Travel down memory lane – a peek at some Wolseley History

Discover Wolseley – Explore, Taste, Stay.

Discover Wolseley history along the Forgotten Highway between Wolseley and Ceres.

Travelling and sleeping in ox-wagons may be a thing of the past, but when you visit the Witzenberg Valley you can now sleep and eat in comfort while considering just some of the challenges that our pioneers must have experienced. When you discover Wolseley, there are some highly recommended stops to include on your way.

Today three restaurants and the Winterberg Mountain Inn, owned by former newspaper editors and journalists Reint & Karien Grobler proudly line a beautiful stretch of road with its rich road-building heritage between Wolseley and Ceres. Here you can sleep & eat following the footsteps of our south african pioneers, nestled in the shadow of the Mostershoek Mountain, sample traditional meals and if you are lucky, meet a friendly ghost..

Reint & Karien Grobler, renowned for their country hospitality, are also a great source of local history and knowledge. Their website offers some great history snippets of the area.

The Witzenberg Mountains were a big challenge for those headed to the interior and further north. Testimony to the incredible engineering and road building skills required to get through these imposing mountains are still visible in the passes required when you visit or discover the Wolseley Valley. The Du Toitskloof, Bainskloof, Nuwekloof and Michells Pass are well worth travelling slowly to appreciate the scenery, challenges and incredible achievements of the pioneers.

The road from Wolseley to Ceres through the Michell’s pass became the main route to the north when diamonds were discovered in Kimberley in the late 1800’s. Diamond magnate Barney Barnato frequented the town regularly en route to the diamond fields up north.

Also knows as the ‘Forgotten Highway’ the route is fast developing as a popular tourist attraction. The old toll house and parts of Bain’s original stone retaining walls were preserved for posterity so that future generations can acknowledge Bain’s engineering genius. Make sure you stop over at the Tolhuis Bistro & Farm Stall, without doubt the coziest place with the best roosterkoeke & mountain views in this corner of the Boland.

Winterberg Mountain Inn with its Harvest Table Bistro (between Ceres and Wolseley at the start of Michell’s Pass), stands proud on the original foundation of a wheat mill known as the Ceres Mill. The Winterberg Mountain Inn offers traditional dining, affordable garden weddings, a cosy fireplace for winter fireside dining.

So whether you are day tripping or planning a country getaway, love roosterkoek, local food or pizza – be sure to plan your visit and route to include a stopover at one (or all) of their great venues.

We highly recommend booking ahead if you want to be assured of a table, especially at weekends, the word is out that these tables offer amazing food in the area and are very popular! Contact details, opening times and maps are all available on the website

Discover Wolseley Restaurants

 

Wolseley Behind the Scenes – Big Sky Cottages

#Wolseleyza - A Thousand things to do and then ..

Tell us who you are?

Big Sky Cottages, owned by Nelia and Willie, are situated high on the slopes of the Mostertshoek Mountain overlooking the Valley. We have 1ha of buchu growing on the farm, a small herd of Springbok around the main house behind a 2ha game fence which you will often see as you drive up to your cottage

What do you offer and what makes you different from the rest?

We offer self-catering exclusive accommodation on the foothills of the Mostertshoek Mountain.

We are the only star graded establishment in the Wolseley area. We are 3-star graded and have also been awarded the provincial winner as best 3-star self-catering exclusive accommodation in the Lilizela Tourism Awards for 2017. Our cottages are modern, spacious, private all with exquisite views of the Valley. We also offer a communal pool and boma area for guests to enjoy.  

Who is your ideal guest?

We cater for all groups: couples, families and single travellers wanting to stay longer for business. Offering free WiFi, hospitality DSTV package, jungle gym for the children to enjoy, not to mention the swimming pool - probably with the best view in the Valley.

What is your favourite feature of Big Sky Cottages?

We offer easy, hassle-free self-check-in service. Guests are not limited to a certain time cut-off for check-in. Very handy when flights are delayed or travelling from far that causes late arrivals. We also provide an Honesty Jar system for handy items like wood, firelighters and products from the Valley. Our kitchens are fully equipped to ensure all your needs are catered for.

