Farm on the Duiwenhoks River with a large 200 year-old Farmhouse, a luxury cottage, a converted Boathouse and a restored labourer's cottage

Budget Getaways Review

Getaways like this are few and far between.

Oshoek, the Borain family farm, lies in a beautiful valley, along the banks of the tidal Duiwenhoks River. Besides 20ha of pristine fynbos and 600m private river frontage, on offer is a prime choice of four secluded self-catering abodes, each quite different in character, but all reflecting good taste and an eye for simple aesthetics.

Your options range from the gracious old family farmhouse (the Main House), a luxurious thatch abode called Peter’s House, a quaint Boathouse, and a recently renovated riverfront worker's abode called Nic's House. All four are fully equipped, with linen, towels and laundry facilities supplied, and a cleaning service available on request when making your booking.

Starting from the small, the Boathouse sits right on the water’s edge and the style is best described as shabby-chic. A large room with double doors opens onto the river, and a braai area with table. A separate sleeping area with double-bed ensures privacy, plus there is a foldout couch in the living area for any overflow. Now fitted with electricity, the cottage can still be lit with candles and paraffin lamps to add to the ambiance. A Godin wood stove provides further warmth in winter. So, if you're a diehard romantic, the Boathouse is definitely for you.

Further up the spectrum and distinctly luxurious, Peter's House (sleeps 7) is a thatch abode in a secluded wooded area, again very near the water's edge. Peter's features a pair of double bedrooms (one of them ensuite) flanking a double-volume open-plan living area, with further dormitory style sleeping in a loft with three single beds. Peter's House is extremely comfortable, with king- and queen-size beds, a wood burner, VCR, DSTV (bring own decoder and Smart card), big fridge and micro, a shaded veranda and awesome views, among the abundant touches.

The Main House offers a brilliant group getaway. Sleeping 12 at a push (and 10 in style), contained within its 200-year-old walls is a total of five bedrooms and four bathrooms and toilets! Lying 200 metres from the river, it fronts onto its own lawn with shady trees – great for free-range kids. Quarry tiled steps lead up to the spacious covered verandah, perfect for long and lazy lunches, into an open-plan kitchen, dining and living area with log fireplace. Much of the house is arranged around a central grassed courtyard, with a braai area. The decor is casual and relaxed and befitting a weekend by the river. The house is fully equipped, including a dishwasher, microwave, stove with oven, large fridge, pool table, video/DVD player, music system and DSTV - be sure to bring your own decoder and Smart card.

Nic's House, (sleeping 5 at a push) a restored worker's cottage, with open-plan kitchen and living area spilling onto a deck with awesome river views. With a separate bedroom with queen bed and fireplace (plus a sleeper couch and single bed in the lounge), a full bathroom and a fireplace, shabby-chic comfort is again the guiding theme. There's DSTV here too, (bring own decoder and Smart card).

Turning to the activity list, the tidal river is a nature conservation area, so no water-skiing or tubing is permitted. The river mouth and beach lies 5km downstream. This can only be accessed by boat - river trips are by arrangement, or, better still, bring your own boat. There is a lapa on the riverbank and a floating timber jetty. Fishing is allowed by licence, so definitely bring your rod and tackle - cob, spotted grunter, elf and haarder are on the cards. (Trolling and night fishing is not permitted.)

In the words of a frequent visitor: "This is the most spectacularly magical place I’ve been to in South Africa."

What more can we say?

Getaway Facts: Oshoek River Farm
WhereOutskirts of Vermaaklikheid (& 35km from Riversdale)
GPS co-ordsS 34°19'44''  E 21°01'23''
Meals availableno
Activitiesbirdwatching, boating, canoeing, fishing, mountain biking, stargazing, swimming, walking

Guest Comments

"Beautiful setting, and the river is lovely. If you take a small boat, there is a lot to do. We found it a bit pricey and our house (Peters house) was big and well equipped but a bit gloomy/dark." (Sally Holderness, visited May 2015)
"Little over priced for self catering units and in my particular unit fridge and some of the equipment could do with an upgrade. Fabulous setting and fishing/boating venue right on the river. Will definitely go back for another visit." (Robert Stephen, visited February 2015)
"Firstly, to the Budget Fetaways team, so glad I picked up your wee book, it's excellent. The booking via your website worked well with quick response from the Oshoek Farm. Finally got back to the Duivenhoks River, an enchanting place, only spoiled by local landowners not allowing access to the river mouth by car or foot. The Oshoek Farm is lovely. The boathouse is surrounded by water and forest so excellent bird life. The boathouse is small and basic, but in a lovely setting and is highly recommended. The kitchen needs a larger worktop, but hard to fit that into the small space! Josie Borain was a delight to deal with." (Sean Leslie, visited September 2014)
"I love this farm! Especially if you have the whole place filled with your favourite friends. The three houses are close enough and far enough apart to make for a good big group getaway. We had my husbands 40th there a few years back and it is a stunning corner of heaven, a valley all to yourself with a river running by - excellent spot" (Julie Anderson, visited June 2010)
"Absolutely loved this place. Eight adults and nine kids spent a beautiful weekend here, something for everyone here. Put this one in your diary." (Peter Lacey, visited October 2010)
"A wonderful weekend! Will be back." (Keith Munro, visited January 2009)