming practices that work hand in hand with nature.

One of the essential farming techniques used at Farmhouse 58 is companion planting. This method involves planting specific crops together, creating a harmonious relationship where each plant benefits the other. The farm knows that the soil needs a variety of nitrogen fixers, and that’s why they have carefully selected plants that operate at different root depths. By doing so, they ensure that the soil is enriched and ready to nurture crops in the most natural and sustainable way possible.

Another important practice at Farmhouse 58 is crop rotation. This method involves alternating different crops in the same field over successive seasons. By regularly rotating the crops, the farm prevents soil depletion and minimizes the risk of pests and diseases. This ensures that the land remains fertile and productive for years to come.

And let’s not forget about the chickens! Farmhouse 58 has embraced the power of chicken runs. These designated areas allow chickens to roam freely and contribute to the farm’s ecosystem. Chickens are known for their ability to provide rich manure, which acts as a natural fertilizer for the soil. Plus, these feathered friends also help control pests, keeping the farm in balance.

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But Farmhouse 58 is more than just a farm. It’s a pivotal part of Project 58, a holistic initiative that extends beyond farming. This incredible project incorporates long-term ecological practices to not only serve the farm-to-table eatery but also includes various art programs and community initiatives.

When you visit Farmhouse 58, you’ll encounter an extraordinary blend of nature and art. Just like the nearby Nirox Sculpture Park, the landscape at Farmhouse 58 is adorned with captivating art pieces. These stunning sculptures add an element of creativity and wonder to the already breathtaking surroundings.

At Farmhouse 58, they believe in the power of nature and art coming together. It’s a place where acacias coexist with pomegranates, hens roam freely, and out-there artists find inspiration amidst the beauty of the land.

Every now and then, I come across artworks that are truly special, but they require a bit of an adventure to find. During one of my hikes, I stumbled upon a fascinating piece of heritage art. It was a collection of intricate Tswana kraals that seemed to spiral infinitely. As I made my way up the summit, I discovered a striking sculpture crafted by the talented Moroccan artist, Amine El Gotaibi. What makes this sculpture so unique is its purpose. It was deliberately designed to disintegrate over time, to crumble and dissolve back into the elements from which it came. It serves as a poignant symbol of our journey as human beings, reminding us that we will one day return to the earth.

Kalmoesfontein, Swartland

There’s something truly down-to-earth about Kalmoesfontein, a charming working wine farm located in the unassuming Swartland region of the Western Cape. It’s not just your typical farm; it’s a place where you’ll find AA Badenhorst family wines, as well as a delightful assortment of animals. From chickens and donkeys to horses, pigs, ducks, and even dogs, the farm is a lively haven for all creatures. What strikes me most about Kalmoesfontein is the sense of harmony and coexistence that radiates from every corner. It truly embodies the idea of living in peaceful symbiosis with nature.

4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

I’m an absolute dog lover, and when I visited Die Melkkamer, I couldn’t help but be drawn to Appel, the sun-loving pooch who spends most of his time on the sunny porch. But my heart was stolen by The Stables, a charming abode with its own private garden and plunge pool. It turns out that this used to be the home for all the animals before the roof needed repair. The owners fixed it up and continued to make improvements, leaving it as a beautiful and unique retreat.

Regardless of which spot you choose, you’ll be welcomed with a delightful selection of local goodies. Imagine a tray filled with farm-fresh eggs, bundled up with a pretty ribbon. There’s also homemade bread, fragrant buttermilk rusks, and home-grown rooibos tea. And that’s just the beginning! They even offer a bottle of wine and Caperitif with its handcrafted Swaan Cape tonic water. The attention to detail and the emphasis on local touches is truly remarkable.

When you step into the bathroom, you’ll find Simply Bee toiletries that are not only luxurious but also environmentally friendly. And don’t worry, they’ve got you covered with soft and fluffy Mungo towels. Not to mention the thoughtful extras like homemade firelighters, cozy hot water bottles, an apron, and even sticky fly-trap strips to make sure your stay is comfortable and hassle-free.

