THE INN CROWD
At 17 Reitz Street (opposite an old, stone church) in the quiet idyll of Fouriesburg — land of cherry wine and sculpted sandstone mountains in the highlands of the Eastern Free State.
There are 35 rooms under the inn’s management, 31 in the hotel’s grounds (six are in a separate sandstone house within the precinct) and an additional four at “Craig’s Corner” across the street. The rooms vary in spaciousness and comfort (luxury, standard, single and family rooms available) but all are tastefully decorated in a classic style and have their own outside verandahs, which look out onto the well-kept gardens.
Owners Gilly and René Scheepers took over a few years ago and have been steadily upgrading the décor and facilities. Its style is authentic and elegant, while the quantity and quality of original artworks, mostly local, on display are impressive.
There is safe, off-street parking, a 70-seater dining-room, a formal lounge and a comfortable TV lounge in the must-visit “Ladies Bar” (it’s covered in old railway memorabilia), plus a well-stocked wine cellar. The long stoep in front of the hotel is a good place to enjoy a cup of coffee and watch the slow pace of small-town life trickle by.
In a word: excellent. We couldn’t have asked for better.
Our party had dinner and breakfast at the hotel and we found the selection of good country fare varied, the portions sizeable and the food tasty. Breakfast is included in the overnight rate, while dinner and lunch are provided from an à la carte menu.
THE ‘DO’ LIST
With Lesotho only 10km away, Fouriesburg is a good launch-pad for a visit to Katse Dam or a transit through the kingdom.
But there’s much to do locally as well: the region and neighbouring towns boast galleries and numerous craft shops, while there’s also cherry wine and a number of regional craft beers to taste, not to mention many restaurants and coffee shops to choose from. Should you be interested in hiking, horse-riding, white-water rafting, hot-air ballooning or visiting San rock-art sites, the inn’s staff will point you in the right direction.
BEST TIME TO GO
March to November for the best weather, as well as special events, including “Stars of Sandstone”, in April, and the annual Cherry Festival in nearby Ficksburg in November.
R665-R765 pps/pn; R665-R915 singles, dependent on type of room chosen. Children under 11 pay half price while under-5s stay free.
FOURIESBURG COUNTRY INN, FREE STATE WHAT THE WALLS MIGHT SAY The Fouriesburg Country Inn is a 125-year-old business.