A little bit of extra effort goes a long way in the Western Cape: just adding another hour's drive from the city of Cape Town transports you into a truly magical 'away from it all' set of locations.
This particular one crossed our path recently, being beautifully located between two mountain ranges and three nature reserves, yet not so far from habitation as to be impossibly remote. Palmietvlei Farm in Wolsely, near to Ceres and Tulbagh, is a blueberry and pear farm, on which you can stay as a guest in a totally detached dwelling. FamTin, as this particular house is called, is actually two shipping containers converted into a house. Sounds awful? You'd be wrong!
The container conversion was not only a financially viable solution, but unique. Two steel cargo containers are built onto a brick-walled rectangular framework, creating an open-plan living area with two bedrooms on either side. A deep, covered patio in front enhances the space, creating a large, airy inside-outside room for dining, hanging out, playing games, reading, braaiing or just relaxing. The patio is fabulous in summer, and when it’s chilly outside, the glass sliding doors can be closed without spoiling the view, while the fireplace keeps the area toasty. The view is wonderful: mountains in the distance, farmland and fynbos below the peaks and, directly in front, the farm dam – it’s just a few steps from the patio to the wooden jetty to the pontoon, where you can sit and dangle your feet in the water or dive in for a swim. Claire and Duncan Dicey
So what does one do at FamTin? Well, it's a working farm so endless strolls on the property, amid the orchards and greenhouse tunnels, immersing yourself in those views and soaking in the seasons of farm life. It is set apart from the farming activities, and from the other self-catering house on the property, so you’ll have your privacy. It’s not totally quiet, except at night, as you’ll hear the sounds of workers in the distance, but that makes for a pleasant countryside soundtrack.
The look and feel of the house inside is modern and urban-chic – it wouldn’t be out of place in the suburbs – but all around is natural beauty, solitude and craggy peaks. (The sunsets are something special.) The colour scheme inside echoes the landscape’s palette – blues, browns and greys – creating a feeling of peaceful sanctuary. The kitchen is smallish but lovely, with a gas stove, and is stocked with coffee, tea, milk, sugar and rusks (a pile of firewood is provided too).
FamTim provides a fresh-air escape for those who want to spend a few days relaxing, switching off and not doing too much (although Ceres, Tulbagh and the Breedekloof wine valley are close by). It’s also pet-friendly, so your dogs can come too.
Pricing is excellent vale: from R800 per person sharing, R350 per person extra (children R150)