In Nieuwoudtville, Travel

Set at the top and on the edge of the Van Rhyn’s Pass and just a few kilometres outside Nieuwoudtville, De KrantzHuis is a gem that simply needs to be discovered. Only a four-hour drive from Cape Town, this working rooibos, potato and sheep farm offers accommodation where no costs have been spared when it comes to architectural design, finishes, elegant décor and attention to detail.

Lizette and her husband, Japie Nel own De KrantzHuis. On a trip to Botswana as they were enjoying the wonder and relaxation of a spectacular view, the penny dropped. They didn’t have a river, but they did have an escarpment and valley that were just as breath-taking. In fact, their son Jannu, who studied agriculture had been extolling the beauty of the spot for years, disappearing up the escarpment the moment he returned home from school.

The house

So began an ambitious two-year building project, drawing on the memories of many years of European and local travel and the notion of sharing a glorious location. Japie and Lizette conceptualised the design, taking inspiration from the setting. A barn structure offered height, which a tall man like Japie needed. But it also offered space and openness and above all, a glassed frontage to embrace the view.

The open plan-living area, which includes an atmospheric built-in fireplace in the kitchen and a gorgeous and large railway-sleeper table, leads into a lounge with luxury leather couches. Its backdrop? Magnificent views over the krantz and valley viewed through impressive glass windows and a spectacular balcony. At night you can even see in the far distance the flickering and twinkling of the Van Rhynsdorp town lights 40km away.

On either side of the living space are two en-suite bedrooms, with double beds, showers, baths and fantastic outdoor showers overlooking the vista. There’s also a heated plunge pool and very effective WiFi, really allowing relaxation and the opportunity to still keep in touch – if you want to, that is!

A little history

Lizette tells an evocative story of their ambitious project. There were many challenges, for example, getting electricity to the house. But also the difficulty of COVID-19 as it scuppered many attempts to get supplies from Cape Town or Vredendal, which staggered from one version of lockdown to the next. Undeterred, the Nels approached some talented friends, who were able to create furniture in wood and metal from the couple’s own designs. Many of these functional artworks are on display throughout the house.

The business’s logo also has a lovely story. It was inspired by a photograph Lizette took of her husband and Jannu the day their son decided he was coming home to farm. The photo captures a special moment of intimacy and celebration – both of which De KrantzHuis exemplifies.

A getaway

Despite its great appeal, this getaway is largely undiscovered. But at a time when international travel is somewhat restricted, word-of-mouth has begun to spread the news of this unique spot. During our stay, we experienced many vistas as the weather changed, sitting in the mist with the clouds around us, sunny gorgeous days and windy autumn chill. All the elements combine to enhance the magic of the setting.

There’s also a lot to do on the farm, and not just the ubiquitous spring flower-hunting for which the area is most known. People can relax by hiking, taking casual walks, enjoying photography or mountain biking. But that is not to say that the flowers aren’t gorgeous as well.

Lizette explains that their aim was for people to enjoy the privacy and uniqueness of an unforgettable location. As she puts it: “If you are a religious person on any level, you will find something spiritual here”. It is a most profound and true statement.

I urge you to get in touch with De KrantzHuis before it’s totally booked out.

Contact details

Phone: 083 645 6446


Showing 2 comments
  • Margaret

    Very well written article on a truly incredible experience. Find the time and contact Lizette and experience this unique spot for yourselves.

  • Amber Druian

    Wow, so magnificent . Superb pictures and a thorough explanation of a real gem .

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