Kicking it in the Karoo

Rest and relaxation is an important facet of life when trying to juggle the 5 million things life throws at you. We love an active weekend. However, some places in the Western Cape require a little extra time due to their location. We decided on a 3 night stay at the wonderful Olive Grove Guest Farm in Beaufort West. Nestled in the heart of the Karoo, Olive Grove Guest Farm is the perfect place to rejuvenate the mind and soul. This is a farm, a working olive farm. If you’re looking to simplify your life and enjoy the tranquility and serenity of nature this is the place to book. It is rustic, farm-style, good old country living.

There are a few ways to get to Olive Grove Guest Farm. Some are more scenic than others but all will take you to a hidden oasis in the normally dry Karoo. We decided to take the N1. As there really isn’t any room to get lost. 4 and a half hours in you turn right onto the N12. 10 minutes later you’ll turn left and arrive at Olive Grove Guest Farm’s gates. They have signage all along the N12 so you won’t miss them. All guests are given the access codes to enter the property so you won’t have to wait for someone to open for you. A word to the wise. There is a 2km gravel road so please drive slowly as in addition to this kudus are known to run and jump in front of cars. So no speeding for your own safety and that of the animals. Take in the sights, the landscape and prepare to be amazed!

As you pass through the typical Karoo shrubbery you reach a pair of white walls. Once you reach this point, the change of scenery is unreal. Palm trees and olive trees line your superbly scenic drive to the lodge’s reception desk. On your left you’ll see a massive weeping willow which was struck by lightning as well as a little pond surrounded by greenery. The contrast of scenery in this location is unbelievable. It really is a hidden oasis.

The geese normally occupy this area but are known to also waddle around the rest of the farm. As you turn the bend, you will be surrounded by olive trees. A beautiful sight. So calming and relaxing. A real treat to the soul. The lodge is surrounded by olive trees so you won’t miss it. It has a massive green lawn and their mascot, Wagter the peacock is usually chilling on one of the pot plants waiting to show off. Don’t miss his Diva Parade either, make sure to bring your camera along – he’ll pose for free!

There are two options for accommodation: a guest room or a fully equipped self-catering chalet. There are braai (barbecue) facilities available for all. Olive Grove even provides braai packs and salads on request. The area is WiFi equipped but in such a beautiful place it only seems reasonable to disconnect from the clutter of the internet. Olive Grove’s accommodation has everything you need in order to have a comfortable, enjoyable and authentic farm-style experience. Because we felt like being spoilt we opted for a guest room which meant we ate breakfast and dinner at the lodge every night. Works just fine for me 😁 and yes this hidden oasis does cater for vegetarians. Just give them a heads up and they’ll sort out something just for you. Only issue with farm style Karoo food is the portion size. It’s Friday, we left on Monday and we’re still full πŸ€•

Olive Grove Guest Farm has several nature and hiking trails. You have the option of hiring bikes at reception and hitting the bicycle trails or you can bring along your own bicycles. The choice is yours. Better yet roam around the farm on foot and meet your various furry neighbours. The farm has 2 horses, 2 donkeys, goats, chickens, geese, peacocks, monkeys, some buck and a wildebeest. Some are more willing to engage with you than others. But as always these are animals with their own personalities so judge for yourself.

We arrived in the afternoon and wasted no time acquainting ourselves with the animals and the area. Our first hike was on the Porcupine trail located near the little pond. Nothing undoable unless it’s cooking hot then we suggest swimming rather. Yes the farm has a pool and it has water in it πŸ˜‰ The views from the Porcupine trail are beautiful. Especially at sunset. Just amazing. We carried on further and took a walk to the once large and full farm dam. Definitely a shadow of its former glory but beautiful nonetheless.

We know this picture looks like rain is about to arrive but on this day it didn’t. The farm only received rain on the Sunday. What a beautiful sight though. The farm boasts an array of eco tourism activities come rain or sunshine. If you’re hoping to see some more wildlife on a safari please check out the Karoo National Park, a mere 10 minutes drive from Olive Grove Guest Farm.

You wouldn’t expect to see all this green lushness in the middle of nowhere but the farm is the perfect place for a little rest and relaxation. It’s pet friendly so you can bring your furry friends along as well. Olive Grove Guest Farm accommodates all. The friendly and helpful service is so refreshing. Even though most staff members speak Afrikaans, they are more than happy to converse with you in English and assist you in whatever way they can.

Much of the veld is so unusual to us city folk. We’re used to large trees, ample grass, freshly cut fields. The Karoo showcases a diversely different landscape. All you can do is appreciate it and enjoy it. Although the province is in the grips of a terrible drought, this little oasis just manages to uphold its little piece of paradise. Just sitting on this farm and soaking up the natural beauty is so fulfilling. You can’t really ask for more. There are spots of severe dryness and then little green plants sprout between it. It’s just fantastic to see.

Because romance shouldn’t die just because you’re in the bush, we also took a few sunrise and sunset hikes. Wow😍 Just spectacular. The colours all blend so magnificently yet the landscape provides as much contrast as it does compliment. What a sight.

The following day we decided to go on a farm tour. We jumped up into the Land Rover and headed into the veld. When driving through the farm, you really get a sense of the sheer size of this establishment. That and the silence. No loud music, no screaming, no screeching taxis, no strange fatty food smells. Just clean, crisp Karoo air and the buzzing of animals. What a pleasure to just soak that up and remind ourselves how lucky and fortunate we are to be able to enjoy this place. Naturally as wine lovers, we couldn’t not bring a bottle of bubbles along for the drive. After all it isn’t everyday that you get to drink a bottle of Pierre Jourdan MCC in the middle of the Karoo.

There is so much natural beauty in this place. The accommodation is comfortable and homely. The food is proper rustic, country based, eat yourself stupid good. As a working olive farm, Olive Grove grows its own olives and produces various olive products for consumption. They have olive oil, olive jam, olive spread, olive chutney and various pitted and unpitted olives. Man, if we could’ve cleared out their stores we would have. All of their olive products and their working operations can be seen and explained on one of their farm tours.

After our little toast to the heavens, it rained on Olive Grove. We are all grateful for every single drop that fell that afternoon. Do yourself a favour. Pack up your family, the kids and the dogs and check this place out. It is excellent value for money, pet friendly, good wholesome people, friendly service, awesome food, beautiful surroundings and a chance to reconnect with tranquility. Also, dont miss out on their olive products. Our favourite is their Olive Chutney and the Black Olives in Garlic and Rosemary. To die for πŸ‘ŒπŸΌ All their products are sold at reception. Do not miss the opportunity to purchase local grown produce. We had a fantastic time at Olive Grove Guest Farm. We hope to back be soon.

But in the meantime cheers to more rain πŸ₯‚

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