Peace and tranquillity off the grid on a spectacular farm in the Swartland

Dassenheuwel Farm Stay has the orginal farm homestead for families with all the creature comforts, or the cottages for couples. The choice is yours, writes Riaan Hattingh.

Peace and tranquillity off the grid  on a spectacular farm in the Swartland
A rustic road on the way to Dassenheuwel Farm Stay & Cottages in the Western Cape.
Photo: Riaan Hattingh
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Only 85km from Cape Town is Dassenheuwel Farm Stay & Cottages, between the towns of Malmesbury (to the west) Riebeek-Kasteel (to the north), and Hermon (to the east).

A fourth generation of the Lesch family lives on the farm, Dassenheuwel.

Owners Kobus and Lida make a formidable team and ensure all is running like clockwork on this working farm. Kobus, assisted by his son Pieter, manages the farming activities, and Lida, a pharmacist, takes care of the Farm Stay & Cottages.

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Farming activities 
Dassenheuwel produces wheat and canola commercially, while it grows lupine and oats on a crop-rotation basis to use as fodder.

Livestock includes a herd of Sussex cattle, and a flock of Dohne Merino sheep, a multipurpose breed. Drifts of feral pigs and troops of baboons are the major destroyers of crops, and caracal is responsible for killing lambs.

Kobus tells us that the natural fauna in this area is Renosterveld, and the mountains in the region, with the local, natural habitat, are home to more than 120 bird species on the farm.

The inviting interior of the cottage.

Small game
The blue crane (bloukraanvoël) makes a regular appearance, as do the Verreaux’s
eagle (witkruisarend). Guests may be fortunate to see small antelope, such as steenbok and duiker on the farm.

Lida tells Farmer’s Weekly that the most important reason people book into Dassenheuwel is for the peace, tranquillity and fresh air it offers.

City dwellers from Cape Town and Gauteng make up most of the guests, while several are from the rest of South Africa and across the globe, who usually stay one or two nights when attending weddings, functions, and sport events in the area.

When Kobus’s father passed away, he started to restore the more than 200-year-old house in 2010 and the first guests made a booking in 2011.

After the success of the home as a guest house, they added two cottages, Flower Cottage and Windmill Cottage, in 2015 to accommodate guests who wished to stay for only one or two nights. All the accommodation on offer is fully self-catered.

Everything you need
Guests will find everything needed to prepare meals. Towels are also provided. Wood is available for purchase should you wish to braai.

All of the units have a Nespresso coffee machine, as well as filter coffee to enjoy.
Guests who book in advance, and should time allow, may find on their arrival a loaf of freshly baked farm bread awaiting them in their unit.

Lida booked Farmer’s Weekly into the Flower Cottage. This cottage makes provision for two adults with a queen-size bed. It is completely open plan, free Wi-Fi is available, and it has an en suite bathroom with a shower only.

Guests also have their own stoep with braai. Complimentary tea, coffee, sugar and milk await guests, and an honesty bar is available with snacks, cold drinks and water. The cottage also has an air conditioner. Windmill Cottage has the same facilities as Flower Cottage and the two cottages are adjacent to each another.

The Farm Stay caters for five people with a single bathroom and two bedrooms. One bedroom has a queen-size bed, and there are three single beds in the other. Air conditioning is available in the living room, and fans in the bedrooms.

A fully-equipped kitchen and dining room are available. For a braai, you have a choice between indoors or outdoors. A shared bathroom with a shower and bath is available for ablution.

Two exciting new developments are also taking place and will be available to guests. The first is an old silo around the corner from the two cottages that Kobus and Lida are converting into a unique stay for a couple.

The double bed is on a mezzanine level with stairs leading to it inside the silo, with a small kitchenette and bathroom with a shower on the ground level. It also has a braai.

A second development is the Wheat Cabin. It lies on the edge of the farm and is completely off-grid, the ideal getaway for a couple.

It has a fireplace that will keep guests warm during the chilly winter nights and a hot tub to light up the romance. A net where guests may relax and have an idyllic view of the Riebeek/Wellington Valley with the Winterhoek Mountains beyond rounds this cabin off to perfection.

Even though the last incident of theft on the farm occurred about 25 years ago,
Lida advises guests to close windows and lock doors when leaving their accommodation. The Lesch family attributes the absence of theft to not being close to a major road, and almost 7km of well-maintained gravel roads lead to this tranquil destination.

Activities on the farm
Depending on the season, guests may observe the shearing of sheep and feeding of lambs. Guests may also hike and cycle on the farm roads.

Dohne Merino sheep go about their grazing.

Each cottage has a map indicating where farm roads are, and the distances covered by each. If you are into twitching, remember to bring your binoculars and books, and see if you can add new birds to the official bird list of the farm.

Activities in the area
The area around Dassenheuwel offers guests lots to do in the form of eateries, history, activities and shopping. You will find MTB tracks, wineries and even hot-air ballooning in the area.

For meals, when you do not want to cook, there are eateries such as the Cherry Lane Coffee House and Deli, Beef and Barrel Restaurant, and Café Myrtledene and Hofstraat Kelder on offer in Malmesbury, only 18km away. Riebeek Kasteel boasts wineries and art galleries, and then there is Cape Town, which is less than an hour away, with all of its attractions.

Visit, or phone 082 896 9124.