Pet-friendly Accommodation in the Eastern Cape

Here at Country Life, we also want to share a weekend away with our furry friends, so we’ve put together a list of pet-friendly accommodation in the Eastern Cape just for you and Fido.

1. Huntly Glen, near Bedford

A farm can be a tricky place to take a dog. For a start, there are usually other farm dogs, many of whom do not welcome ‘intruders’. And then there’s the lingering fear that the lovely innocent Rex may become a sheep killer, frighten the waterbirds, or chase the cattle. But we discovered a wildlife-rich sheep and goat farm at the foot of the Winterberg above Bedford, where pets are welcome. Huntly Glen guest house is fenced – a safe space where the hound can potter about and explore – and the fully furnished house comfortably accommodates ten people. It’s also a glorious place for long walks and has a fascinating history, being the farm of Thomas Pringle’s party, part of the original 1820 Settlers. Owner Ernest Pringle is the fifth-generation descendant. There are 200 bird species and good bass fishing in the dam. Anne Pringle offers facials and massages, and Ernest is one of the top lepidopterists in the country. We were fascinated by his legendary butterfly collection and his father’s extraordinary bird’s egg collection, all part of the farm museum.

+27 (0) 46 685 0710; +27 (0) 87 803 5699; +27 (0) 72 297 7840 [email protected]

Words Julienne du Toit

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2. Die Tuishuise and Victoria Manor, Cradock

There’s a friendly hotel dog called Lambert you may meet as you walk into the reception area of the Victoria Manor to check in. He’s a Dalmatian but his markings are in reverse – white spots on black, except for his tail. Even before Lambert began living his rather charmed life in this street of candy-striped Victorian cottages and the 1850s hotel in Cradock’s Market Street, Die Tuishuise were already pet-friendly. Many of the 30-odd carefully restored cottages have secluded gardens, perfect for dogs. Cradock is nearly 200 years old, and these houses were where wagon-makers, wheelwrights and whip-makers used to live. Cradock, situated on the Great Fish River, offers plenty of activities. On Market Street you’ll also find the Karoo Comfort Zone Wellness Centre for blissful massages and facials. You could also go river rafting, flyfishing, or visit Olive Schreiner’s old house, now a museum. The glorious Mountain Zebra National Park is a short drive out of town – but you’d have to leave your pet behind. Meals at the Tuishuise are legendary, with generous breakfasts and great Karoo dinners.

+27 (0) 48 881 1650; [email protected]

Words Julienne du Toit

3. Mountain View Country Guest House, Cradock

Mountain View Country Guest House in Cradock is on our list of pet-friendly accommodation in the Eastern Cape

Just 24 kilometres outside the historic town of Cradock, Eastern Cape, is Spekboomberg Farm, a working Karoo farm that offers a break from the city, and where pets are welcome by prior arrangement. Our suite had a sitting area with all the mod cons like coffee facilities, bar fridge, complimentary Wi-Fi and flat-screen TV. There are family options at the lodge as well. We opted to cater for ourselves, but if you don’t feel like cooking, you can eat at the lodge. Relax next to the swimming pool, walk on the farm, explore the 4×4 trail on the property, or simply take in the surroundings. Wildlife abounds, including kudu, nyala and other small antelopes, and birders won’t be disappointed – keep an eye out for blue cranes. The Mountain Zebra National Park is a 20-minute drive away.

+27 (0) 82 464 1575; +27 (0) 87 550 1977, [email protected]

Words René de Klerk

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4. Letskraal Farm, Graaff-Reinet

It was the summer lawn around Letskraal’s farmhouse that first enchanted our German Shepherd, TwoPack. He sniffed it, lay down on it, rolled ecstatically and then had a long blissful nap in the shade of the grape pergola. He was similarly delighted to find there was a paddling stream within walking distance, and interesting smells among the Karoo bossies. Letskraal was originally the farm of Voortrekker Andries Pretorius. The electricity-free cottage has space for six people (and dogs), with two, full, outside bathrooms, a beautifully equipped kitchen and a braai area with a view. This is a place where the peace of a Karoo farm sinks into your heart; a small breeze in your face, the lisping song of a windpump, and the delight of being able to see forever. There are walks in every direction, and no livestock to worry about on the farm.

+27 (0) 78 482 2387; [email protected]

Words Julienne du Toit

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5. Makana Resort, Grahamstown

If you’re planning to visit Frontier Country, the Makana Resort couldn’t be better positioned. It’s on the fringe of Grahamstown just below the 1820 Settlers Monument, a two-minute hop from the centre of town, with its beautiful old buildings, cathedral and Rhodes University. The resort is extremely well priced and has several self-catering chalets, cottages and deluxe units all recently renovated with their own braai area, and there a handful of camping sites. I recently stayed there and loved the trees, the quiet and the birds singing at sunrise. It was a bit cold so I wasn’t tempted to take a dip in the communal pool. Pets are welcome by prior arrangement, providing owners watch them closely.

