Stay at Willemsrivier in Nieuwoudtville, Northern Cape.
From Vanrhynsdorp I passed the Western Cape / Northern Cape border going over the Vanrhyns Pass, it might just be one of the most beautiful passes I’ve ever driven in our country.
On the other side of the Bokkeveld Plateau lies the little town of Nieuwoudtville, and it intrigued me enough to want to spend a night or two. I later learned that the town itself came to be in the late 1800s, after clashes between trekboers and indigenous people led the boers to move to the top of the Bokkeveld escarpment.
Nieuwoudtville sees most of its visitors during the wild flower season and I really hope to return one day to witness this explosion of colour and life. Other than that, the Neo-Gothic sandstone church is well worth a visit, as well as the many historical sandstone ruins, Quiver Tree Forest, the glacial pavement, abundant rock art, Nieuwoudtville Wild Flower Reserve; Hantam National Botanical Garden; Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve and the Nieuwoudtville Waterfall.
Whilst in Nieuwoudtville I stayed at the gorgeous Willemsrivier. A farm stay located 4 km from the centre of town, I quickly came to find it’s more than just a peaceful getaway, but also an important historical beacon.
Originally the farm was called “Kliprivier”, named after the river that flows here. But after a violent Khoi group murdered a San woman who looked after the cattle for earlier generations of Kotzé’s, in the fields, the farmer decided to move the farm site to where the current building is today.
Each building on the farm tells a rich story of the lives that have played out here. From the old church, dating back to 1885 to “Smuts and Maritz’s Office”, I highly recommend wandering around the farm to take in its stories. Smuts and Maritz Office, for example, was the first building on Willemsrivier, erected in 1745. During the Anglo Boer war (1899-1902) generals Smuts and Manie Maritz stayed in the same house on Willemsrivier, but because they didn't get along, they never stayed there at the same time.
There are 12 houses to choose from, each accommodating between 2 and 7 guests. All the houses are self-catering and fully equipped with 2-plate stove, fridge, microwave, kettle and toaster; full bathroom with bath and shower; electric blankets, linen and towels. Wood and ice are available at reception. There is 2 km of gravel road suitable for a normal sedan leading up to Willemsrivier, and loads to do on the farm itself once you arrive. Of course, flower season is a paradise for flower watchers. Beautiful, unique flowers and bulbs can be found along the many flower routes on the farm. 4x4 Routes have also been established and are in the process of being graded. If driving off-road isn’t your thing, there are many different hiking and mountain biking trails available on the farm itself and in the nearby areas.
No trip to Willemsrivier is complete without a visit to Ouplaas. Ouplaas was originally one of the five 'square' farms in the area and several sandstone ruins (13 km on the Grasberg Road) can be viewed here. They also encourage visitors to watch the day-to-day farming activities. The Kotze family farms with meat, wool and Rooibostea. Sheep shearing happens twice a year ( in February and August) and the owner said guests usually love watching the sheep dogs in action.
There’s even a little museum on site, housed in the old jail. The prisoners helping with the building of the road and pass on the Bokkeveld Berg came to sleep here in the evening and bars were placed in front of the windows to stop anyone from escaping.
Today, it houses trinkets and treasures of past lives, mostly donated by some of the town locals or found on the farm itself.
So, if you’re keen to get dusted off and sit back while you enjoy the peacefulness of Willemsrivier, head on over to their website at www.willemsrivier.com to have a closer look at the 30 rooms available, throughout the 12 houses.
You can also contact the owners, Erika and Arend, directly on +27 (0) 83 4505 939 / email@example.com or +27 (0) 83 4400 302 / firstname.lastname@example.org
(Willemsrivier Trekpad Guest Houses, Grasberg Road, Nieuwoudtville, 8180, Northern Cape)