Calitzdorp/Oudtshoorn:The Retreat at Groenfontein
 To make a reservation enquiry, click on the "reservation" button at the bottom of the page.
The Retreat is a Victorian farmhouse set in 560ha of the beautiful Groenfontein Valley Conservancy, bordering on the 129 000ha Swartberg Nature Reserve. The house, filled with yellow-wood and mellow Oregon pine, has a lounge and dining room - each with its own ceramic fireplace to keep them cosy on chilly winter evenings - leading onto a wide verandah, overlooking the sweeping gardens and majestic Swartberg mountains.

Your Hosts, Grant and Marie, enjoy treating guests to true Klein Karoo hospitality. The smell of fresh coffee welcomes you back from a morning walk, to a hearty breakfast on the terrace, where dinner - cooked with Marie's continental flair - is also served when the weather is warm.

There are two suites and two garden rooms away from the house with breathtaking views of the mountains from their private terraces, and 4 comfortable en-suite bedrooms in the main house, with French doors opening onto a patio.

The meals at Groenfontein have a health emphasis, vegetarians are welcome and we cater for problem diets. Our Guests can enjoy Karoo lamb dishes and local Cape specialties. Meals are served under the stars on the veranda in the summer or in the beautiful dining room, with a crackling fire, during the cold winter evenings.

The Retreat has a full liquor licence and carries a selection of fine wines of the region.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED BY THE CEO OF SPECIALIZED TOURISM & MARKETING SERVICES (FARMSTAY)
The lovely Victorian house dates from 1910 and offers beautiful views of the Swartberg
The lovely Victorian house dates from 1910 and offers beautiful views of the Swartberg
(Click for a larger picture)

Activities:

Bird Watching Excellent spots for birding on farm, at dams and along river.

Hiking Trails Enjoy energetic hill walks or mountain biking in the clear air - or lazy summer afternoons cooling off in the shady, secluded rock pools that sparkle like jewels along the length of the tree-fringed river - or simply stroll along the peaceful, winding lanes of the Groenfontein Valley

Conservation/Environment

Calitzdorp (and The Retreat!), is situated more or less in the middle (from east to west), of a new conservation area that was officially established in the Little Karoo in 2011. The Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve (GCBR), covers an area from the Swartberg mountains in the north, to the Indian Ocean in the south; and from Uniondale in the east, to Montagu in the west. It aims to co-ordinate the protection of three international, biodiversity hotspots that overlap in this region, that form part of the Cape Floristic Kingdom.

There are currently thirty-four biodiversity hotspots recognized around the world, protecting viable populations of about 60% of the world's plant, bird, mammal, reptile, and amphibian species. The three that we have here in the Western Cape - the Fynbos, the Succulent Karoo and the Valley Thicket - are unique, in that they are the only place on the planet that is home to an entire floral kingdom, with the greatest concentration of plant species anywhere on earth (9 000 species), almost 70% of which are found nowhere else.
 
Rates:
Season Single Double
In season R 0.00 R 0.00
Out season R 0.00 R 0.00
Remarks: This lovely home has 2 garden family suites in the old milking-shed and 2 garden rooms in the converted weaving-shed, all with spectacular views of the mountains, king-size beds which can be made up as twins, sitting-areas by a fireplace, 3 with Victorian bath and shower, the smaller with only shower, the 2 suites have an extra room with 2 single beds.

The Retreat offers 1 cosy standard room in a converted buttery/creamery, with king-size bed, fireplace and shower and 3 comfortable standard en-suite bedrooms in the main Victorian house with French doors leading onto a patio. The guest-lounge and dining-room in the house, each with a fireplace, lead onto the verandah overlooking the sweeping gardens and majestic Swartberg.
Rooms include :   Yes  Yes   No  No
Phone No
Television No
Radio No
Heater Yes
Roof Fan No
Airconditioner No
Garden suites (small) and collage of suites and views (large)
Garden suites (small) and collage of suites and views (large)
(Click for a larger picture)



Nearest Town:
Calitzdorp
Distance: 20km
Police: Yes
Hospital: Yes
(Clinic in Calitzdorp).