As I step inside, I am surrounded by an overwhelming sense of peace and tranquility. But don’t be fooled by the calm, because this farm is unlike any other. Here, leopards roam freely in the wild, captured only by the lenses of camera traps. And amidst this harmonious coexistence, guests like you and me have the chance to experience the fruits of the farm’s labor through its organic farming practices.

During a captivating garden tour guided by the skilled farmhand, Shingarirai Hunde, I had the opportunity to pluck fresh vegetables straight from the earth. And later, as I savored every sip of the farm’s exquisite wine, I couldn’t help but taste the essence of the soil and labor that created it. It was a moment of pure connection.

Returning to my cozy bedroom at The Stables, I couldn’t help but notice the unchanged feeding troughs. Despite the farm’s transformation, they remained as a reminder of its humble roots and dedication to its heritage.

Welcome to Kezlyn Farm Cottages

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of spending time at Kezlyn Farm Cottages in KwaZulu-Natal. It was a delightful experience, filled with the joys of farm life. Shane Buchanan, who grew up on this beautiful farm, welcomed us with open arms. As soon as we arrived, he proudly proclaimed, “We’ve got the best views of the ‘Berg!” And I couldn’t argue – the name Bergville was truly fitting for this incredible place.

4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

As I ventured into the fields of pea and crops, I couldn’t help but feel a tingling sense of anticipation. Our cozy little cottage, Hoopoe, had patiently stood there, waiting for our arrival. And as we stepped inside, we were greeted with a delightful surprise that truly touched our hearts – a braai basket, lovingly prepared by Shane’s wife, Kerry.

The basket, oh, the basket! It was bursting with delicious treats, carefully selected and packed with utmost care. A thick, juicy steak and some proper boerewors caught my eye, promising a feast for the senses. But it didn’t end there. Oh no, the goodies kept on coming.

We were spoiled with two exquisite homemade salads – one featuring quinoa, a grain I had only just discovered, and the other, a refreshing cabbage salad that offered a delightful crunch. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, I noticed something special tucked away in the corner of the basket – enamel cups filled with mielie bread dough, ready to be baked to golden perfection. The irresistible aroma of freshly baked bread began to fill the air, adding to the magic of the moment.

But the surprises didn’t stop there. Kerry had prepared a fun marshmallow smores kit for us, making me feel like a child again. And to satisfy our sweet tooth, there were cute little jars filled with cheesecake, beckoning us to indulge in their creamy goodness. And to wash it all down, a bottle of red wine, patiently waiting to be uncorked and savored.

As I looked at the overflowing braai basket, gratitude overwhelmed me. It was a true testament to the thoughtfulness and love that went into making our stay at Hoopoe extra special. In that moment, I knew that this would be a trip to remember – filled with delicious food, cherished memories, and a sense of connection that only good company and great hospitality can bring.

As twilight settled and the cows serenaded us with their mooing, my companions and I wasted no time in celebrating the beautiful sunset. We sat on our cozy little patio, sipping wine and soaking in the sight of the majestic peaks in the Drakensberg. The distinct shapes of Mnweni, the scenic Saddle, and Cathkin Peak stood out against the fading light. With each peak, we mentally mapped out new hiking adventures, imagining the trails we would conquer in the future. But in that moment, sitting comfortably and enjoying the view, the thought of actually hiking seemed like a daunting task.

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The owners of Kezlyn Cottages, Shane and Kerry, have a knack for farming. Their fields are abundant with crops like maize, soya beans, wheat, and peas. But amidst their agricultural endeavors, they decided to embark on a new venture: the creation of Kezlyn Cottages. It’s interesting to note that Shane and Kerry weren’t always farmers. They had previously lived and worked in the bustling city but eventually found their way to the peaceful town of Bergville.

