go! - - Contents - – Pierre Steyn

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;


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