Dome, sweet dome: La Bruyere Farm

Posted on 10 June 2020

Louise Topping stays at one of South Africa’s first geodomes for a unique experience in nature’s embrace.

Image: Louise Topping

La Bruyere Farm Geodome

10 kilometres from Tulbagh, Western Cape

Wallowing in an open-air hot tub beneath a starry sky, serenaded by clicking frogs and the chatter of birds, is one of my ultimate luxuries. Second only to lying in a comfy bed looking up at the stars through a clear domed roof, with said symphony as a lullaby. That’s the thing about La Bruyere Farm’s geodome glamping experience – you get both delights in the same night.

La Bruyere is about 10 minutes’ drive along the R46 from Tulbagh, and a comfortable driving distance (about 120 kilometres) from Cape Town for a night’s stay. It’s at the foot of the Witzenberg mountains that arc gracefully around the Tulbagh Valley.

Image: Louise Topping

Owner Jenny Normann, her family and staff have combined their skills to build and decorate the geodesic dome. It sits on a three-level wooden deck that peeks out over a dam, and is shaded
by wattles, which Jenny is slowly replacing with indigenous trees.

I could almost ‘feel’ the silence; it settled like a veil and was broken only by the babble and purr of the waxbills, weavers and red bishops among the reeds.

When the dam is full in the rainy season, you can leap off the deck for a dip, but as it was dry season, my husband, Deon, and I walked the short path down to a second deck where the water was deeper. We saw cormorants and dabchicks and a shy heron, and what we thought was a Cape cobra, which we named Clive. He seemed content to keep pace with us in the ditch alongside the path and only disappeared into the wattles when we got to the swimming deck. We rather hoped he wasn’t planning on joining us in the water.

Jenny told us that there’s also a resident Cape clawless otter, which we named Claude, although we didn’t meet him.

The dome has a fully equipped kitchen built onto the deck, and a Weber braai, so we didn’t need to leave our little bubble for meals. Image: Deon Schreiber

In the morning, I followed the hiking trail that leads from the dam up towards the mountains. It’s a six-kilometre hike, but I turned back after three of them before the midday heat caught up with me. As I neared the dam, I saw a dark shape scurry under the deck. Could it have been Claude, I wondered? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Clive.

Best feature The shape and design of the dome complement the natural surrounds, so it feels as if you’re part of the landscape. It’s teeming with birds residing in the reeds around the dam.

Cost From R1,500 per night (sleeps two), self-catering.

Contact ‘Dome in Tulbagh’,



This article was first published in the April 2020 issue of Getaway magazine.
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All prices correct at publication, but are subject to change at each establishment’s discretion. Please check with them before booking or buying.


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