So, let’s talk about what it’s really like to take over the family business and embrace the remote rural life. It might sound romantic, but what’s the reality? Well, this season we had a bit of a setback when a hailstorm came through and smashed some of our crops. But you know what? Our cattle proved to be reliable, and that’s a silver lining.

Living in the countryside has its perks, too. We have a tight-knit group of friends who are always there for us, and we get to have a great social life. It’s nice to have that support system, especially when you’re far away from the city. And speaking of social lives, one of our friends who lives nearby actually went on a matchmaking show called “Boer Soek ‘n Vrou.” It’s a bit funny, but hey, you never know where you might find love!

4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

Why did the Buchanans choose farm life for their child? Well, they wanted to introduce him to things like gumboots and mud, and teach him the value of being a good neighbor. Building a strong community is essential when you live on a farm, don’t you agree? And there’s something special about the DIY spirit that comes with the countryside lifestyle, especially when you’re growing your own food and raising animals.

When we visited Kerry at The Old Mushroom Farm in Howick, she proudly showed us all the locally made biltong. It’s made with beef from right here, using recipes that have been passed down through generations. Before leaving, Kerry insisted we make a stop at The Outspan and make sure to come back for the farmer’s market that happens every other Saturday. She promised there would be plenty of homemade bread and fresh produce to enjoy.

The Old Mushroom Farm, Howick

When I first arrived at the Karkloof Valley, with its stunning views and fertile farmland, I was initially disappointed to learn that the mushroom cultivation had ceased. However, I soon discovered that The Old Mushroom Farm, located just outside Howick, still had something remarkable to offer.

Nicholas Crooks, an architect and former mushroom farmer, had transitioned from growing fungi (which, he humorously described as “flipping hectic!”) to engaging in artistic endeavors. As we chatted in the community food garden, he expressed his desire for people to step away from their screens and embrace hands-on activities.

With all the rainfall, the farm has transformed into a food forest of sorts. Pumpkins and sunflowers, in particular, are thriving and spreading uncontrollably. “While we initially created The Old Mushroom Farm to provide our guests with something to do, I am first and foremost an architect,” Nick explained. He then grinned mischievously, gestured towards the unfinished structures behind me, and said, “But I can’t resist a building challenge!”

When I think back to the Midlands Meander of old, I remember a route that felt different. It wasn’t just about getting from one place to another; it was an immersive experience. You could walk into a workshop and witness the skilled artisans in action, crafting beautiful creations right before your eyes. It was a place where their passion and talent were on full display.

That’s the vision Nick has for The Old Mushroom Farm – a place that captures the spirit of the Midlands Meander of old. A place where you can step inside and be transported to a world of creativity and craftsmanship.

4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

Hey there! I wanted to tell you about this amazing place called The Old Mushroom Farm, which offers unique self-catering accommodation at 11 Karkloof. These rustic cottages used to be home to farm workers, and they have been transformed into cozy and charming living spaces with a vintage touch.

But let me introduce you to the star of the show – The Apartment. Imagine staying in a converted mushroom-growing tunnel! This one-of-a-kind two-bedroom cylinder has been turned into a stylish open-plan lounge and kitchen. Picture yourself enjoying a crackling fireplace while the misty air envelops you. It’s truly an extraordinary experience!

The rest of the tunnels are connected through a pedestrian arcade, which creates a pathway to a coffee roastery, bakery, bistro, Maker’s Market, and even a gym. All these amazing spots come together to create a vibrant and artisanal hub that is simply irresistible.

If you’ve ever been to Braamfontein’s Neighbourgoods Market in Joburg, or if you’re familiar with the trendy vibes of Maboneng or Victoria Yards, you’ll feel right at home here. First Thursdays, an exciting monthly event, has even made its way to this rural location. It’s incredible how this place combines rural charm with urban coolness!

