Lowlands Country House north of Cradock feels like an oasis of green within the Karoo: karoobossie-green, Lombardy poplar-green, lucerne-green, pecan grove-green and Acacia karroo-green.
Only the sheep persist in keeping their fluffy, off-white tones.
Anne and Dave Bowker run Lowlands Country House on a working Karoo farm with the fast-running Great Fish River nearby, irrigating the crops of lucerne and pecan trees and providing water for the sheep.
The Bowkers are an exceptionally hospitable couple with deep roots in the Fish River community. In fact, Anne went to school in the house where she and Dave live in, right opposite the guesthouse.
Chickens potter around the lawns and the farm roads call out for quiet rambles on foot or with a mountain bike. The long porch is for lingering breakfasts and the deck up at the dam is for sundowners and snacks. The dinners at Lowlands are legendary. Anne is renowned for her cooking talents. Do not pass up her pecan nut pie.
This is real 1820 Settler country, with the Colletts, Bowkers, Bladens and Butlers dominating the family names around Fish River.
Anne and Dave also manage the nearby Lowlands Manor, a spacious, sprawling farmhouse rented out to groups at a special package rate.
Families love this rambling old farmhouse, especially during those mass get-togethers in December when everyone comes from all parts of the world and they just need a central South African hideaway where they can celebrate and bond.