When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. This is exactly what Sarah Swanepoel, owner at Dune Ridge Country House has done, turning a little-known guesthouse into an award-winning country lodge, complete with once-a-month fine dining food and wine pairing menus, Sunday lunches, spa treatments, an award-winning wine selection and afternoon teas (on prior request).
Sarah's a local girl from a farm near Addo which just happens to be a lemon farm and so whilst you're relaxing poolside the staff will bring you, the honoured guest, proper, freshly made, African lemonade. If that's not enough to get you here, the house sits on a 600-hectare reserve with a bird hide, walks across the dunes and even frog safaris (yes really)
Most unusually, the house itself is actually not a heritage building but the doors and windows and many other features are all reclaimed from an old school building that was being demolished in the area. As such, the house was built around the reclaimed items - talk about upcyling! You'll love the feel of an old, colonial homestead with its wrap-around verandah, stone fireplace and piano in the dining room but with all the trimmings of a large swimming pool, airconditioning and wifi.
Dune Ridge is located in the pretty seaside town of St. Francis Bay, just south of the N2 near Jeffrey's Bay and as such makes a great addition to a Garden Route trip. The town offers two splendidly located golf courses, one of which is a links course, with club houses to match and views across the Atlantic. For non-golfers, St Francis makes the perfect start to many excellent guided hikes like The Chokka Trail.
Prices start at R2 880 ($200 / £160 / €192) for a fully detached cottage with a private veranda, lounge and en-suite bedroom, with meals, the pool and reception in the main house.