+27 (0) 46 622 2159; [email protected]

Words Shaen Adey

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6. Woodlands Country Cottages, Kenton-on-Sea

Woodlands Country Cottages in Kenton-on-Sea is set in a 12-acre fairy garden of indigenous trees, ferns and pretty paths. Within this, there are seven self-catering cottages and holiday houses of various sizes, including a lovely converted pottery studio. All the lodgings are quite secluded, with wooden decks where you can relax with sundowners, and do some bird watching. You’ll also find romantic outdoor boma baths and the odd hammock. There is a Blue Flag beach at Kenton that doesn’t welcome dogs, but it only takes up a limited section. For the rest, there are kilometres of golden sand with strange rock formations that are wonderful to explore. Ask about other activities like fishing, canoeing or river cruises. Obviously, your dog needs to be socialised because there are other animals about. Animals are welcome to sleep inside, but not on the furniture. Bring their bedding and food bowls.

+27 (0) 46 648 2867; +27 (0) 82 808 5976; [email protected]

Words Julienne du Toit

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7. Erin Farm House and Cottages, Middelburg

Erin Country House is on a beautiful Karoo farm conveniently halfway between Johannesburg and Cape Town. And if you think it’s just a stop-over place, think again. You’re going to want to settle in here for a few days to take in the surreal arid landscape, the wide horizons, pollution-free air, the famous Karoo sunsets and vast night skies. At Erin Country House it’s all about choice so there’s a variety of accommodation to suit every kind of guest, from the Edwardian homestead in a Karoo garden to modest farm cottages that are fenced to keep your pooch safe. You can also choose whether you’d like bed and breakfast, dinner, bed and breakfast or the self-catering option. Your dog gets to stay at Erin Country House for free, but pets must be pre-arranged. Farm walks will keep them busy and exercised while attractions for you in the district include the historic town of Graaff-Reinet, the Valley of Desolation and the Camdeboo National Park, the picturesque dorp of Nieu-Bethesda, as well as the Mountain Zebra National Park near Cradock. Children are also welcome.

+27 90) 49 842 2293; +27 (0) 82 379 0404; +27 (0) 86 634 0188; [email protected]

Words Olivia Schaffer

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8. Outsiders, Nieu-Bethesda

Eastern Cape

Outsiders in Nieu-Bethesda is on our list of pet-friendly accommodation in the Eastern Cape

There are certain spots in this world where you can take your dog and relax, ramble slowly around quiet dirt streets, get on nodding terms with the locals, and listen to lambs bleat in the distance.
Nieu-Bethesda is such a town. There’s a live-and-letlive vibe here. They tolerate dogs in certain pubs and restaurants. There’s an Honesty Shop along one of the streets. You’re welcome to explore the interesting old cemetery. There are even occasionally running water furrows (leivore). Dogs, especially our hairy German Shepherd dog called TwoPack, love that kind of amenity. He was utterly charmed. Your on-site hosts at Outsiders B&B (two en suite rooms) are Katrin and Ian Allemann, long-time Nieu-Bethesda residents. Their rooms are stripped-down, classy simplicity with
comfortable beds, good linen and locally-made craft lamps. If you need a place to unplug and unwind with your dog, this is it.

+27 (0) 49 841 1642; +27 (0) 72 742 7113; [email protected]

Words Julienne du Toit

9. Starry Nights Guest House, Nieu-Bethesda

Eastern Cape

Starry Nights Guest House is on our list of pet-friendly accommodation in the Eastern Cape

On the northern (and some might say rather art-heavy) edge of Nieu-Bethesda, you’ll find Starry Nights Guest House, with artists Bronwen and David Langmead to host you. Nearby are nationally famous ceramicists Charmaine and Martin Haines of Ware on Earth. The Road to Mecca playwright Athol Fugard used to live around here too. It’s walking distance from the Bethesda Art Centre with its magnificent handmade tapestries and, of course, the Owl House and the Kitching Fossil Exploration Centre. Many establishments around the town (with the firm exception of the latter two) are pet friendly, as is the guest house. There is a large shared garden, but Bronwen will point out the walks around the village. Her dog Xena may come along if her company is wanted. There are also free-range donkeys, horses, goats and chickens, so take along a leash. Bronwen says that, apart from dogs, “Starry Nights has welcomed a cat on a leash, two parrots and even a tame tree
squirrel who nibbled on a side-table.” The guest house consists of two large, open-plan units with verandas and braai areas looking out onto the garden. And apart from comfortable beds and fully equipped kitchens, you’ll find stunning views of the Compassberg in the distance.

+27 (0) 71 875 8521; +27 (0) 83 442 7734; [email protected]

Words Julienne du Toit

Looking for more places to stay with your pet? Take a look at our Mpumalanga and Gauteng lists.

Leigh Hermon

A journalist by trade, features writer on occasion and now the digital editor of SA Country Life. The first chance she gets, Leigh will tell you about a podcast she was recently listening to and how you simply have to make the move from radio. In a previous life, she once taught English on Jeju which left her with an insatiable craving for kimchi.

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