Hillston Farm near Middelburg in the Eastern Cape is a working sheep and Angora goat farm remarkable for its Anglo Boer War history, its wide open skies, iconic views and its food.
Resident Cordon Bleu chef Adrienne Southey can either cater or teach cooking skills. Apart from Karoo boerekos, Adrienne specialises in Italian, Indian, Moroccan, Thai and Greek cuisine and even dabbles in molecular gastronomy.
Then there are the two distinctly different guest farmhouses.
One is a solidly built ironstone cottage in the lap of a smoothly rising koppie. Beside it is an Anglo Boer blockhouse, adapted to be a braai lapa. This cottage can sleep six, is fully equipped for self-catering and offers a great stoep for dreamy sundowners.
Despite being built in the late 1800s, the cottage has amenities like underfloor heating in the lounge and a modern kitchen.
The other guest accommodation is a remote and glorious old farmhouse (the Country House), atmospheric, off the grid and set on the wide grassy plains of Hillston farm. It has four bedrooms, with beautiful wooden floors and beamed ceilings, a lovely traditional kitchen with coal or wood-burning stove, a gas stove and fridge.
The dining room has an open fireplace and the separate sunroom is the perfect place to settle with a book or card games.
This farmhouse was the location of a classic South African movie – Stuur Groete Aan Mannetjies Roux, starring Anna-Mart van der Merwe and Ian Roberts.
Wander outside to listen to windpumps spinning and sighing in stereo, watch clouds sweep slowly over you, look out for the rare blue korhaan, go for long walks in the wide open veld to see the unmistakable flat-topped hills of Teebus and Koffiebus.
There are many other gems and fragments of tangible history to be found on this farm. The historic postcoach road that once linked Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg is still faintly visible beside the Great Brak River.
There are old wire fences, ‘knitted’ decades ago and still standing. The beautiful old shearing shed with its yellowwood chutes and tables was originally a British barracks during the Anglo Boer War.