You know you have come to a good place to rest, unwind and let your gaze softly adjust to the horizon when the lizards sunning themselves on the deck are so at ease with your presence they almost shuffle up to make space for you, even though you have your very own and inviting deck lounger to fall into and thereby join the sun worshippers and their stillness. Farm 215 is the kind of place where not only the lizards are at ease, but the leopards are too, as are the multitude of rare Fynbos species and thriving life associated with them. You see it covers 800 ha of protected nature reserve and so the entire complex web of life from leopard to lizard and everything in between feels safe, in this Overberg haven, to go about their natural rhythms and sun lounging, as are you.
A great escape from the city, Farm 215 banks up against the mountains behind Gansbaai which makes it just a two hour drive from Cape Town and before you know it you will find yourself in one of the sun drenched fynbos suites. The suites are completely off grid and in fact Farm 215 was the first guesthouse in the Western Cape to install solar panels, thankfully now more and more places are seeing the long term benefits of harnessing sun energy. The suites are simply and beautifully designed to give one a sense of space and tranquility with a full wall of windows looking onto the uninterrupted vista of the Agulhas Plains. Yet they also have a fireplace for winter getaways and with all the alien clearing that is a constant conservation coup, there is no end to the wood available.
So whether you feel like lounging like a lizard on the deck of your suite, at the Zen pool area, or in front of the fire you can expect your worldly worries to evaporate into the great open spaces surrounding you. And you don’t need to wander far to experience the ever changing seasonal glories of the Fynbos flowers, they are right under your nose, but to fully feel the fresh air flowing through your body there are breathtaking hikes and horse rides exploring the landscape from mountain to sea. Then relax with a glass of local red wine in the fire warmed dining space which serves breakfast, lunch and supper. Sound like a retreat for mind, body and soul? It is.
To book your getaway at Farm 215 Private Nature Reserve visit their Eco Atlas page
In conversation with Maarten Groos, the changemaker who owns Farm 215…
Maarten speaks with deep passion for the land and his enthusiasm for his reforestation project is palpable – “It feels a bit like love, you know when you fall in love with someone you think about them all the time. When I’ve planted some trees I fall asleep with the image of what that forest will grow to be later.” He explains that the deep heartbeat of nature is easily felt when walking on Farm 215 and the reason he enjoys running a sustainable guesthouse and retreat is that the kind of people that come to stay are those that hear the heartbeat too.
When asked what needs to change Maarten responded with’ “ The mentality needs to change, where we as humans focus on our well being rather than on the maximisation of profit – we need to look to the future with trust instead of dread.” And what is Maarten doing about this? He’s planting trees of course.
You can offset your travel to your Farm 215 getaway by purchasing a tree with the Trees for Tourism reforestation project and Maarten will make sure it joins the ever growing forest.
More ideas for winter getaways…
If you would like to turn your Overberg winter getaway into a road trip there are other fabulous places to stay at that are also doing their bit for people and planet in a range of positive ways. Have a look at Grootbos, White Shark Guesthouse, Greyton Ecolodge, Poespasrivier Cottage and the Potato Patch Self Catering Cottage for a range of different budgetary options.
Or why not take a road trip up the Wild Coast, you know you want to…stopping at the incredible range of places achieving both eco and empowerment wonders. You could start at Buccaneers famous for its hospitality and views. Then on to Peas on Earth where Permaculture is at play, as are horses. Continue on to Bulungula, Wild Lubanzi and then Mdumbi, all of whom are on the coast, community empowering and will give you the sense of freedom only the Wild Coast can. When are you leaving?