The River Farm:
The River Farm is a 343ha section of the original Matjiesvlei farm. The perennial Gamka River flows through the farm. Most of the farm is natural veld, Spekboom Thicket inhabited only by the endemic wildlife and a small herd of indigenous Nguni cattle. Unlike most other breeds of cattle and very much due to over 1200 years of adaptation to the environmental extremes of Southern Africa, the Nguni cattle thrive on the mixture of natural grasses and bushes.
The small section of arable land is farmed intensively with lucerne for the Dorper Sheep, apricots and a fruit, vegetable and chicken garden for the house.
The River View Cottages are three self-catering, free-standing cottages. Each is unique and accommodates a couple. The bedroom has a double bed and an en-suite bathroom with a shower. Fresh linen and bath towels are provided. The living room contains a comfortable lounge area, dinning table and a fully equipped kitchen, with spring water on tap. All you need bring is food. Each cottage has an indoor fireplace and an outdoor braai (barbeque).
There is also a central boma where guests can enjoy a braai (barbeque), especially if you come with friends occupying other cottages.
In addition to The River View Cottages, the River Farm offers accommodation in the Old School House:
The Old School House is a free-standing Victorian building which accommodates up to six people. It has three bedrooms (two of which have a double bed and the third has two single beds), one bathroom (with a shower and a bath) and a large open-plan lounge/kitchen/dinning room. The kitchen is fully equipped for self-catering. They only take one booking at a time, so you occupy the entire building.
Leisurely walks can be enjoyed on the farm roads and along the river’s edge to explore the Karoo koppies. If you feel inclined towards more exertion, there are a variety of challenging hikes which take you into the pristine wilderness of the area. One such challenging hike is the Poort Hike up the Gamka River through the Poort (the gorge between the Klein and Groot Swartberg Mountains) into Gamkaskloof (known by weary travelers as ‘Die Hel‘). The Poort Hike requires some preparation and is best undertaken with a guide or at least GPS route co-ordinates.
Visitors can swim in the farm dam fed by fresh mountain water. You can also swim or canoe in the Gamka River.
The Yellow Fish in the Gamka River provide many passionate fisherman with their favourite fly-fishing. There are also Black Bass, Mogga and Eel for those who prefer stationary fishing.
This area is a bird-watchers paradise with over 118 different species recorded. The resident pair of Fish Eagle shares a view of the river with you. The Grey Heron, Hamerkop, Cormorant and various Kingfishers also favour the elevated vantage point above the river. Smaller birds like Weavers, Bee-Eaters and Swallows are always active between the river and the vegetation. The region also boasts the highest concentration of Pale Chanting Goshawk in the Southern Hemisphere. High over the Swartberg the Black Eagle can be spotted gliding in search of prey.
The local Leopard are monitored by the Leopard Trust, which amongst other objectives is working to have the Cape Leopard declared a separate species. The reason for this is so that it will then obtain special conservation status as an endangered species. The rationale is that the Cape Leopard is much less numerous than the Bushveld Leopard and the two types have always remained separate. The noticeably smaller body-type of the Cape Leopard also supports it being declared a separate species.
For those who examine wildlife from a more micro viewpoint, the area boasts a particularly high concentration of butterflies and some rare ant-lions and dragonflies.
Also for those who appreciate the micro level, a wide variety of Succulents abound in the area. Succulent enthusiasts come from far and wide to observe the tiny, the small and also the larger succulents of the area.
The veld, even when dry, is perpetually green, because of the abundance of Spekbos and Guarrie. During autumn the Aloe Ferrox flowers dominate. Spring is ushered in by a diverse array of flowering veld bulbs.
The area offers a 4×4 route which takes you to one of the highest koppies, Bojaanskop, which provides a 360º panoramic view including the Swartberg and Rooiberg mountain ranges.
The farm and veld roads provide both leisurely and challenging mountain biking.
You can enjoy a braai (barbeque) in the boma or at your own braai (barbeque) area.
You can dip into the little library in your cottage for some leisurely reading.