One of the most enjoyable getaways I’ve experienced this year, Buff & Fellow have managed to combine pastoral peace and quiet with contemporary living and slick design. Four eco-friendly accommodation options (two pods sleeping two people each and two cabins sleeping four each) have been fully kitted out, including beautiful linen, Wonki Ware crockery and a Kolkol wood-fired hot tub each. The latter proved to be most welcome as temperatures plummeted and some excellent regional red wine was opened.
Opulently furnished, the pod is equipped with a king-size bed, bathtub and enclosed outdoor shower that affords the bather a view out over the dam. A slow combustion fireplace keeps the pod toasty during the winter months while ceiling fans cool things down come summer. An elegant kitchen is edged into a corner, and equipped with a gas hob, electric oven, bar fridge, microwave and that greatest of essentials – a dishwasher. Almost Jenga-esque in their ingenious use of space, the pods offer all the comforts of home – but in cosy compaction that never feels cramped. A covered deck runs the length of the pod, with the hot tub taking pride of place in the centre. Heated by a small wood-burning stove, the tub gets wonderfully warm – offering the ideal respite to our July stay. Little beats a lengthy soak in one of these, a glass of wine in hand and woodsmoke scenting the evening air.
Utilising water from the dam, the tubs are environmentally friendly, as is all water used in the pods and cabins. Although not suitable for drinking (fresh drinking water is provided daily) this means that there is little to no wastage, furthering the eco-appeal of Buff & Fellow.
My first foray into the Garden Route in almost a decade, I was treated to a vastly different landscape to that of the West Coast. Rolling green fields, tumbling swathes of forest and the Outeniqua mountains layered black, blue and grey against the sky brought back memories of a childhood spent at my grandparent’s home in Wilderness. There is a sense of freedom here, what with the eco-cabins set on a working buffalo stud and game farm in the Diepekloof area of George. A bevy of well-rounded ponies and chuckling chooks (whose eggs are free for early risers to harvest) add to the farm appeal but it is the prettily patterned Nyala, springbok and Eland that offer the real drawcard, especially as they share the same enclosure as the cabins. Buff & Fellow’s namesake, the African buffalo can be viewed up close and personal during the morning’s feeding – an experience that saw me bouncing around in the rear of a trailer as these enormous animals galloped after the tractor, clamouring for their breakfast.
Speaking of breakfast, Buff & Fellow offers guests the option to either self-cater or take advantage of the farm’s selection of produce. We were treated to both the breakfast box as well as two braai box options. Waking up to an array of goodies in the form of fresh eggs, bacon, tomatoes, mushrooms, fruit, croissants, preserves and cheese was little short of indulgent, especially if one takes the time to eat the resulting feast outdoors so as to better take in the view. The first braai box contained a combination of meat (lamb chops, chicken kebabs, boerewors) and a potato salad while the Weskus box featured a fine fat snoek, sweet potatoes and roosterkoek.
Located a short drive from George, visitors to Buff & Fellow can opt to explore this picturesque town or choose to take a drive out to Wilderness or Knysna. Dating someone from this neck of the woods meant that I got to embark on a mass thrifting expedition, bringing home prize pieces from as far afield as Mossel Bay. For the less adventurous, the farm offers myriad activities that include bass fishing in the dam, Indian canoes, a walking trail and a spacious fire pit where meals can be enjoyed communally. Wine tasting can also be arranged – either from the comfort of your cabin or in the farm’s old red barn, although this is only available to larger groups.
Featuring a selection of South African wines from various regions, the tasting is self-given, meaning that the aforementioned hot tub can certainly be included! A range of locally crafted Belgian-style chocolates flavoured with aromatics like ginger, lavender and red pepper are paired with the wines, expertly pulling out the finer nuances of each varietal. We enjoyed one of my favourite Chardonnay’s from De Wetshof in Robertson as well as a particularly delicious Diemersfontein Pinotage from the Wellington area – with the latter later enjoyed with our braaied lamb chops.
Having had the opportunity to stay in both the eco-pod and cabin, I had the chance to imagine what a more permanent existence in this sort of build would be like. While still compactly cool, the cabin has a larger verandah, with a covered lounge and dining area that appealed to the entertainer in me. Two en-suite bedrooms and an outdoor shower make up the sleeping areas, with an inside lounge, kitchen and dining area (replete with slow combustion fireplace) serving as the living space. I could easily see myself existing quite happily in such an abode, especially if there’s a hot tub added into the mix!
Particularly enjoying the sight of sunrise from the cabin’s stoep, mist rolling off the dam and sleepy Nyala silhouetted against an orange sky, I could certainly find appeal in farm life – and there’s no better way to experience it than with a stay at Buff & Fellow.