It’s also, in the case of Prior Grange Farm outside Springfontein in the southern Free State, all about the food, the bed, the open skies outside, the walks, the historical features and the cricket.
The cricket? Well, if you’re lucky you’ll catch the local Springfonteiners trying to thrash their opponents on the Prior Grange Oval on a Saturday afternoon – and perhaps join their celebrations afterwards.
Blackie and Sheryl de Swart (and, of late, their son Stephen) are a formidable hosting team who combine to make your farmstay more memorable than the holiday you were heading for in the first place.
Right off the bat, so to speak, one has to say that Prior Grange is a beautiful old farm, replete with deep history and a ‘ghost gum’ tree of sizeable proportions.
Sheryl has the run of five cottages spread about the homestead, ensuring seclusion even when they’re all booked up with travelling families. She supplies you with excellent farm-style meals in your cottages while Blackie entertains up at The Loft, a library-pub near the main house.
One of the interesting attractions of Prior Grange is the Farmyard Trail, set up by Blackie and Sheryl to educate and entertain the young visitors from the city who may have had limited access to a South African farm.
Your walk takes you through a workshop, a meal and tack room and a shearing shed. There’s even a function venue, a rustic old shed that has known many a wedding in its time.
But the Prior Grange experience doesn’t stop here. There’s an old British blockhouse, a relic of the Anglo-Boer War, on the property. Looming over the N1 highway, the blockhouse conjures up historical images of Brit soldiers killing time up there, dining on bully beef and biscuits.
Blackie de Swardt is something of an Anglo-Boer War buff, and has authored the popular 963 Days at the Junction, a book on Springfontein during the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. The book is on sale at the farm, along with Karoo Keepsakes II, which features Prior Grange cricket.
Apart from the trails leading around the farmyard and to the blockhouse, there is also an archaeological trail and, for the avid birdwatchers out there, more than 130 recorded bird species in the area.
And, as they say, if you’re lucky enough to spot the rare King Copper butterfly out at Prior Grange, good fortune will come your way…
- A Farmyard Trail;
- An Archaeological Trail;
- Farm-style food;
- A farm pub;
- Five garden cottages;
- Weekend farm cricket;
Where it is:
Just off the N1 at Springfontein, about 150km south of Bloemfontein.
Prior Grange Farm Contacts:
Mobile: +27 (0) 83 310 3284
Fax: +27 (0) 86 685 0898