Come to nature – get away from the crowds! This is the slogan for Bonniedale Holiday Farm and we were proven its truth when the Look4it George Team arrived for an introduction to this magnificent farm recently. Known for its family friendly facilities, and exhilarating 4×4 trails, Bonniedale is set apart from its competitors, by its wonderfully rich history, warm hospitality and variety of activities for the leisure and corporate traveler alike. Owners, Nico and Danette Hesterman made us feel right at home and part of the Bonniedale-family as soon as we arrived on that crisp spring morning.
Bonniedale is a 1650ha Fynbos farm, situated in the Attaquaskloof in the Outeniqua Mountains between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn, surrounded by the Attaquaskloof Nature Reserve.
Guesthouse accommodation is in the thatched roof farmhouse built in 1890. There are also a variety of self-catering options to accommodate all preferences. We were particularly impressed with the secluded private sites, which has its own ablutions, under-roof seating, solar power lights and gas burners.
The facilities cater for leisure guests, but has wonderfully equipped facilities for corporate and social events, such as its conference hall that can comfortable seat 120 guests for dining events or conferencing. As we proceeded toward this facility a mild-mannered horse came trotting along, carefully delivering a breathtaking bride to her wedding ceremony underneath the shade of leafy trees. We could not help to stop and witness the spectacular scene as the water of the nearby river, lightly trickled over the glossy pebbles below. The romance filled the atmosphere to an almost tangible state.
Moments later, although we were still on the same farm, it felt as we were transported to a different venue, as the air suddenly filled with laughter of teenagers putting the flying fox foefie slide to the test! At this dam, this foefie is a favourite, along with the swing bridge, paddle boats and canoes. All of these facilities add to the experience of being hosted by Nico and Danette, the proud owners of this magnificent property.
Owner, Nico Hesterman mentioned, that in order to experience nature at it´s best; they suggest that their guests enjoy the well maintained 4×4, horse, hiking and mountain bike trails, secluded rock pools in the river and Khoisan rock art sites.
Bonniedale is well-known for its variety of plants (“fynbos”), mammals and birds. It is a paradise for ornithologists but you will also find other animals living in their natural surroundings. Different kinds of antelope (Rheebuck, Steenbuck, Bushbuck, Klipspringer, etc.), baboons, porcupines, and in a lucky moment even Kudu, lynx, hyena or leopard can be observed. The farm is also ideally situated for on/off road motorcycles and mountain bikes, with numerous daytrips from the farm.
Bonniedale is also home to the famous, historical ox wagon trails. Most of the early ox wagon passes were not constructed as such but early explorers merely followed game/elephant tracks or foot paths made by the Khoi Khoi people over the mountains. The first ox wagon pass across the Langeberg Outeniqua range was the Attaquaskloof Pass, north of Mossel Bay. This became the main road to the North for 180 years from 1689-1869.
Only with the arrival of John Montagu, the colonial secretary at the Cape from 1843 – 1852, and the expertise of Andrew Geddes Bain and his son Thomas, did proper road construction begin in the Cape. The first properly constructed passes over the Cape fold mountains between the coast and little Karoo were the Montagu Pass (1848) between George and Oudtshoorn and the Robinson Pass (1869) between Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn.
Nowhere else in Southern Africa is there such a concentration of mountain passes in one area, nor such a wealth of variety in there scenery and vegetation as can be found in the Southern Cape. These passes are a much a part of the little Karoo story as the ostrich – without them there would have been no access, no settlement of farms and no way for the farmer to communicate with, and bring his products to the outside world.
Look4it George will be returning to Bonniedale soon for some team-building, and off-course to enjoy the best local hospitality is its purest form, and suggest that you do too! Call Danette Hesterman for your reservation today on 044-6953175 and secure your holiday or weekend getaway with the family, the office team or a group of friends.
For more information and directions to this spectacular gem of the Garden Route, click here