R130pp – R400pp, depending on option
Budget Getaways Review
As far as rustic weekend getaways go, Die Houthuis is the last of a dying breed – a place where not even Triple-X Gel can keep the hair up. It’s the oldest getaway in Bonnievale, dating back to 1968 when the Milnerton Jewish Guild sold what was then an old school building to one Laubscher van der Merwe for R400. The kitchen counter set him back a further R10 and the rest of the fittings probably not much more than that. The grand opening took place in 1970, celebrated with potjiekos and a langarm boogie deep into the night. Die Houthuis hasn’t stopped rocking since.
Appointed on a grassy verge of the river, this barn-like timber hall is totally laid-back and great for big sociable groups and extended families. It sleeps 12 dormitory-style, with further accommodation possible by way of a caravan or tent pitched on the green grass outside. Several tables and chairs are arranged down the middle, flanked by a massive fireplace at one end and an open kitchen and wall-to-wall counter at the other.
The kitchen is neat and fully equipped with a stove, fridge and microwave. The low roof theoretically means inferno-like conditions in summer. But hey, a boer maak a plan: at the first sign of a heatwave simply switch on the sprinkler system mounted on the roof and presto, the temperature will drop a few degrees!
Stepping outside Die Houthuis, you’ll find a braai area, an unsinkable Tupperware canoe or two, tractor tubes, a raft and a foefie slide draped across the river. The latter was erected in 1980 by a Mr O’ Connel and his family – even their 72-year-old gran took a ride to mark the auspicious occasion.
Starting to get a sense of what Die Houthuis is all about? Good. As long as personal space and modcons aren’t high on your agenda, you’ll love it.
While Die Houthuis is the obvious first choice, there's now a second as-relaxed option available, called A Snoozer's Cottage. The latter abode lies 200m away from the river, but comes with its own jetty and picnic and braai area on the water, plus canoes, tractor tubes, and Tarzan swing.
Snoozer's offers a casual stay for six adults and/or a child or two, plus there are outside 'Budget Rooms' to handle your party overflow. The decor is a mix-and-match of the old and less old and the architecture pretty basic. The house adjoins your friendly host Ronelle's home, but Ronelle reassures us this ain't an issue.
Even newer in the mix is Die Wyntenke, originally a wine cellar that lays claim to being Bonnievale's first. Built in 1918, the cellar has been lovingly restored and caters for larger groups. Sticking to the farm's rustic vibe and situated about 400m from the river's edge, Die Wyntenke offers a mix of five double and twin rooms, three being ensuite. There's a massive open-plan kitchen and living room, as well as a gesellig outdoor braai spot. Whether you're going en masse or with a smaller group, this is your spot.
Rustic accommodation, the river as the weekend focus, and a home-baked recipe like grandma used to make, you're in for a good time.
"Wonderful, warm hospitality from the owners - we were made to feel so welcome and cared for. Beautiful views from Snoozer's and perfect walking distance from the river as we had little ones in the group. The kids loved the river swings, table tennis and tubes. A highlight was breakfast on the shaded stoep overlooking the vineyards and lying on the lawn gazing at the stars at night. Thank you for an awesome stay - the dogs were very happy as well!"
(Louise Ehret, visited Jan 2018)
"Amazing place, with excellent hosts!"
(Armand Wessels, visited Aug 2017)
"What an amazing little spot! I must be honest with you, the pics of this place simply don't do it justice. The accommodation is super neat, clean and Ronel is a great host. Yes, the advertisement may say that the accommodation is built onto Ronel's house, but trust me, it is completely private from the little braai area out back. The walk to the river was lovely and we had a chance to peek into "Die Houthuis" which accommodates a large number of people in dorm type facilities. All I can say is: "wow!". If you are going to get away for the weekend with a group of good friends (who don't snore too loudly), then this is the place for you. Right on the banks of the river! Thank you Ronel for the great weekend... we loved it and we will definitely come back!"
(Barbara Ohlsson, visited Jul 2017)
"What an amazing family weekend we spent at Die Wyntenke. It easily accommodated 14 adults and 6 little ones. We loved the rustic and laid back feel of the house. Ronelle is an absolute star and ensured we had everything we needed. We will definitely visit again!"
(Bridget Webb, visited May 2017)
(Marlisa Mostert, visited February 2017)
"My friends and I stayed at Wyntenke. The place is simply amazing. The surroundings is just as great! Being surrounded by an entire vineyard just adds to the experience. The facilities were quite up to standard, no hassles, no fuss. The professionalism displayed by the owners was exceptional - always ready to assist with whatever query we had. They go out of their way to make you feel at home. For the time that we spent there and for the price that we got it, it was definitely value for money."
(Deon Arends, visited Jan 2017)
"We stayed at A Snoozer's Cottage and it wass exactly that... what a place to snooze away all the normal big city tensions."
(Leon van der Walt, visited Oct 2016)
"Wat n wonderlike wegbreek naweek by die Houthuis. Alles was net perfek en die kinders het die slip-n-slide so geniet. Ronelle is die vriendelikste mens ooit en het ons almal baie tuis laat voel by hulle Houthuis. Ons sal beslis weer terug gaan binnekort."
(Meagan Saayman, visited Sep 2016)
"We had an awesome weekend. Wish we could have stayed longer!"
(Cathy Gertze, visited Jul 2016)
"We recently stayed at Snoozers Cottage and what a great breakaway! Two big thumbs up to Ronelle who made us feel at home the second we got there. There were canoes, slides and ample braai spots. We haven't felt this relaxed after a weekend away in ages. Will definitely be visiting again."
(Ekzabbe Louw, visited Mar 2016)
"My boyfriend and I stayed here during the December holidays. We had a fantastic time and can really recommend this to everyone. The setting is out of this world. A real "kuier-huis" with one big room for 12 people right on the banks of the Breede River. Wonderful!"
(Ilanda Havenga, visited January 2015)
"Absolutely amazing holiday had by all, would definitely go back."
(Louise Roberts, visited January 2015)
"We had the most fantastic time ever. We were in Snoozers Cottage and everything was available what you could ever need. The last kids enjoyed themselves on the slip and slide to their fullest. It is the perfect getaway."
(Prudence Felix, visited January 2015)
"The four day stay was absolutely an amazing experience. I love that the place is surrounded with the beauty of vineyards and so close to the river where one can swim and have so much fun. The houses are set far enough from each other so we can do what we want. The house Wyntenke is so spacious and peaceful at night. I would love to go there again."
(Sonja de Villiers, visited January 2015)
"The farm cottages are very nice. There is a relaxing and peaceful atmosphere on the farm. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. Some preferred chilling by the outside sheltered fire place in the courtyard, while others took a walk and some ventured on the canoe down by the river. This place has it all with regards to the view, relaxing and having some fun on the farm. The hospitality was exceptional and they were always willing accommodating to your every need. Even the dog was friendly. This place is the ideal get away for a big family or group to spend time with one another and bond. We will definitely go again."
(Elton Jepthas, visited January 2015)
"Our hosts were amazing and went out of their way to attend to our needs and made our stay most enjoyable. I was introducing some American friends to the Western Cape and they were so happy"
(Pierre Roux, visited May 2015)
"At first when I saw the house from the outside I was skeptic about it, but when we entered and saw the facilities, man it was if I could stay there for ever. Thanks for great hospitality Ronell. Definitely there will be a next and a next and a next time. Die wyntenke huise is perfect vir n lekker wegbreek tydjie. Thumps up."
(Brandon Mauritius, visited March 2015)
"Lovely relaxing family, including dog, getaway."
(Tracy Vermeulen, visited January 2015)
"We had an absolute brilliant time. Ronelle was an absolute blessing!"
(Kathleen de Villiers, visited January 2015)
"Could not have asked for a better getaway!"
(Cole Stanton, visited November 2014)
"Dankie vir 'n wonderlike naweek by die Houthuis. Dit was definitief 'n belewenis om te onthou en een van die wonderlikse kort vakansies wat ek en my vriende nog saam spandeer het. Ons sal beslis in die toekoms weer wou kom kuier."
(Morne Anthony, visited September 2014)
"Brilliant weekend and hospitality."
(Karen Beck, visited July 2014)
"We were a group of 10 students who stayed at Die Houthuis for a weekend getaway. We really liked the fact that the house is right next to the river and quite secluded. We could enjoy ourselves like young people do and not bother anybody. The house was very clean, fully equipped and beautifully decorated with fresh flowers. Everybody loved Die Houthuis and we cannot wait to book our next weekend."
