Farm 215

near Gansbaai, Hermanus & Overberg, South Africa
Book from Book from £105 per night

Eco-chic retreat and private nature reserve with far-reaching sea and fynbos views: a great stop-off between Cape Town and the Garden Route

200km down the coast from Cape Town, near Africa's most southerly point, is a land dominated by ancient vegetation, flower fields and coastal plains. Many come to see the whales from the shore, but if you drive inland up a 4km gravel track you can reach Farm 215. Don't be put off by its simple entrance sign - this will not be a wasted journey.

Less farm, more private nature reserve, it's a renovated homestead in the heart of a vast expanse of unspoilt fynbos heathland. Only occasional breezes and birdsong interrupt the deep stillness here. Of its 4 suites, 3 are freestanding huts: stylish and comfortable, yet run on 100% green energy powered by the sun. Lie in bed and you'll believe you're sleeping outside: wall-to-wall windows give astonishing views across the plains to the distant ocean. It's rural but not rustic: clean lines and fine wine mean you won't be roughing it. Owner Maarten has harmonised nature and hotel together, then wrapped it up with some serious eco-savvy.

Highs

  • An incredible sense of space, wilderness and tranquility, yet it's only a 2.5-hour drive from Cape Town
  • Simple luxury and huge views from the rooms
  • Friendly staff have expert knowledge of the surroundings; we loved hearing about the reserve's baboons and Cape leopards
  • A striking 25m lap pool, with views out to the Atlantic
  • Hiking through stunning wildflowers, horse-riding along the beach and nearby shore-based whale watching

Lows

  • In 2022, they switched to a more self-catered set-up
  • Be aware that the Fynbos Suites are run on solar power (in keeping with the eco ethos), so limits on electricity means no air con

Best time to go

It depends on what you want to see and do: peak flowering is between April and November, while the whale season runs from August to December. For horse trails the best time is between February and April, before the winter rains arrive. November and December can get very windy (although it was pretty calm when we stayed at the beginning of December).

The hotel is normally closed throughout June and July.

Our top tips

Head to the coast (a 20-minute drive). Explore empty sandy beaches (Pearly Beach is a favourite), caves and cliff paths, and spot rare birds, penguins and seals. Cape Agulhas - Africa's southernmost point - is 70km away. Arniston (Waenhuiskrans), an old traditional fishing town on a pristine beach near a small nature reserve, is also worth a trip

Great for...

Eco
Great Outdoors
  • Eco Suites
  • 4 suites
  • Self-catered
  • All ages welcome in the Mountain Suite
  • Open all year
  • Outdoor Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

There are 4 suites but the gems are the contemporary free-standing Fynbos Suites, utterly private, set along a path that meanders through the reserve (the furthest is about 300m from the homestead). At night you'll need to use the torch if you're going to be taking a stroll, but the payoff for this is magnificent stargazing. And by day, wall-to-wall glass reveals an outstanding view across the fynbos. All that separates you from the flora and fauna is a long wooden deck. Outside, there's a table and chairs - perfect for sundowners.

Inside the suites have a clever open-plan arrangement, sectioned into 3 areas for living, sleeping and bathing. Wherever you are, the view never leaves you. This makes you feel like you're living outside whilst remaining cosy indoors. Colours are warm earthen tones: cream polished concrete floors, 200-thread khaki sheets, moss-coloured walls. Furnishings are wood or leather. Electricity is sourced through solar panels and stored in batteries, and there are wood-burning stoves to keep you toasty.

The bathrooms have stainless steel sinks, large bathtubs and limestone shower rooms. You get fluffy towels and bathrobes. Sometimes the water can appear golden-red, but it's safe to drink due to the local source and eco filtration.

