Once you approach the entrance to Hunters Country House just off the N2 between Knysna and Plettenberg, you will immediately become aware why this place was originally called the Pear Tree Farm. The small unpaved road cuts through a small thick forest which is opening (after a stop for the obligatory security check at the huge wrought iron gate) into one of the most beautiful garden imaginable.
A narrow, cobble-stoned alley lined by colourful bushes and flowers leads towards the main building, a 100-year old thatched homestead where you will be greeted by a friendly member of staff already alerted about your arrival by security.
The whole look and feel of Hunters Country House, a member of the prestigious Relais & Chateaux group, is that of a typical Cape Dutch farm oozing tranquillity and easy going. It’s the perfect location to shift into a slower gear as soon as you step out of your car.
After a quick and seamless check in procedure, you will be whisked to your room, located within one of the 23 delightful small thatched cottages. They are tucked way under a canopy of trees and surrounded by lush green bushes and colourful flowers within the beautiful garden area surrounding the manor house.
There are six different room categories ranging from the garden suits, family suites, pool and family pool suites and the terrace and orchard rooms. Independently from the category, all rooms/cottages feature large comfy king size beds, a seating area with a fireplace (separate in the pool and family pool suites) and a spacious bathroom.
I truly loved the gorgeous pool suite I was staying in and my only complaint is not having had more time to chill at my private small (unheated) plunge pool which is part of all pool and family pool suites.
I also made the mistake to move a plate of fresh fruits that was waiting for me in the room outside; which ended in unexpected albeit so lovely company … stealing my food!
Does he look guilty eating my apples?
Tucked away behind the old homestead in a secluded area shaded by trees and bushes you will also find a beautiful public pool area with sun loungers, a self-serving bar and an ever so gorgeous little pavilion in Bedouin tent style with comfortable couches and arm chairs.
Though the pool looks very inviting, beware: this one too is unheated and even during the warm summer months the water can stay quite chilly due to the cooler nights in this area.
Before you settle down at the pool, however, go on an exploration tour of the property. Set on five hectares and completely surrounded by thick green forests, the impeccably manicured garden with arrangements of colourful plants and flowers is just too beautiful to miss.
One of my highlights was the large breakfast buffet served in the Conservatory, a beautiful glass pavilion attached to the original homestead. With rays of sunshine dancing around in the morning, there is an atmosphere like you are sitting right in a greenhouse.
The absolutely gorgeous candle-lit small dining rooms in the manor house along with an excellent cuisine are an almost unbeatable argument to stay put and enjoy dinner on-site.
On the menu you will find typical South African favourites including springbok, kudu, ostrich, duck or the so delicious Karoo lamb.
However, should you grave something different, you still do not have to go far. Located on the property and really just a short walk away from the manor house you will find Zinzi restaurant, a top-notch destination for food lovers. The name Zinzi means ‘abundance’ in Swahili, a Bantu language spoken in a large number of African countries.
Before turning my attention on the food, however, I had to marvel at the beautiful architecture and interior design featuring a mix of tribal African decor mixed with elements from India.
Food at Zinzi is inspired by the mixture of local cooking styles, incorporating dishes from Africa, Asia and Mediterranean-style elements.
What to do around Hunters Country House?
Hunters Country House is located around 10 kilometres from Plattenberg and 20 kilometres from Knysna, centrally enough to explore both towns and the surrounding areas. Kynsna Lagoon with the famous Knysna Heads, the huge white sandy beaches around Plettenberg, Tsitsikamma national park, Robberg nature reserve and the Crags with a large number of wildlife sanctuaries are all within easy reach.
Hunters Country House
Off N2, Harkerville