Name one thing other than your establishment that you would recommend other people to visit/do in Wolseley?

We would recommend Horse About. Great for the whole family. Our guests have really given us great reviews of the rides

Wolseley Behind the Scenes ~ Hillbilly Farm

#Wolseleyza - A Thousand things to do and then ..

Tell us who you are?

We are Steven and Tanith Matthews & we are Hillbilly Farm. A rustic, small, working farm which is a mixture of wilderness and farming.

What do you offer and what makes you different from the rest?

Our farmstall is so much more than your regular farmstall. It is different and interesting, with a wonderful variety of hand made crafts. We have a selection of goodies to pick & make up your picnic hamper and then you can enjoy a picnic on the lawn under the trees taking in the wonderful surroundings.

We have lovely rustic accommodation as well. Our animals are all free-range. You will hear the occasional clucking of hens laying eggs, watch (or feed) the goats, and even see a nguni calf suckling from its mother.

We also have some beautiful wildlife - birds, agamas, mongooses, baboons etc.  

Who is your ideal guest?

Our ideal visitor would be a down-to-earth outdoors lover and an animal lover.

What is your favourite feature at Hillbilly Farm?

Observation and inter-action with the animals. .

Name one thing other than your establishment that you would recommend other people to visit/do in Wolseley?

Horse About and Waverley hills wines. And Harvest Table Bistro. Only one??? Would have to be Waverley Hills then.

Farm stall produce wolseley
Hillbilly farm stall wolseley

Wolseley Behind the Scenes – Orchard Stay

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Tell us who you are?

  Orchard Stay is situated on "Platvlei", a third-generation working fruit farm run by the Guy and Andrew Nieuwoudt, sons of Anton and Julie Nieuwoudt.

What do you offer and what makes you different from the rest?

We offer  country living at its best. A self-catering guesthouse nestled between pear orchards, Orchard Stay offers you space and freedom inside and out. 

Comfort is a priority in this two bedroom farm house with both rooms having en-suite bathrooms and wow factor views of the orchards and Mostertshoek Mountain.

We offer guests the best of indoor-outdoor living with a fully equipped kitchen, covered built in braai and large fold back doors lead onto a covered wrap-around terrace. Lazy days can be enjoyed on the terrace, out on the lawn or curled up on the couch in the lounge. On winter days set the fireplace alight, and settle in for the big 'chill'.

Our eco-pool and hot tub which has been purposely designed to be enjoyed all year round. The Eco-Pool is perfect for cooling off, relaxing with a book or drink, or just hanging out with family and friends.  The hot tub is fuelled by a wood burner, great for an evening dip or night time star gazing.

There is no TV in the guesthouse. What a joy it is to unplug. But, of course free Wi-Fi is available.

Who is your ideal guest?

You with your friends and family. Orchard Stay should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Out ideal visitor - local and international - would be in the valley for a... country getaway, wedding, romantic retreat, family fun holiday, mountain biking or trail running event, wine and food experience, bird watching.... the list goes on!

What is your favourite feature at Orchard Stay?

Most definitely the hot tub! Then the impressive living area.

Name one thing other than your establishment that you would recommend other people to visit/do in Wolseley?

Visit Waverley Hills for wine tasting and lunch.

Wolseley Behind the Scenes – Riverstone House

#Wolseleyza - A Thousand things to do and then ..

Tell us who you are?

  Riverstone House is an exclusive destination, situated in a flowering pear orchard on the banks of the seasonal Bree River. We are a working farm, which adds to the charm!  

What do you offer and what makes you different from the rest?

We offer a country retreat, in style, for comfortably 8 people in 4 bedrooms. We can accommodate an extra 2, making a total of 10pax. It can be difficult to find high-end group accommodation options. We aim to deliver an exceptionally high level of service, and offer numerous small touches to make the stay memorable.

Who is your ideal guest?

