A few dozen kilometres south of Richmond Northern Cape is the sign to BloemhofKaroo, a farm once owned by pioneering heart surgeon Professor Chris Barnard.
The farmhouse with its wraparound stoep is surrounded by vegetable gardens, lawn, roaming geese and tortoises in summer, and ironstone koppies.
It has been transformed into graceful haven by Jenny Pickard with four luxuriously appointed en suite bedrooms, a drawing room, well-stocked honesty bar, two diningrooms and a sunroom.
There is also a library, a small gift shop with jams, preserves and books, and the Antique Alley where Jenny Pickard (self-confessed auction hound) has collected intriguing small desirable objects for sale – including enamelware, fine bone china, brass and copperware. Coming soon is a Cigar Shed, full of South African memorabilia.
Outside there is a beautiful chapel, ideal for weddings or church services. The farmroads beckon walkers and mountain bikers. The koppies are perfect for exploring, picnics and sundowners.
BloemhofKaroo also offers game drives in the neighbouring Ratelfontein Game Reserve.
In summer, one of the big attractions is the ‘swemdam’, and an unusual water spray for children.
The rescue donkeys love being visited.
There are babysitters available if parents want to take a long walk, or a romantic dinner together.
This area of the Karoo is deeply restful, elegant with wide spaces, clean lines and pure air. As befits a Karoo farmhouse, BloemhofKaroo has a broad stoep with comfortable couches for the most relaxing kind of stoepsitting, with teatrays full of refreshments and long comfortable silences.
The staff-members, including Lien Louw, Martha and Paul Adolf (who remember Prof Barnard very well) are magnificent hosts. The women are great cooks and preside over a kitchen that turns out mouthwatering food.
Full breakfasts are included in the rates (see http://www.bloemhof-karoo.co.za) and the three course dinners usually feature traditional Karoo dishes like venison and lamb pies, homemade roosterkoek, quince jelly and boereboontjies.
Seasonal vegetables come from the vegetable garden, watered via traditional furrows.
- There are special rates for groups and longer stays. Contact Jenny Pickard on firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
- BloemhofKaroo also has a sister-establishment in at Kwaaiwater in Hermanus, with splendid views over Walker Bay. Talk to Jenny about stays at this beautifully comfortable holiday home.