Unwind at De Rust View Guesthouse in the shadow of the Swartberg.
If you want to unwind in the Little Karoo, there are few places that beat De Rust when it comes to location. The village is about a half-hour drive east of Oudtshoorn on the N12. From there, you can choose to go north through Meiringspoort into the Great Karoo or you can carry on east towards Uniondale on the R341 – a scenic road with little traffic that will eventually lead you to the beaches of the Eastern Cape. Don’t be fooled by the rural tranquility you’ll find in the shadow of the Swartberg. There’s a lot going on beneath the placid surface. For decades, De Rust was a one-donkey village during the week and maybe a two-donkey town over weekends. Then, at the turn of last century, it was “discovered” by artists, writers, chefs and entrepreneurs who had grown tired of city life. They’ve breathed new energy into the place. Journalist Ben Pretorius and his attorney wife Lanie-Marie Roets are two such incomers. In 2011, they recognised the potential of an old house on top of a hill on the eastern boundary of the village. They bought it, moved from Limpopo, renovated the property and turned it into the De Rust View Guesthouse. Today it’s a place you’ll be thankful for after a long day’s drive. It’s a good option to stay for a few days in April if you want to check out the Klein Karoo Arts Festival, but you don’t feel like braving the clamour of Oudtshoorn. Or come and rest your tired legs in the swimming pool after you’ve run the Meiringspoort Half Marathon in October. (Insider tip: It’s one of the most beautiful races in the country and the route is mostly downhill.) Yes, that pool is the place to be, especially in the late afternoon when you’re surrounded by the Swartberg and Kammanassie mountains slowly turning orange to purple… Facilities: Kammanassie View is a freestanding unit next to the pool that sleeps two people. It has a private braai place, DStv and a kitchenette. This is your first choice. There are also four en suite bedrooms in the main house. Nguni is a family room that sleeps four, but ask for Swartberg View if you’re a couple. It’s a big room with a private patio and beautiful views. It has a fridge, a microwave, a two-plate stove and cutlery. What else? Ben has a small bar in the main house with a collection of wine from the region, as well as some beers and cooldrinks. The bar runs on an honesty system: Choose your tipple, write it down in the book and settle what you owe when you pay your bill. While you’re at it, add a jar of Lanie-Marie’s kei apple jam. There’s a big kei apple bush on the property and she will encourage you to pick some of the sweet-sour fruit to take home with you. I dried the seeds, planted them in pots and the seedlings are flourishing. Rates: Kammanassie and Swartberg: R875 per night for two people out of season. The other three rooms are R775 per night for two people. Nguni costs R975 per night for four people. There are no credit card facilities – pay via EFT or cash. Contact: 082 6434 649; derustview.co.za
DE RUST VIEW GUESTHOUSE, DE RUST