The mountain stream running through The Retreat's property, which eventually feeds into the Gouritz River, is home to a number of species of indigenous fish - such as the slender, red-finned minnow and Cape galaxia - a fish that was here before the ancient supercontinent of Gondwanaland broke up and drifted apart. So, if you take a dip in the sparkling pools of our river, you might be lucky enough to have your toes tickled by the descendents of a fish that was swimming in these waters 120-million years ago!

In keeping with the setting, The Retreat itself has a low carbon footprint, even though we offer all the modern amenities and comforts of home. Our water (mountain champagne!), comes from our crystal-clear, mountain stream; most of our electricity comes from the sun; we recycle almost everything, or make compost to enrich our own organic veggie patch.

RESERVATIONS: Make a reservation enquiry (only an enquiry) by clicking on the reservation icon at the bottom of this page or contact the Farmstay reservation office hours: 039 313 0608 or phone August after hours on 082 882 7475. E-mail enquiries to August at august@farmstay.co.za
Tourist attractions in the area.
The Retreat is ideally situated for day trips to the Swartberg Pass, Meiringspoort, Seweweekspoort, Montagu Pass, the coast, Kango Caves and more

Any other information which may interest tourists to the area
Here, there is no cell phone reception so the tranquillity is unbroken by loud conversations that command attention. Likewise, there are no TV sets blaring forth from guest rooms to disturb the peace (we do have TV in the main lounge, mainly to entertain young children with suitable DVDs while their parents are enjoying dinner).

We operate on solar power plus generator backup, so no inconvenient power-outs! It does mean there are no fridges in the rooms but we supply ice and cold drinks on request. It also means that we have no cooling system or fans but our 'micro-climate' and location in the mountains produces a prevailing coolth by late evening which makes sleeping comfortable - and windows can be thrown wide open because we have no mosquitoes.

Agricultural sites of interest in the area.
Neighbours farm with ostriches, sheep, cattle, dairy and tobacco. Calitzdorp has wineries, port production and fruit farming.
The Menu
The meals at Groenfontein have a health emphasis, using herbs and vegetables from the garden. Guests can enjoy Karoo lamb dishes and local Cape specialties. We also cater for vegetarians. Meals are served under the stars on the veranda in the summer or in the beautiful dining room, with a crackling fire, during the cold winter evenings. Dinner bed and breakfast

Farm Details
Farm Name/s:Groenfontein Farm - 560 ha
Farming Activities: Grant and Marie have been developing the guesthouse since they bought the farm. They farm some lucerne and are planning to plant olive trees.
Farm History: Previously, Groenfontein was South Africa'a biggest walnut farm. In recent years it was used for grazing by the semi-retired owner's sons.

A bit about your hosts:
Marie came from Europe in 1984 and worked at MalaMala for over two years. She met Grant in 1987 and they then joined a lodge in Okavango. In 1990 they went to Namibia where they became shareholders/managers of Lianshulu Lodge in the Eastern Caprivi which they developed into one of Namibia's leading lodges. They sold their shares in 1998 and bought "Groenfontein" which they have developed into a lovely guesthouse. Enjoy energetic hill walks or mountain biking in the clear air - or lazy summer afternoons cooling off in the shady, secluded rock pools (small and large)
Enjoy energetic hill walks or mountain biking in the clear air - or lazy summer afternoons cooling off in the shady, secluded rock pools (small and large)
(Click for a larger picture)

How to get there:
Route map supplied when reservations are made.

  Photo gallery

Swimminig pool in idilic setting - just relax (small and large)
Swimminig pool in idilic setting - just relax (small and large)
(Click for a larger picture)
   Lounge in Victorian House (small) and collage of accommodation (large)
Lounge in Victorian House (small) and collage of accommodation (large)
(Click for a larger picture)

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