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?