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Small hotel, big break: Soak in the scenery at Danielskraal Farm

For some countryside living in Calitzdorp, the Danielskraal Farm is a perfect weekend getaway

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By House & Garden South Africa | December 29, 2022 | Travel Leisure

‘I have always been mad about the Karoo,’ says Danielskraal Farm owner Rosheen O’Meara, who has headed up the Calitzdorp landmark with her friend Sandra Galbraith over the past four years. ‘When I was a child, we had a home in Joburg and Cape Town and every year at Christmas, we would get into the Chrysler Valiant and make the journey down from the Highveld – I will always remember my mother declaring to my stepfather on the drive (she had a flair for the dramatic), “Stop the car, stop the car, look at those mountains, they are pure Pierneef!” She really instilled in me a deep regard and understanding for the land of desolation that is the Karoo.’

The Danielskraal Farm homestead with a pond-like swimming pool, Photograph: Lana Human

Cradled by the Rooiberg mountains, the 2 600-hectare farm is a biodiversity hotspot, with an incredible variety and abundance of succulents and fynbos, as well as being home to the Cape leopard, eagle owl and the highly endangered riverine rabbit – all within an hour of George Airport.

The 1836 farmhouse, which sleeps 10 to 12, required extensive updating, with Rosheen restoring many elements of the build, such as rethatching the roof, while the homestead’s interiors take a heady, more-is-more maximalist style. ‘I do not believe in decorating so much as I love beautiful things and collecting things, and all of these parts of my life from my travels have come together here, and it just works,’ says Rosheen.

One of the bedrooms at Danielskraal Farm complete in its maximalist style, Photograph: Lana Human

‘I never wanted it to become precious, I wanted it to have an essence and did not want to make it pristine, it had to be a little lopsided. I gave it my soul.’ Unpretentious and untamed, Danielskraal Farm provides a rustic-luxe escape for the outdoorsy and those looking to tap out while Rosheen and Sandra take a decidedly laissez-faire approach, allowing guests to explore the impossibly beautiful landscape but never being far off to assist. ‘I love the big, open skies, the closeness of the stars,’ says Rosheen. ‘There is excitement and mystery here.’

The shaded verandah at Danielskraal Farm is complete with plush sofas and cushions, Photograph: Lana Human