Find peace and quiet at Littlestone Cottage

At this quaint stone cottage at the foot of the Outeniqua Mountains you will be disturbed by nothing more than birdsong.

Find peace and quiet at Littlestone Cottage
The cottage is nestled amidst mountains, where tranquillity is the order of the day.
Photo: Supplied
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We can suggest the perfect spot for a break if you are in search of peace and quiet. Then add a river running in front of the accommodation and forested mountains and hills all around, and you have found heaven.

Marius and Joeline Louw purchased the farm Laaiplaats, 6km from Ruiterbos in the Western Cape, in 1991. The 34ha farm consists of mainly mountains and forests. The Louws initially farmed cattle, then sheep, and later chickens.

In each case they experienced major setbacks and then tried their hands at the next available option: build a cottage on the bank of the Leeukloof River and rent it out to visitors in need of a break.

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Building the cottage 

After their last setback in farming, a former neighbour and friend invited Marius back into the corporate job market as a project manager in the building industry. Over the following six years, the Louw couple built the cottage during their free time over weekends.

During the week Marius worked in Sedgefield, and Joeline managed the shop and fuel station at Ruiterbos they owned at that time.

Rocks for the cottage were sourced on the farm, and the wood used for frames, doors and bathroom accessories (towel rails, toilet paper holder, and so on) came from fallen yellowwood trees that were washed up on the banks of the Leeukloof River.

This river runs into the Moordkuil River, which in turn mouths into the Indian Ocean at Kleinbrak.

Littlestone Cottage received its first guest in November 2009. This self-catering accommodation is fully equipped for six people.

The main bedroom has a double bed and an en-suite bathroom with a shower. The second bedroom has two single beds and a bunk bed for two.

The cottage provides comfortable bedding for six people in two bedrooms. Photo: Riaan Hattingh

The cottage has everything you would need to prepare a home-cooked meal. It has an open-plan kitchen, dining room and lounge area, and a second bathroom with shower.

A fireplace for cold evenings and an indoor braai will make your stay even more pleasant during the colder rainy season.

An outside braai and outside covered patio make lounging outside possible during warmer weather.

According to the Louws, visitors are mainly city slickers seeking a relaxing environment, and birders. Some guests often return, some from as close as Mossel Bay.

Fauna and flora

Over 150 birds have been identified on Laaiplaats, of which the Narina trogon, scaly-throated honeyguide, African finfoot, yellow-throated woodland warbler and crowned eagle are some of the favourites among twitchers.

A complete bird list is available for download on Littlestone Cottage’s website.

Bushbuck and otters are often seen on the farm, while honey badgers and caracal have been spotted on rare occasions. Leopards have been snapped on a camera trap.

A variety of wild flowers can be observed, and one of the regular guests compiled an album with many photos that is available to visitors in the cottage.

Local Activities 

With solitude in mind, activities on the property are aimed at just that. Take a walk through the forests, swim in the river, grab your binoculars and make some ticks on your personal bird list, or see if you can add to the list of the cottage.

Littlestone Cottage lies on the bank of the Leeukloof River, with a large lawn for family entertainment.

For cellphone reception one must take a stroll towards the main house, as there is no TV or cellphone reception at the cottage. This presents the ideal opportunity for a digital detox.

Bring your favourite books or board games with you, although some are available in the cottage, or explore the area. There is a large lawn for children of all ages to play and relax.

Activities in the area

With Hartenbos and Mossel Bay only 30km to the south, and Oudtshoorn only 60km to the north, there is lots to do.

The Robinson Pass linking Mossel Bay and Oudtshoorn, although offering beautiful scenery, is also known for the dangers that lurk when covered in thick mist. Careful driving is recommended.

To the south, eight Blue Flag beaches are on offer: Mossel Bay with five, and George with three.

At Mossel Bay you will also find the historic Cape St Blaize Lighthouse, the Dias Museum Complex with the over 500-year-old post office tree, a life-size replica of the Dias Caravel, and many other points and exhibits of interest.

The Mossel Bay Zipline is not for the faint-hearted; it boasts being the longest over-ocean zipline in the world. Farmer’s Weekly had meals at Spar (there is a sit-down inside the shop) in Hartenbos and at Hennie’s in Mossel Bay.

To the north, you will find Oudtshoorn with its attractions of a different kind, including ostrich farms open to visitors and the Cango Caves.

It is possible to follow one of two interesting routes along mountain passes in the immediate area.

The first is a circle route passing through the Swartberg Pass to the north of Oudtshoorn in the direction of Prince Albert, then east along the R407 through the Kredouw Pass, and then south on the N12 through the Meiringspoort Pass, or in reverse.

Alternatively, you could travel east toward The Hell from the Swartberg Pass and have a day outing of a different kind, exploring one of the passes on the bucket list of most South African explorers.

Farmer’s Weekly had brunch at Kobus se Gat, 12km north-east of the Cango Caves turn, after which we decided to go through the three passes and save The Hell for a following trip.

Rates at Littlestone Cottage start at R800 per night for up to two persons, thereafter R50 per additional person per night.

Visit, or phone 073 536 7544