I haven’t had a chance to go to a Karkloof First Thursday yet, but even on a regular weekday morning, I could feel the strong sense of community. The barista at Bluebird Coffee Roastery asked a customer about their usual coffee bean subscription, and the gym instructor shared a delicious treat from Home Slice Cafe with one of their clients after class. The lively atmosphere of the mornings made me realize that modern farm stays are about more than just connecting with the land – they’re also about reconnecting with others.

Get to know a modern-day farmer

Meet Thomas Franken from Rosemary Hill in Tshwane

I live on a farm with my wife, Theresa, and our two daughters, Isabella and Sofia. We’ve been here since 1978 when my parents moved here to start the Waldorf school. Over the years, more family members have joined us, and now we have multiple generations working together, especially in the accommodation area.

At our farm, we specialize in growing and distilling essential oils. We have a variety of plants, including rosemary, lavender, artemisia, rose geranium, and mint. We also have a large herd of Bapedi cattle, which provides plenty of grazing land. Additionally, we grow some vegetables and have around 200 pecan trees.

To add to the diversity of our farm, we have a stable yard with about 35 horses. These horses are used for outrides and lessons.

Living on a farm is a unique and fulfilling experience. I wake up every day surrounded by nature and the animals that call our farm home. It’s hard work, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I’m grateful to be part of this farming legacy and to have the opportunity to share it with my family.

4 stylish farm stays in South Africa

Let’s talk about Waldorf!

Did you know that Waldorf education and organic farming are closely connected? Rudolf Steiner, the founder of Waldorf education in 1919, also developed biodynamic farming methods. Being responsible and sustainable is important to us, which is why we’ve always been an organic farm. We create our own compost using cow manure, garden waste, and kitchen leftovers. We even have a nursery where we grow seedlings for our fields.

So, what’s your preference?

My journey in hospitality began 15 years ago, when I decided to host tea parties. It was a small, humble start, but little did I know that it would lead to so much more. From tea parties, I ventured into opening a cozy coffee shop, and then I found myself creating exciting mountain bike trails. As time went on, something unexpected happened – people started asking to stay the night for weddings held on the farm.

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Seeing this growing demand, I decided to expand my accommodation offerings. Our Stone Cottage became our first luxurious unit, designed specifically to serve as a bridal suite. It was a whole new world for me, as I had never consulted with a designer before. Together, we brainstormed and let our creative juices flow, envisioning a guest experience that would be unforgettable.

We wanted to create a haven where guests could relax and indulge in the beauty of their surroundings. Large windows were installed, offering breathtaking views of our enchanting forest area. And to add an extra touch of luxury, we placed a free-standing bath in each suite, so guests could soak in pure bliss.

But the quest for inspiration didn’t stop there. I realized that there was a whole world of unique places waiting to be discovered, thanks to platforms like Instagram and Pinterest. These platforms showcased stunning locations that ignited my imagination and fueled my desire to create more unforgettable experiences.

What makes our location even more special is its proximity to Joburg and Pretoria. This means that a relaxing midweek “staycation” is just a short drive away for many people. So, whether you’re looking for a weekend getaway or a weekday escape, we’re here to offer an unforgettable experience in our 120 available beds spread across the farm.

Have more people been going outside because of the pandemic?

The pandemic caused a surge in our growth – no doubt about it. With travel restrictions in place, people became frustrated with their inability to travel and started exploring their local surroundings. That’s when they stumbled upon us. Not only were they eager to escape their homes, but our farm offered enticing activities like hiking trails, horse rides, Segway tours, and simply relaxing in the gardens. It was a breath of fresh air for them – literally and figuratively.

A selection of delightful farm stays

Bring your furry friend to Kezlyn Farm Cottages, Bergville

At Kezlyn Farm Cottages, you’ll find just three units, with one of them being pet-friendly. Each unit boasts stunning mountain views and a mix of modern elegance and bohemian charm. Enjoy the spacious verandas that overlook the majestic Drakensberg mountains, and take advantage of the excellent braai facilities for a good old South African BBQ. Plus, if you need to get some work done, reliable Wi-Fi is available for remote work.

