The setting is picture perfect: two tall palms and the unmistakable outline of original Cape Dutch gables welcome you to Penhill at Toontjiesrivier.
The secret is out: the lovingly restored, 300-year-old Penhill farm at the foot of the Langeberg mountains in the Nuy Valley, is the hottest place to book for a weekend away. Not yet on everyone’s radar, it’s a mere 90-minute drive from Cape Town, and you can book the whole farm, the manor house or one of the peaceful cottages and enjoy nothing better than indulgent lie-ins, roaring fires and a few good glasses of red, especially on winter weekends when surrounding peaks are often lightly dusted with snow. There’s loads to do: walks, tennis, boules, croquet and mountain biking. In summer, sizzling hot days are all about swimming in the dam or lazing around your own private pool or Jacuzzi, but with five wine estates and two olive farms nearby it’s tempting to go tasting. Head for JC Conradie’s vineyards first (conradie-vineyards.co.za), where those in the know are buying up the award-winning Pinotage. Or book a table at Saggy Stone restaurant, known for its artisanal beer and smoked eisbein. Do as the locals do and get there early, otherwise you’ll miss this signature dish (saggystone.co.za).
Need to know?
If you love cooking, the quality of kitchen equipment is superb. Beautifully decorated interiors offer five-star comfort and thoughtful touches, and nothing is too much trouble for friendly staff who’ll set you up with board games, tennis racquets and even mountain bikes, so you don’t have to bring your own.
Which cottage to book?
Pepper Tree is the most private with a spectacular view into the mountains. East and West Grange, and Fruit Barn are all clustered around the Manor House and all have views across the valley. It’s best to book the whole farm giving you exclusive use of the Cellars, a magnificent central dining and entertaining area.
Extended family get-togethers (if you’ve ever had to book for 14 or more, you’ll understand how hard it is to find a spot where everyone will be happy – especially if you have youngsters, teens and grandparents in the mix). Also perfect for intimate weddings, 50th’s or a weekend escape with close friends.
Experience it for yourself:
Nuy Valley, near Worcester
Tel: 023 342 0908
Words: Michelle Snaddon