We are geared for the discerning city dweller, wanting to escape to the Country, without compromising on creature comforts. We welcome families with kids, and 4-leggeds too!

What is your favourite feature at Riverstone House?

Watching sunset on your enormous private patio, over the river and neighbouring orchards, with a glass of chilled white wine is certainly one of our favourite offerings. Expect peace, relaxation and privacy.

Name one thing other than your establishment that you would recommend other people to visit/do in Wolseley?

Bosjes! Whether you love gardens, architecture, tea and treats, exquisite dining, or you need an exceptional spot for the kids to burn off energy,

Bosjes is our go-to for guests!

Wolseley Behind the Scenes – Fynbos Guest Farm

#Wolseleyza - A Thousand things to do and then @ Fynbos Guest Farm!

Fynbos Guest Farm Wolseley Accommodation

Meet Peter & Maurice, owners and your hosts at Fynbos Guest Farm.

Maurice and Peter have interesting backgrounds, Pete from Zimbabwe; and Maurice from Nigeria met in Cape Town and decided to start a new chapter.  So searching for a place to buy and stay began in earnest. Maurice in Jhb left much of the searching to Peter who was living in cape Town.   After much ‘hunting’ Peter remembered a good friend who lived in Wolseley. He decided to drive through to meet her and had a strong feeling that she may be selling.  His first trip was fruitless – no one was there, and the place was locked up, and then early one morning, 2 months later, he had a strong feeling and decided to make another trip. This time he found the owner who told him the farm had already been sold [cash deal];  Pete’s response – was "We will own this farm, wait and see!"  Well 2 months later, he got a call to say the deal had fallen through and we started the process to eventually buy the farm. We always say, the farm choose us.  Pete called me and described the farm, and my response was “buy it”.    The 1st 3 years was HARD work, fixing; repairing and cleaning.   The next few years was enhancing and uplifting.   Now we live in what we call ‘paradise’. We love it. Our home is a reflection of us.

Fynbos guest farm is a 67 ha working farm only 90 minutes away from Cape Town, in the 'Valley of Abundance' - the Witzenberg Valley; bordering Tulbagh and Ceres.   Located just 2km outside the small town of Wolseley, in the heart of the Cape Winelands.

What does Fynbos Guest Farm offer? What makes a Fynbos visit special or different from the rest?

We have 3 self-catering farm cottages and a small, private and tranquil caravan and camping facility, comprising 9 sites each with an electrical point.   We have been regarded by many as one of the best in the country and listed as one of the top 10 'things to experience' by various media.

Renowned for our flowers, visitors from all over visit Fynbos Guest Farm to view our extensive flower and grass species.   This is not to mention, the diverse fauna on the farm, from tortoises, Grysbok, mongoose, steenbok, zebra, springbuck, emus, goats, donkeys and abundant birdlife.  Our guests are invited to interact with them and feed the animals. Guests are welcome to bring along apples, carrots, bread, lettuce, etc and feed the animals.

Who is your ideal visitor?

Fynbos is loved by nature and animal lovers. We do expect our guests to respect that our animals, birds, pigs etc live in complete harmony and are not accustomed to ever being chased or harassed in any way! Children are expected to treat all animals and other livestock with respect and care.

What is your favourite feature, something you especially love at Fynbos?

Our favourite feature on the farm – we each have one; Pete’s is having coffee every morning at the stables and watching the ‘going-ons’.   Maurice’s is sitting the aviary, having coffee and experiencing the silence and the beauty of the birds.  Our guests always find something that resonates with them and each is so different. For some it is the labyrinth, the horses coming in from the paddock in the afternoon, sitting in the bunny manor to just enjoying the peace and tranquillity

Name one thing, other than your establishment, that you would recommend other people to visit/do in Wolseley?

High on Fynbos Guest Farm’s list of recommendations for guests is to visit one of the Valleys outstanding Wine & Olive Estates – the award-winning organic wines at Waverley Hills are rated highly and a meal in their Restaurant should not be missed by any visitor to the Witzenberg Valley!

Follow Fynbos updates on Facebook  or visit their website for more information.