Contact me at 072 244 6491 or find me on Facebook at Kezlyn Farm Cottages.

Escape to the tranquility of Farmhouse 58 in the Cradle of Humankind.

If you’re yearning to connect with nature, Farmhouse 58 is the perfect place for you. Our suites are deliberately designed to be minimalist, giving you a chance to unwind and relax. Join Epic Hikes for a guided hike that combines mindfulness and stimulating conversation. And make sure to indulge in a delicious meal at And Then There Was Fire, located at the picturesque Nirox Sculpture Park just across the road. Visit their website at andthentherewasfire.com.

Discover the charm of Klein Nektar Farm Cottage in Montagu.

Montagu is home to many charming farm stays, but Klein Nektar Farm Cottage stands out as a favorite. This self-catering cottage offers a unique experience, combining the convenience of being within walking distance of cafes and local produce stalls with the tranquil ambiance of an off-the-grid farm environment. You won’t find Wi-Fi here, but you’ll find a wonderful opportunity to unwind and immerse yourself in nature.

Experience the warmth of the community at 11 Karkloof in Howick.

When I think about finding a place to stay at The Old Mushroom Farm, it’s hard not to gravitate towards the popular Apartment. But let me tell you, the five cottages there are just as charming and offer the same incredible atmosphere. And that’s not all – the artisan hub nearby has some amazing shops that are open from Thursday to Sunday. Plus, there’s even a gym where you can take classes to stay fit during your stay. Oh, and you can’t miss out on the bread from Home Slice Cafe. They have potato and rosemary bread that is absolutely heavenly. And if you’re looking for something more snacky, they also have delicious cheese sticks. Just make sure to order in advance so you don’t miss out! To book, call 060 470 1218, or visit their website at 11karkloof.co.za.

Now, let’s talk about another great farm stay option – Kalmoesfontein in Malmesbury, just an hour away from Cape Town. This place is a real gem. They have several beautiful units spread out across the farm, offering you a chance to truly embrace the fresh air and enjoy the company of adorable farm animals. And the best part? They also have special produce that you can try during your stay. It’s like a little piece of paradise. If you’re interested, make sure to book a cellar tour in advance or plan your visit to coincide with their famous Thursday pizza night. That way, you can mingle with the regulars and have a memorable experience.

Lastly, I want to tell you about Rosemary Hill in Tshwane. This place is truly something special. The serene atmosphere and stunning views will take your breath away. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful retreat or an adventurous getaway, Rosemary Hill has it all. You can take long walks in the countryside, explore the trails, or simply relax and soak in the beauty of nature. It’s an experience like no other.

If you’re looking for a unique farm stay near the city, you’ll be delighted to hear that this place books up months in advance. It’s got everything you need for a memorable getaway – cozy cabins, breathtaking views, and a whole lot of outdoor activities. But that’s not all.

When you stay here, you’ll have access to mountain bike trails, running and hiking routes, and even the opportunity to interact with some friendly farm animals. Picture yourself sharing the farm with wild rabbits, donkeys, horses, goats, sheep, and more. It’s truly an animal lover’s paradise.

But there’s more to this place than just cute cabins and furry friends. The farm has recently added two new and exciting accommodations: The Hideout and The Cove. The Hideout is an elevated forest cabin complete with a hot tub. Imagine relaxing in the hot tub while surrounded by trees and nature sounds. Doesn’t that sound amazing? And The Cove is a fun geometric dome that adds a unique twist to your farm stay experience. Trust me, you won’t find anything like it anywhere else.

In conclusion, if you’re searching for a farm stay that combines beauty, nature, and adventure, look no further. This place has it all. Book your stay in advance, and get ready for a vacation you’ll never forget.

This article originally appeared in the June 2022 print issue of Getaway.

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