Steenbok Farm Cottages, Tulbagh

Posted by Elise Kirsten on 29 January 2020

Steenbok Farm Cottages lies at the foot of the Witzenberg Mountain Range within Witzenberg Game Farm between Tulbagh and Wolsely, in the Western Cape.

The mountains flank the game farm like ruched curtains, creating a beautiful backdrop with its fabric changing colour with the light.

We headed there for a summer break and found the setting sublime. Our cottage named ‘Aalwyn’ was light, airy and surrounded by nature, which helped me to unwind and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere almost as soon as my feet crossed the threshold.

Large leather couches invite to unwind with a book or (Getaway) magazine. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

I loved sitting on the front stoep next to the braai area at the front of the cottage and gazing up at the mountains, in between sipping red wine and reading my book. While on the other side, an expansive wooden deck runs along the length of the house. On another evening we sat here watching springbok flick their tails as they grazed in the clearing below.

Watching springbuck graze from the deck at the back of the cottage. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

Each cottage has two bathrooms and three bedrooms, two are air-conditioned with double beds and one with two single beds and a fan to keep the summer heat at bay. The exteriors of stone are offset by the spacious interior with screed floors and modern finishes.

Both my hubby and my children were pleased that the cottages had WiFi and DSTV – and there are two communal swimming pools on the farm, a 5- to 10-minute walk away.

From the front stoep and braai area you look up at the Witzenberg Mountains.

On a morning run along the dirt road, I came face to face with one of the resident zebra and a red hartebeest. The hartebeest was startled and darted into the bushes, while the zebra walked off nonchalantly. I felt sorry for the red hartebeest as I approached again on my second lap, as I disturbed his breakfast and his skittish temperament made him duck for cover once more. The zebra, however, decided that it was too much trouble to move away this time and continued grazing.

I was concerned that it would be rather hot in Tulbagh during December, however, Cape Town had been experiencing an unseasonal cold spell and we arrived to temperatures of about 28 degrees Celcius – perfect for a summer escape. With air-conditioning and the large indoor fireplaces, Steenbok Cottages also seems perfect for a winter stay.

The bedrooms are comfortable, have gorgeous views and modern decor. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

After spending time lazing at the pool, sipping wine at the cottage, reading, braaiing and playing board games, we decided to explore the area a bit – although we were tempted to just stay put. It’s a 10-minute drive to the town of Tulbagh, where we took a stroll between the historic Cape Dutch heritage buildings in Church Street. One such example is Honey Oak, built in 1852 and named after the honey bees that nested in one of the oak trees next to the home.

Drinking in the view from Steenbok Farm Cottages ‘Alwyn’ cottage. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

Tulbagh is the fourth oldest town in South Africa, after Cape Town, Stellenbosch and Swellendam and it oozes Cape-Dutch charm. We wandered past Paddagang Eethuis & Fijne Wijne, one of the four original KWV wine houses where I remember enjoying lunch as a child, in the 1980s, for my grandmother’s birthday. The street is lined with guest accommodation and restaurants under shady oak trees and you’ll find the tourist information at the one end.

Another spot we always make a point of visiting when in town is Saronsberg. My favourite cultivar is Shiraz and Saronsberg’s is exceptional, with winemaker Dewaldt Heyns working his magic here since 2003. Both the indoor and outdoor settings on this farm are impressive. Upstairs there’s a contemporary South African art gallery and the downstairs space with its large windows flows outside to the patio under vines and beyond that, the shaded lawn and dam with its iconic statue.

After an enjoyable afternoon, we returned to the peaceful Steenbok Cottages to enjoy the last bit of calm before we headed back to the city the following day.

From the front of the cottage you can enjoy beautiful views of the Witzenberg Mountain Range. Image credit: Elise Kirsten

Steenbok Cottages

Cost: From R1,650 per cottage per night (sleeps six).

Things to do

Winetasting at Saronsberg

Wine tasting at Saronsberg. Image credit; Elise Kirsten

Cost: Wine tasting costs R80 per person for 10 wines. Cheese platters are available to share between two people, as well as a cold meat selection for R50 each.

Horse riding at Horse About Trails

Moonlight horse trail. Image credit: Horse About Trails, Tulbagh

Cost: The Scenic Trail (novice ride) is 1,5 hours – and costs R290 per person
The Witzenberg Trail for advanced riders takes between 1,5 to 2 hours and is R450 per person

Contact: 0828849881

Zipline in nearby Ceres

The Ceres Zipslide Tour offers 8 ziplines that measure a total of 1.4 kilometres (each line is between 100m and 290m long). Zip over the rocks and river water in the Skurweberg Mountains. Anyone over the age of three can take part in the tour.
Cost: R500 per person
Contact: Tel 079-245-0354, [email protected],

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