The Mountain Suite is a recent renovation. Once the owner's house, it is now a ground-floor apartment with a modern farmhouse feel. The main room is an open plan living area/master bedroom, with a squishy queensize bed, cosy seating area and a wood stove for cooler nights. There are 3 single beds in a separate room, great for kids to bunk up in. Though it doesn't have the views of the Fynbos suites, it does have its own covered terrace with cushioned seating, a braai area and a small, enclosed garden. The style here is less cutting-edge but just as comfortable, with pillowy beds, dark concrete floors, linens in soothing natural hues, large sash windows, a slick bathroom (with indoor and outdoor showers) and a hot tub.

All rooms have crisp 100% percale linen and goose down duvets, as well as fans. There are no TVs in this place - with these views it would be a sin.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Fan
  • Fireplace
  • Terrace
  • WiFi

Eating

Farm 215 operates on a self-catering basis, with kitchenettes in each of the Fynbos Suites and a larger kitchen in the Mountain Suite. They come equipped with the most basic items but you can stock up from local supermarkets from Gansbaai (20 minute drive away).

If you don't fancy cooking there are plenty of tasty offerings in Gansbaai. Rosemary's Country Kitchen & Deli has a relaxed atmosphere and a menu that focuses on authentic African flavours, accompanied by local wines. If fresh seafood is calling your name head to Blue Goose Restaurant to dine in style while tucking into the region's finest fare. Or if you're after a more relaxed affair take out some classic fish and chips from The Fish Lady, best consumed by the sea.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Coffee / tea making
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Go walking: there are 20km of trails through the reserve and surrounding hills, through indigenous fynbos and incredible wild flowers and fauna (we saw wild tortoises, antelope, baboons and snakes). If you want to learn more, go with an expert guide

  • Stay put: rest, relax and absorb the wonderful natural surroundings, or take an invigorating dip in the lap pool

  • There's wonderful horse riding on offer: 1-2 hour rides in the nature reserve itself, or day trails, which can bring you along the beach of the Walker Bay Nature Reserve. (The Africa Horse Company organises trips from its station at Stanford, a 30-minute drive from Farm 215.)

  • Go whale-watching: Walker Bay (between Gansbaai and Hermanus) is one of the world's best spots for spotting southern right whales from the shore (between August and December)

  • Get up close to great white sharks: take a boat trip and cage dive amongst these awe-inspiring creatures

  • Visit the sleepy missionary town of Elim (25km) - ideal for those who want to get even further off the beaten track

  • Stargaze: on a clear night sit on your deck and stare at the crystal firmament

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cage diving
  • Hiking
  • Horse riding
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Swimming
  • Trekking
  • Whale watching
  • Wildlife
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children of all ages are welcome in the Mountain Suite, which has a triple bedroom. Kids under 12 years old are allowed in the Fynbos Suites but it isn't advised; there are no extra beds available but sofas can be converted. Kids aged 12 and over will be charged at the full adult rate.

Kid Friendly:

Location

Farm 215 is located along the 100km stretch of coast from Stanford to Cape Agulhas, the southern-most point of the African continent, near the entrance to the Agulhas National Park. The reserve itself is located in the middle of a mosaic of vineyards, farmland, flower orchards and unspoilt nature.

By Air
Cape Town International (150km away) is the nearest airport and has many links to Europe, the USA and beyond - click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From the Airport
It is just over 2 hours' drive from Cape Town International, heading east via Hermanus. Accessed from the 'Fynbos Road' along the southern point of Africa, the gate to Farm 215 is about 20km from the fishing village of Gansbaai, on the road to Baardskeerdersbos and Elim.

By Car
For car hire see our car rental recommendations. The last 4km to the farm are along a gravel road - it's suitable for normal cars, but watch out for potholes.

Detailed directions will be provided when a booking is confirmed through i-escape.com.

More on getting to South Africa and getting around.

Airports:

  • Cape Town International 150.0 km CPT

Other:

  • Beach 20.0 km
  • Shops 20.0 km
  • Restaurant 25.0 km

Rates for Farm 215

Arriving on: