Budget Getaways Review
To attempt some justice to this northern Cape gem outside Nieuwoudtville, perhaps a few warm-up words from our competition at The Greenwood Guide: "I am going to stick my neck out and say that this is my favourite place to stay in South Africa. And here are my reasons... You stay in an old stone cottage, surrounded by rock, gum trees and wildlife, not another human in sight. The quality of peace and stillness defeats description... Then there's the small matter of the gorge and waterfall, which I would have kept secret if I wasn't insistent on your visiting the farm... The wild flowers in season are sensational even by Namaqualand standards..."
Thank you, Mr Greenwood, we get the idea!
Turning to the hard facts... Papkuilsfontein offers a cluster of three privately appointed sandstone and thatched cottages, De Hoop (sleeps 4), Rondekraal (sleeps 2) and Gert Boom (sleeps 6).
All are fully equipped and infused with rich traditional character and furnishings in keeping with the farm's rich past. They also have indoor fireplaces, down duvets and hot water bottles for those chilly Karoo nights; for spring and summer, a hammock awaits, as does a rock pool above a waterfall and a new farm dam set between two of the cottages.
As would be hoped for, there is no electricity in the cottages; instead gas, candles and lanterns provide lighting and the hot water.
Heading back towards Nieuwoudtville, there's a quaint corrugated iron cottage set against a gentle slope and yielding unlimited views of the vast Hantam plains famous for their profusion of spring colour. Also steeped in traditional atmosphere, Jan Voorman's Cottage (which lies adjacent to the De Lande Guesthouse) provides a comfortable stay for four guests. Best spot in the entire cottage is the classic SA stoep - the perfect place to dip your morning rusk and scan the dolorite koppies.
And now to the action. A 180m high waterfall on the edge of the impressive Oorlogskloof Gorge that's a (mere) two-hour walk from your cottage (you can also drive there!); Papkuilsfontein's natural rock pools and swimming dam; personalised farm tours taking in rock art, the canyon, the waterfall, birdlife, a diversity of veld types, and of course, all that farming stuff; a circular 12km hiking trail, great mountain biking, rich San rock art, brilliant star-gazing in unpolluted skies, and awesome pyrotechnic flower displays every spring... Papkuilsfontein has it all and more!
"A superb romantic getaway, Rondekraal is perfect for a couple. The peaceful surroundings were enough to restore balance and harmony to the most troubled of souls. Add a most delicious home cooked lamb shank delivered to our cottage and served by candlelight after a warm day at the rock pools. It was truly magnificent. Thank you for sharing this special place with those of us fortunate enough to visit!"
(Cally Arnold, visited May 2013)
"By far our best self-catering spot in SA - and we have been to many! This is an absolute gem of a place. We stayed in Gert Boom (which we loved for the seclusion, views and position). There is so much to do and see on the farm. The most incredible combination of fynbos and succulent Karoo and the landscape is magnificent. Well worth four nights or more. The cottage was immaculate, beautifully furnished with quality linen and everything else you could wish for. We had so many special widlife sightings and the view of the canyon is breathtaking. We will most definitely be back. What a find."
(Karoline Hanks, visited December 2010)
Where You'll Also Find Us
Arniston (Waenhuiskrans) • Barrydale • Baviaanskloof • Betty's Bay • Bonnievale • Bredasdorp • Caledon • Calitzdorp • Cape Agulhas & Struisbaai • Cape Peninsula & Surrounds • Cape St Francis & St Francis Bay • Ceres • Citrusdal • Clanwilliam & Cederberg • Colesberg • Darling • De Rust • Elands Bay • Gansbaai • George • Grabouw & Elgin Valley • Greyton • Hermanus • Hogsback • Jozi and Surrounds • Knysna • Ladismith • Malgas • Matjiesfontein • McGregor • Montagu • Mossel Bay • Napier • Oudtshoorn • Paarl • Plettenberg Bay • Port Elizabeth • Porterville • Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay and Kleinmond • Riebeek West & Riebeek-Kasteel • Robertson • Rustenburg • St Helena Bay • Stanford • Stilbaai • Sutherland • Swellendam • Tulbagh • Velddrif • Vermaaklikheid • Wellington • Wilderness • Worcester & Hex Valley • Yzerfontein