It was pure chance and serendipity that we ended up here… a blessing… Klipfontein Keep is simply a Wow! It lies between Bredasdorp and Struisbaai, looking across fields of bright yellow canola. It’s a self-catering lodge that exceeds all expectations.
In a historic sense, a Keep is a fortified tower built within castles during the Middle Ages by European nobility. Klipfontein Keep has its low stone walls marking the werf, but you can easily imagine these as the stone walls of the castle. Inside, there is the drama of a double-volume space with a gallery, all covered by the exposed thatched roof — and it’s that delightful aroma of thatch that greets you when you enter the front door. And then there’s the upstairs suite with its balcony, with a panoramic view across canola fields to distant mountains and more bright yellow canola fields.
This is Jenny Uys’ creation — and it’s one of the most special places I’ve ever had the privilege of staying at. Because staying here is a privilege — it’s not another commercial accommodation establishment — it is a place you need to fully enjoy and appreciate, with respect. In some ways, it should remain a best-kept secret for those who do appreciate. (I’d hate, on the basis of CapeInfo’s recommendation, for people who don’t respect property to visit here.)
Jenny grew up in the hospitality industry and it’s part of her DNA. She may be a farmer’s wife now, but she’s taken hospitality to new levels with Klipfontein Keep and Langrug Lodge, her first venture 14 years ago.
The farm Visserdrift — where Langrug Lodge is located — has been in husband Johannes’ family for over 100 years and their children will be the custodians for the next generation. The farm includes part of Soetendalsvlei — the second largest natural fresh water lake in southern Africa. (It’s named after the VOC ship Zoetendaal which was wrecked on the coast nearby in 1678. One of the sailors was killed by an elephant on the ridge not far from the Lodge. The large sandstone blocks used to build the Cape Agulhas lighthouse come from this area.)
Then 22 years ago, Johannes bought the farm Klipfontein, on the opposite side of the R319, which once belonged to Lord de Saumerez, the English lord memorialised in Dalene Mathee’s novel Driftwood.
This is a luxurious lodge that puts many 5-star establishments to shame. There are two suites with big beds and full en-suite bathrooms (bath and shower). A third bedroom has two beds and an en-suite bathroom with shower. On the upper-floor gallery there are two sets of bunk beds. So it’s ideal for two families with some older and some younger kids.
Downstairs there are two living areas — one focused on a big screen TV with full DSTV; the other on the fireplace/indoor braai. The kitchen is the most comprehensively-equipped I’ve come across — it includes a washing machine, drier and dishwasher — and far, far more. There are in fact two cooking areas — a conventional stove/oven in the kitchen and a gas hob and another oven in the fireplace area. And there is a braai outside and a spacious stoep to enjoy the vista… which takes in Eland and Bontebok in the distance… and the sound of the sea.
Johannes’ biggest passion is game and Klipfontein is being stocked with eland, bontebok, springbuck and buffalo to supplement the indigenous small game — dyker, steenbok, Cape grysbok, rheebuck and bushbuck. The new game is in camps now but the medium-term plan is to take the fences down so they will be wandering around Klipfontein Keep. Jenny and Johannes have lots of plans! There are already two hiking trails of 20km and new trails for hiking and mountain bikes could extend into the adjacent De Mond Nature Reserve, with a self-permit system at Klipfontein Keep.
There’s also star-gazing, bird-watching and even the novelty of collecting fresh eggs from the chicken coop nearby, but, for those who don’t want to leave city luxuries too far behind, there is full DSTV, a DVD player and Wi-Fi.
Watch Klipfontein Keep become a renowned destination!
Now this is something completely different. It’s an old bywoners cottage that has been meticulously restored to offer perfect comfort. And it’s totally off-the-grid. Hot water comes from a “donkey”, lighting from flickering flames and cooking with gas. It’s total escapism right on the banks of Soetendalsvlei, with with its own jetty and rowboat.
Jenny’s poem says it all:
I dreamt of Africa.
A cottage beneath the biggest bluest sky of all.
Expansive vlei out front, endless fields behind.
Wild neighbors far too shy to show.
I dreamt of solitude.
A place of perfect quiet.
Of lapping water and timid birds.
Of long, long walks across the veld.
I dreamt of comfort.
Crackling fires and broad, soft sofas.
Of timber table tops, first planed centuries ago.
I dreamt of deep, hot baths.
And still, dark nights.
Where silence lulls and soothes.
I dreamt of all this and now that it’s real,
my dream has somehow changed…
I want the world to know my peace of Africa
but, on the other hand,
I’d like to keep it all to myself.
Langrug Lodge has been very popular ever since it opened 14 years ago. Some families have been back more than 20 times. Some book it for three weeks. Book your peace of paradise.