It’s rare to find a country retreat as unique and authentic as Penhill. A scenic 90-minute drive away from Cape Town, you’ll spot its towering twin palms long before the outcrop of white-washed buildings set on endless emerald lawns comes into view. It is nothing short of an oasis in the ruggedly beautiful Nuy Valley, so it’s easy to imagine this wonderful historical place as it was some 300 years ago when it was built as a refreshment station on the busy route to Stellenbosch, Swellendam and Graaff Reinet, pre-dating the N1.
Having been lovingly restored, Penhill has literally gone back to its roots, although, rather than a stop for the ox wagons of before, it’s now a private and very special place for groups of up to 24 people to relax and replenish body, mind and soul. And to have a whole lot of fun, too, as it’s perfectly suited for hosting fabulous parties, from formal affairs to outdoorsy bashes that make the most of the glorious natural surrounds.
There are dams and pools for splashing about in, a court for tennis as well as boules and croquet, not to mention trails for gentle walks, more strenuous hikes and runs, and mountain biking. While there are dozens of lovely, picturesque spots where everyone can gather for meals, teas, sundowners and to be sociable in general, there’s also more than enough space on the 3 500 acre property with its well-tended garden to find quiet time alone with a book. Where better for a nap than propped up under a tree beside the dam? Similarly, the layout of the various lodgings – Penhill West Grange, Penhill East Grange, Penhill Manor House, Penhill Fruit Barn and Penhill Pepper Tree (all of which can be booked separately or as an exclusive group) – also allows plenty of room to breathe, which is what sets it apart from so many other places.
Which brings us to Penhill West Grange. Originally designed as a farm shed, this lofty thatched building has magnificent views of the Riviersonderend mountains and the Nuy Valley in the distance. The fully air-conditioned renovated Grange building is now shared by the charming Penhill West and Penhill East cottages. Like Penhill East, Penhill West sleeps four people in two double bedrooms, with ensuite bathrooms. With a fully equipped kitchen, dining room and sitting room, wood-burning stove, satellite TV, wifi and sound system, this is a real retreat. The cherry on top is you have your own private outdoor Jacuzzi.
What we love…
- getting active outdoors with the whole family: enjoy walking, mountainbiking, swimming, croquet, boules or tennis matches on Penhill’s tennis court (racquets and balls provided)
- the spectacular Conradie Penhill Artisanal Wines (a collaboration with award-winning winemaker CP Conradie, the fifth-generation vintner on the farm next door)
- sneaking off to the excellent Nuy on the Hill for breakfast or lunch, plus a dollop of wine tasting, when we are too lazy to cook
- treating the whole family to a visit to Saggy Stone Mountain Pub and Restaurant (just 5km along the dirt road towards Robertson). This microbrewery and pub set among plum orchards is a winner – enjoy beer tastings while the kids run free, and help yourselves to ripe plums in season
Need to know…
- You can book each of the five lodgings separately or all of them for an exclusive group
- With accommodation for up to 24 people, Penhill is an excellent choice for milestone celebrations and weddings, and even for small conferences
- The outstanding industrial-strength kitchen attached to the wine ‘cellar’ is perfect for catering for special events or mini-conferences
- Penhill is conveniently situated at the start of Route 62, the longest wine route in the world
See the farm map here
With another 3 cottages on the farm and the Manor House, Penhill sleeps a total of 24 people:
East Grange sleeps 4
Pepper Tree sleeps 4
Fruit Barn sleeps 4
Manor House sleeps 8