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Owned by Charlotte Daneel, The Poplars is a gorgeously restored farmhouse in the Great Karoo, about an hour from Graaff-Reinet. It’s located on the 15 000 hectare Gordonville farm, at the heart of the Sneeuberg Nature Reserve conservancy project that was started by Daneel and her partner Derk Blaisse. The idea behind it was to try and recreate the pristine environment that once existed in this part of South Africa, the very one that was discovered by pioneers who settled here over 200 years ago. It’s rugged, dramatic and utterly silent – truly something special.
The Poplars is an amazing base from which to explore an environment created so that indigenous fauna and flora are able to flourish. Already substantial numbers of springbuck, wildebeest and mountain zebra can be found roaming the lands and with the fences being down, the natural order of things is beginning to take over once again.
The Great Karoo is well-known for being boiling in the summers and very cold in the winters. The Poplars is kitted out for both seasons though: there’s a pool fashioned out of an old raised farm dam, the answer to cooling off in the sweltering heat, with a wood fireplace, perfect for cuddling up next to when the temperature drops. Relax on the stoep while you read in the summer, or bring your mountain bikes for some enjoyable workouts along the farm tracks or on the slopes of the nearby Sneeuberg or the Compassberg when it’s cooler.
As with all of Charlotte Daneel properties, The Poplars brings a touch of Netherlandish style to the Great Karoo. The now rambling old homestead has expanded over the years with wings being added, new windows being opened revealing unexpected views, and gardens being planted to transform the surrounds. Daneel has also filled the spaces with timeless pieces that speak to a laid-back European style of living. Here you’ll find linen-covered sofas, rattan tables and chairs, antique Cape furniture featuring riempie or yellowwood, complete with all the marks and scratches of the passage of time. Taupes, sea sand, mustard and shades of fynbos green elevate the space and help create a calm feeling throughout. Old mixes with the new, bringing Daneel’s signature look to life.
The outside gazebo houses a long dining table that seats 12, perfect for al fresco dining. When the weather isn’t cooperating, there’s another table in the dining room that also seats 12, as well as a round table for a smaller group. The heart of the house is undoubtedly the comfortable living room, a place where everyone gathers to relax and mingle.
The five bedrooms perfectly capture the style of country house living, with one featuring a four-poster bed and another a 19th Century faux Louis Quinze sleigh bed with blue velvet upholstery and armchairs to match. Sheep skin rugs and mohair blankets bring richness and warmth to the spaces, while old books, shells, fossils, ceramics and African crafts add colour and character.
Step back in time when you visit The Poplars as you immerse yourself in the quietude of the Great Karoo.
Please note: Rates are a guide and subject to change. Please re-confirm rates when booking or enquiring.