(Ilze Germishuys, visited November 2013)
"We had a wonderful time at Snoozer's Cottage and enjoyed the hosts hospitality very much!"
(Ingrid Beimel, visited September 2013)
"Our second time on the river - Snoozers is a bit of a walk away from the river, but the cottage otherwise was very nice with a wonderfully wacky style. If it's windy though, the braai area is not that suitable, but the hosts did offer their own braai place... and that sums it up: you feel looked after without it being intrusive. Boat and swimming was great - easy to launch, plus there is a tyre tube, foofy slide and tarzan rope. Great place to swim on the river with few river grasses."
(Protea Hirschel, visited February 2012)
"We had such an amazing time and the house is so lovely. I will be recommending the Houthuis to friends and family and we will definitely be back in future."
(Crystal Espin, visited February 2011)
"Ons het ‘n briljante, fantastiese, beeldskone tyd gehad by Die Houthuis. Die hoeveelheid aktiwiteite het verseker dat daar nooit ‘n vervelige oomblik was nie. Die huis is uitstekend ingerig en die omgewing beeldskoon. Baaaie DANKIE vir die mees fantastiese Nuwejaar wegbreekvakansie ooit! Ons hoop om eendag terug te keer!"
(Anine Kirsten, visited January 2011)
"A year later and I still fondly think of the weekend away with my friends in August 2009. Ronelle (the hostess) was amazing in every way - friendly, accommodating and easy going. As a rustic scenic getaway I have recommended this place to many of my friends and family, highlighting the HUGE fire place, spaciousness to kuier indoors or outdoors, and from the kitchen needs to the paddle boats are offered. PS. Our festive and thoroughly enjoyable long weekend is documented in a two-page spread of the guest book - look out for it!"
(Lynnae Lyons, visited August 2009)
"What a stunning long weekend. Kids paradise! Loved the swing into the river and the rapids. Will be back very soon - Pollecutt x 4, Radford x 4 and Smith x 4."
(Vivienne Pollecutt, visited April 2009)
"Thanks for a wonderful stay – only two bass for the weekend, but slippery slide was a huge success and canoe’s made for some very tired kids at the end of each day! Thanks, will be back again."
(Richard Watkins-Baker, visited October 2008)
"The flood of 2008 – we were here!! AND STAYED! What an experience. Water two metres away from Die Houthuis. Fridges, pontoons, parts of houses racing past. Beat that!"
(Johan Rabie, visited November 2008)
"Baie dankie vir ‘n fantastiese plek. Die naweek was wonderlik! Ons sal weer kom."
(Lize Swanepoel, visited August 2008)
"Fantastic! The kids enjoyed the slide and the canoes and the tubes immensely – thanks for organizing these extras."
(Michelle Barr, visited April 2008)
"Heaven on earth, every need catered for. Next time will come for fun and laughter. In the meantime please train the fish to eat bait off a hook. Give Chuck Norris a huge hug for all his company."
(Sharon Maine, visited March 2008)
"Beeldskone omgewing, die geselligheid van die kaggelvuur en die houthuis, die pragtige opknappings en vreeslike moeite wat julle ingesit het vir ons, het ons tydjie hier ongelooflik gemaak! Ons kan nie genoeg dankie sê nie!"
(Philip Hanekom, visited December 2007)
"A really enjoyable afternoon of fun and laughter with the Van der Merwe and Spangenberg families. Many thanks for your hospitality!"
(Kelvin Crombie, visited March 2008)
"Baie dankie vir (weereens) nog ‘n lekker naweek van luilekker kuier. Wat ‘n stunning “venue”! Mens kan heeltemal ontspan en bietjie batterye herlaai."
(Amelia van der Merwe, visited October 2007)
"Heerlike naweek en familie re-unie om Ma se 80ste te vier – baie spesiaal! Sy het die roei in die kano veral geniet. Almal - honde inkluis - was dol oor die rivier-swem."
(Adele Pretorius, visited October 2007)
"The children's comment: 'When can we come again'? Youngest son, Oscar, caught his first fish and frog. The river is nice and safe, canoeing fantastic, beautiful scenery and very friendly hosts."
(Raymond van der westhuizen, visited February 2008)
"Die lekkerste plek nog langs die Bree Rivier... Lekker groot karpe, koue bier, en die kinders het hulle gate uit geniet.. Sal beslis weer daar 'n draai maak."
(Herman Mouton, visited February 2008)
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