10 Reasons To Stay On A Farm In SA
We stayed on a couple of farms this past holiday. A week felt like a month. Why? Fresh air, lack of distraction, wide open spaces and literally nothing else to do but gaze at a couple of cows, or head for the hills, might have had something to do with it.
A stay on a farm, no matter how long, gets you out there exploring the countryside.
Whilst travelling around our cities is great, and most of our towns are busting at the seams with accommodation options, markets and other activities to keep you and the family entertained, it is farmstays that get the thumbs up from me.
And here is why:
1. You get out of doors and really experience a farm – the mud, the sheep, the grass, the cow dung, the wild grass and flowers and the call of the blue crane (hard to believe that such a gracious bird can produce the sound it does; it’s akin to a parrot)
2. You do your bit for agritourism – helping the farmer to support himself and his farm
3. You learn something on every trip – this time around we learnt that cows in South Africa are not routinely given rbST hormones, as the media would have us believe, and that many of the herds chew grass in beautiful meadows (or at least ours did); and that there is nothing more beautiful than watching a trained sheepdog in action
4. Children love it – many farms not only have plenty of space to run around in, but they’re also relatively safe (in the sense that young boys can go on ‘adventures’) and they provide animals with whom children can bond
5. You understand better the journey of our food from farm to table – our second stay was with a small farmer where we experienced how food is sown, grown and picked first hand; you learn that peas grow on a vine, asparagus shoots in spears out of the ground and that hens lay but once a day (if it isn’t too cold)
6. Perspective – nothing like home cooking, seeing your food grow, munching peas just off the vine, or strawberries right off the plant and tasting fresh cows’ milk to give you perspective on just how out of touch with the things that matter we are
7. The benefits – fresh air, starlit skies, incredible sunsets, naps in the hammock, waterfalls and rivers, fire flies, ‘right here’ mountains, dirt roads, forest trails and bugs
8. Lack of distraction – no TV, no internet or cell phone access (if there is, pretend there isn’t), no pools, no hotel restaurant; the simple things in life regain their place in our lives
9. Farm fresh breakfasts – nothing like a South African first meal of the day, if you’re going the catered route
10. Complete privacy – this is one way to really get away from it all as most farms will have a cottage at least two kilometres away from the main house