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 that sleeps two, and a recently renovated riverfront worker's abode called Nic's House (sleeps 4). All four are fully equipped, with linen, towels and laundry facilities supplied, and a cleaning service available on request.
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. Gas powers the fridge, stove and geyser, and the cottage is lit with candles and paraffin lamps. 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 seven) is a thatch abode in a secluded wooded area, again very near the water's edge. Peter's features a pair of double rooms (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 card), big fridge and micro, a shaded veranda and awesome views, among the abundant touches.
Finally, the Main House offers a brilliant group getaway. Sleeping 12 at a push (and eight 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 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 and a prolific lemon tree taking centre stage. The decor is casual and relaxed and befitting a weekend by the river - there's even a Harry Potter bedroom for the kids! 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 Smart card.
New on the scene is Nic's House, 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 kingsize bed (plus extra space in the lounge for two), a full bathroom and a fireplace, shabby-chic comfort is again the guiding theme.
Turning to the activity list, the tidal river is safe for swimming and boating; as a nature conservation area 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.
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?