Why farmstay accommodation has more to offer

Posted by Francis Brady on 27 September 2011

There’s no need to spin a yarn or bully me into spending a night (preferably more than one) on a Karoo farm.  My husband and I generally don’t book in advance, favouring spontaneous travel. But choosing accommodation in a hurry is much like playing pin the tail on the donkey.  While we ate lunch in Victoria West, I interrogated the internet in search of a place to stay for the night.  After an indeterminable amount of deliberating it was time to pin the tail on the donkey.

The turn off to Taaiboschfontein Farm Accommodation is 10.8 km after the Shell Ultra City at Three Sisters, on the N1, heading towards Cape Town.

The gravel road, resembling a strip of supple liquorice, traced a simple track to the farmhouse.  After checking in, we sat on the farm stoep sipping drinks before dinner.  The sun was dissolving on a distant horizon while an evening gust harassed the trees causing a rebellious protest from the wind chimes.

Taaiboschfontein Farm Accommodation is a working farm owned and managed by Markus and Nelia Fourie.  Before buying the farm, the Fouries lived in Malmesbury where Markus was a practising vet.  Eight years have since past.  With Nelia’s affinity for people and Markus’ insight, this industrious couple have created an innovative establishment and a respite for travellers.

So what do you do when intruders like SMS advertising; billboard marketing; police sirens; traffic bottlenecks; the cacophony of crowds; hooting taxis; the throb of a mindless beat or the pall of pollution trespass on your senses?  The answer is simple – deprive them.

Below are a couple of reasons why farmstay accommodation in the Karoo could be the salubrious ointment you’ve been looking for:

1. Clean and serene

An attorney once told me that he didn’t enjoy the mountains.  When I inquired why, he said it was too busy; he could hear the angels constantly chipping away at the rocks.  That is one problem you won’t have in the Karoo.  A typical Karoo scene is a colossal amount of sky and a narrow strip of land, devoid of visual clutter (not that I’m implying mountains clutter your vision).

Without the regular demand of city life, the Karoo is an ideal environment for inspiration, a place to mull things over and connect with nature.

 

2. Home cooking

There’s no popping out for a bite to eat or a quick take away when you are miles from ‘civilisation’.  But who would want to when you can enjoy Nelia’s home cooking?  With a more than generous farm helping we ate dinner with the other guests.  The menu for the evening consisted of curried quince and onions, lamb ribs, springbok pie, vegetables, pumpkin fritters and a choice of red or white wine.  What dinner would be complete without a traditional malva pudding and custard for dessert?

Nelia is currently compiling a Karoo keepsake.  She has requested local farmers to supply her with their favourite recipes.  There’s be no better way to acquire your Boerekos fix than from an authentic Karoo farm recipe book.

3. Renewable and sustainable

A combination of solar panels and a wind turbine ensures that Taaiboschfontein is completely off the grid.  Tests on the borehole water resulted in a clean bill of health.

The original farm dam was converted into a swimming pool in less than three weeks.  Rocks from the surrounding area decorate the cement walls.  ‘It’s dual purpose,’ says Nelia.  ‘During summer guests enjoy a welcome relief from the heat and the frogs move in for winter.’

Work is underway on two more self-catering units.  Only raw materials found on the farm are used in all new building projects.

Everything  we ate, including the lamb and springbok, were from the farm.

Nelia discovered the dry living conditions in the Karoo impacted her nails, hair and skin.  After experimenting, she developed a nourishing cream from local resources.  It became so popular among her friends that its now a regular product available at the farm.

By supporting the philosophy of keeping it local, Nelia showcases products made by the local farmers and communities on their behalf.  Home industry items such as jams and chutneys, sheep skin slippers for adults and babies or bags made from twine are available.

A trip to Taaiboschfontein guarantees a self-sustainable experience.

 

4. Genuine hospitality the South African way

A visit to Taaiboschfontein is an opportunity to experience authentic South African hospitality.  The Fourie’s uncomplicated approach to hosting makes you feel at home at once.  The communal dining table allows you to mingle with guests in a casual atmosphere.  We spent a sociable evening swapping stories with other travellers.  Because accommodation is limited, you don’t have to worry about over crowding.

 

5. Nature and plant conservation

Taaiboschfontein Farm Accommodation is included within the Kromriver Riverine Rabbit Conservancy.  The endangered Riverine rabbit inhabits mainly riverside areas.  This rabbit is a flagship species.  The impact of agriculture and predators such as the black jackal and black eagle are threatening the existence of this indicator species.  However, if one restores the ecology of the veld the indicator species thrives.

Markus also has an aloe nursery consisting of about 5000 plants.  At present he is propagating five aloe species indigenous to the area, all of which are for sale.

 

6. Eco-tourism

Markus and Nelia are currently developing two green hiking routes.  With the assistance from a local professor the trails will incorporate historical attractions, discussions on fauna and flora and explanations of old farm structures and their meaning.

The Fouries are also investing in a telescope and the building of a planetarium on their farm is an exciting project.  Devoid of light pollution, the Karoo is the ideal environment for observing the night skies. 

 

Contact details

Taaiboschfontein Farm Accommodation
Farm Taaiboschfontein
Three Sisters
Northern Cape
South Africa

Nelia Fourie
082 446 0228
www.wheretostay.co.za/taaiboschfontein

 

Click here for more accommodation options in Three Sisters.






yoast-primary -
tcat - Conservation
tcat_slug - conservation-environment
tcat2 -
tcat2_slug -
tcat_final - environment