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Nov 19, 2012

Oakhurst Farm Cottages

Oakhust Farm is one of the few remaining, large working farms along the Garden Route. Covering some 640 hectares, 200 of which are pristine fynbos and indigenous forest, the farm is today run commercially by the Crowther family, sixth generation descendants of the original purchaser, Henry Dumbleton.

Dumbleton bought the farm without laying eyes on it, while serving in the British Army in India in 1820. It was not until 20 years later that he sent his son, Henry Dumbleton Junior out to this wild and remote part of the Cape to develop the farm. Henry built The Forge (today used as one of our accommodation options) and the original farmhouse, before choosing to move to the genteel surrounds of Cape Town. His brother Walter Dumbleton arrived in 1860 and took the farm to the next level, with the development of a 4.5km water furrow from the Outeniqua Mountains to the new farmhouse, which he built in 1868 to accommodate his wife and 13 children. This home is still used at the main farmhouse today. In the mid 1870’s he built the Oakhurst Chapel, which still serves the local community and is a popular wedding venue. Next he built a school, followed by a water mill, which was still in use up until the 1960’s and is fully intact today.

As a top dairy and beef farm in the Southern Cape, Oakhurst Farm’s rich history and spectacular beauty draw visitors form across the globe

The Forge:

A combination of wow factor, rustic country elegance and romantic charm second-to-none, has made The Forge at Oakhurst a top retreat for anyone looking for a little piece and quiet, with appealing settings both inside and out. This 150 year old stone cottage was one of the first building to be built at Oakhurst and today is the main bedroom, with thick stone walls and exposed timber beams. The living area wraps around the cottage and is made up of a dining area, equipped kitchen with gas stove and cosy lounge area. The entire side of the building can be opened up, by way of canvas roller blinds to maximise the spectacular forest views from here.

A central log fireplace takes the chill away during the Garden Route winters. The open-air shower and bathroom offer the same breathtaking views onto the forest fringe. Included in your stay at The Forge are: Fresh farm eggs and milk, supply of firewood, percale linen and towels.

Please note: Due to the The Forge structure being a mix of canvas roller blinds, natural stone and timber decking, the living area is more open to the elements than that of a sealed building. The result is that on your stay here, you’re likely to encounter a few creepy crawlies and extra drafts, as you would in most wilderness areas anywhere in Africa. We don’t encourage the use of pesticides on Oakhurst but do encourage the Daddy Long Legs to control the Goggas. Should these bugs be of concern to you, we suggest that you opt for one of our self-catering cottage.

The Cottages:

Our cottages have been a part of Oakhurst for the past 30 years, they were originally built for Oakhurst’s farmhands, who in the past year have obtained new housing. The 5 cottages have now been authentically restored, with every possible attention to detail. In true Oakhurst tradition, we’ve kept a little of the history intact by naming the cottages after their original inhabitants. Kween’s Kaya, Awies Attic, Leenies Lair, Hans’s Hollow and Nick’s Nook are set along the edge of a section of forest, intersected with a gurgling stream that flows during the rainy periods.

Each cottage is privately positioned and fully set up for self-catering, with a well equipped kitchen and cozy living area with wooden floors. The living are in turn opens out onto a large wooden deck and braai area. This is the spot where you can either enjoy a good meal around the large wooden table or simply enjoy some of Oakhurst’s fine mountain air while getting stuck into a good book.

Each cottage has three bedrooms (One double and two twins) and sleeps up to 6 people. There is a central bathroom with shower. Garden Route winters can be cold, and a fire roaring in the kitchen’s woodburning stove sets the perfect atmosphere for farm winters. Ideal for families, a group of friends or even larger groups, our farm cottages make a superb Garden Route escape, a short drive from the beach and a stone throw from the mountains

Weddings:

Just half an hour from George, at a very special setting in the Hoekwil area is the Oakhurst church, the ideal venue for that unpretentious wedding.

The All Saints Church at Oakhurst was built and consecrated in 1876 by Walter Dumbleton. There are still weekly Sunday services at 11am. The church is available for weddings and can seat approximately 150 people. There is no electricity. For enquiries about the church, please call Karen on 044 850 1160 or Claire on 082 461 7669.

Our support services to include:

~ Airport Transfers to George Airport
~ Laundry services
~ Bike workshop
~ Pressure washers
~ Compressors
~ Bike stands and basic tools
~ Permit arrangements for state forest areas.

Adventure Sports On and around Oakhurst Farm

Whether you’re an avid rider or runner, or simply a weekend warrior looking for a good base from which to take on a few of the Garden Route’s most challenging tracks and trails, Oakhurst Farm offers the perfect surrounding and support service to ensure that all you need to do is get out there and enjoy yourself.

Oakhurst Farm is located along the well-know Seven Passes Road, which runs inland between George and Knysna. We have a number of trails nearby which lead off this route, heading inland towards the Outeniqua Mountains or into indigenous forest areas. Many of these can be taken on as self guided trails.

For those after a more demanding experience, join Jake Crowther, owner of Oakhurst, himself a competitive cyclist and runner on some of the more specialised trails into the Outeniqua Mountains and surrounding forestry areas. If you have no limits, neighbouring farmer and Cape Epic participant, Rob Dormehl can administer more severe training, which will stand you in good stead for your future sporting events. There is seriously no end to the variety of riding and running available around the farm. Your bike will barely touch tar and here we don’t measure in kilometers ridden but hours in the saddle. We continue to pride ourselves as being a key facility to groups of runners or mountain bikers escaping for t few days of training for their big event

This is how someone explained my cottage:

Here’s one getaway that deserves a category all of it’s own: ‘Romantic Escape Perfected’.

Because if wow factor, solitude, rustic elegance and easy living you’re after, at least two nights at The Forge on Oakhurst Farm is exactly the direction you should be heading.

Found in the rural setting of Hoekwil high above the Wilderness lakes and backed by the towering Outeniqua Mountains, The Forge is a rustically-restored stone cottage featuring yellowwood beams, percale cotton linen, soft wrap-around towels and oodles of romantic ambiance.

Sleeping a possible family of five, the main bedroom has a double bed and is elegantly furnished, while maintaining a snuggle-up cozy and rustic feel.

A further three single mattresses can be found in the loft room, turning this into an adventure and a half for the kids – but that’s only if you haven’t managed to palm them onto to the in-laws, ’cause the Forge is all about lurve and romance.

The open-plan living room with fireplace and a fully equipped kitchen take the concept of open living to a new level: roll up the canvas sides and you’re dining and cooking el fresco, with nothing but sweeping lawns and forest views.

Sounding good? Well, it gets better. Try out the shower: open air with fantastic views over the forest and river. Maybe a little breezy for some in bad weather, but hey that’s the price you pay.

To ease your self-catering logistics free-range eggs and fresh milk from the farm dairy are available on request. Wilderness itself is also not too far down the way, as are a couple of nice restaurants.

If you can drag yourself away from the cottage, the Oakhurst chapel, a quaint, historic church on the farm itself is well worth a visit (and a serious contender if you’re thinking of tying the knot), as are the nearby waterfalls and many farm trails.

Mountain bikers beware, the surrounding area is apparently a gold mine of mountain biking trails. So if you’re up for some time in the saddle, be sure to pack the gear.

It’s not hard to see why one particular guest comments reads, “The Forge at Oakhurst is the loveliest place we have ever stayed in my opinion!”

And while it may sit in the upper echelons of our price criteria, a stay here will knock your socks off.

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