To steam locomotive drivers, the Lootsberg peaks of the Sneeuberg mountains near Nieu Bethesda were a fabled place, where steep gradients and turns demanded the utmost skill and concentration.
The trains seldom run this track between Middelburg and Graaff-Reinet nowadays, but Tweefontein farmhouse used to be within earshot of the chuff and toot of the old steam giants.
Some lucky people still possess the classic photograph of a Garratt steaming up the snowy southern flank of the Lootsberg pass, while inside, the dining car full of passengers sits down for lunch.
Tweefontein farmstead lies in the lap of the Lootsberg, the towering ironstone krantzes behind it. First built in 1863, it has characteristically wide-beamed yellowwood floors and high tongue-and-groove wooden ceilings.
The old building nearly fell apart after being uninhabited for 80 years, but farm owners Justin and Liesl Kingwill have just completed a loving restoration of the old farmstead and Tweefontein lives again, this time as a sumptuously appointed farmstay.
The farmhouse combines modern comfort with traditional Karoo charm. It is spacious, with four bedrooms, two bathrooms, a well-appointed modern kitchen (which includes a dishwasher and even a washing machine), three intimate lounges (one with DStv), a glorious fireplace, and a braai area outside.
There are views over the open Karoo veld, the mountains, the sheep and the red Bonsmara-Angus cattle.
This is the perfect place to completely relax for days on end. But it also lends itself to long walks or mountain biking along jeep tracks and farm roads.
The old Blaauwater railway siding is a short drive away.
Birdlife includes waterbirds at the nearby dam, korhaans, various Karoo larks, and bustards. Tweefontein is also part of a conservancy protecting blue cranes and they are often seen and heard.
The land forms part of Blaauwater Farm, which has been in the Kingwill family for four generations.
Liesl and Justin Kingwill have also converted part of an old wagonhouse near their gabled home into comfortable, stylish accommodation for couples or a small family.
The Wagonhouse overlooks a sheep paddock, and sleeps four.
Both Tweefontein and the Wagonhouse are fully equipped for self-catering, but you could also pre-order Liesl’s generous braaipacks, pie (chicken or venison) with salad, and koeksisters for pudding.
- For more information and rates, contact Liesl on 049 841 1350, cell 082 806 9015 or if landline is unavailable, via VOIP 040 555 1014.