We arrived in the late afternoon on Karuma Farm, just outside Worcester via the Hex River Valley and Du Toitskloof tunnel. The wind, Celeste our hostess explained whilst our hair whipped around our heads and I had to mentally beg my skirt to remain around my legs, was a typical Worcester wind, although to be honest, the South Easter is like this everywhere in the Cape at this time of year, when at its hottest.
Not, in fairness, the best time of year to head out here; to give the area a chance to display itself in all its glory. But sometimes that is exactly the right time to form an impression of how lovely a place can be – if it manages, despite the odds, to shine …
Karuma Farm lies snug up against the Brandwacht Mountains, left off the N1 along past the suburb of Worcester West, a hidden valley that up until the moment we turned into it we had no idea existed (most people’s view of Worcester tends to be that portion of the town that lies along the R60 towards Robertson).
It is only when one pauses that the 360 degree mountain views of Worcester become apparent, and the beauty of the area comes up to meet one. Karuma Farm is no exception. Celeste and her husband Willem have only just moved into the main house, after sojourning in one of the cottages, now available to guests, whilst they renovated.
Close to the kitchen door of her lovely home, Celeste is growing herbs and vegetables in an unusual array of one square metre raised beds encased in gorgeous black wattle boxes that a couple of Zimbabweans on the farm make as a sideline business. Her basil and mint, in particular, are doing incredibly well, and artichoke flowers stand with their heads to the sun almost like sunflowers. In the near distance are a series of fields filled with grapevines, although these are farmed by someone else – Celeste bought the farm for the sheer pleasure of living on the outskirts of the town, not because she has a passion for farming.
With the keys to Lavender Cottage safely in our hands, we drove down a little way from the main house, past the farms small dam, to a series of pretty cottages, nestled in amongst the trees. The views from here are simply ravishing, with mountains as far as the eye can see, and in the near distance, winelands that add a sense of effortless largesse to the little cottage.
Despite being small, Lavender Cottage is very tastefully decorated and in no way feels cramped, particularly as one can spill out onto a verandah with to-die-for views. The lounge-come-kitchenette is an illustration of clever use of space, and the bedroom and en suite bathroom are generously proportioned and similarly comfortable. But what really gives the accommodation its individuality is the little ‘touches’ – a wire basket filled with farm eggs, a vase filled with fresh herbs, a generous teapot ready for tea preparations, and a loaf of Trevor Daly’s ciabatta (he bakes his bread on a neighbouring farm).
There was plenty to do and see in the town of Worcester, but that’s all captured in another story (see Worcester, the town that fee off the map). The highlight of our stay on Karuma Farm was our hand-delivered breakfast basket (make sure you order the continental breakfast when you’re there). A wonderful fruit salad filled with seasonal fruit including figs, warm rolls, mozzarella cheese served with ripened tomatoes and sprigs of basil, fresh fruit juice, percolated coffee, home-made muesli and yoghurt were a spread we enjoyed in the privacy of our verandah, whilst still in our pyjamas!
Willem had just popped around after his early morning stroll through the vineyards, to drop off a couple of bunches of table grapes – we couldn’t have asked for more generous hospitality.
Karuma Farm includes four different cottages – Neroli, Bergamot, Lavender and Angelica – seven kilometres from Worcester and just over an hour from Cape Town. The self-catering venues are perfectly placed for overnight stays, explorations of the Worcester Wine Route, and for business in the valley.
If you want to know more about the black wattle boxes, contact Celeste at Karuma for further details.
Contact Celeste on Telephone +27 (0)23 347-8017
Web pages: Karuma Farm Cottages