Set in remote lowveld bush savanna against the backdrop of the magnificent Drakensberg escarpment, Blue Cottages Country House comprises of a handful of thatched cottages in a beautiful and peaceful tropical garden. Buried deep within acres of orange groves, these cottages are stylishly decorated in Afro-Colonial style. Apart from the bed and breakfast option, two self-catering cottages are also available. Dining at the Mad Dogz Café is a must, where some of the region’s most delicious food is served.
Blue Cottages Country House offers delightfully quaint accommodation for up to 16 people in six separate cottages and rondavels (including self-catering and family options). The décor is stylish, quirky and individual. Great attention to detail ensures that beds come with romantic muslin mosquito nets, selb linen (100% cotton), towels and blankets. Basic toiletries are provided, along with tea/coffee making facilities.
All accommodation is air-conditioned and has DSTV television. An internet hot spot is available on the veranda of the main house.
Weaver’s Nest Suites:
The original farm manager’s cottages, built in 1948 on the pioneering Olifants River Estate, have been converted into two separate suites. These family suites can sleep five to six people in three separate rooms, with one full bathroom and shared sitting room with television – but no kitchen. The sitting room can sleep two. This room has its own air-conditioning unit.
Blue Crane Suites:
Set amid the four acre garden is a cluster of rondavels painted in shades of blue (naturally)! For those wanting flexibility the Blue Crane Cottages are ideal, having been created as a self-catering unit for larger parties (sleeps two, four and six people) and food can be ordered if desired.
The suites consist of a cottage, with a separate lounge and fully equipped kitchen. They also include two thatched rondavels (a double and a twin). The double has a separate but private outside bathroom and bush showers. The twin has its own separate en-suite facilities. Rooms have overhead fans and a private braai (barbeque) patio area and television.
Quail rondavels also form part of the cluster of rondavels in the garden, except that there are no self-catering facilities. They are however equipped with tea and coffee making facilities. Each rondavel has its own private patio/area and braai (barbeque) facility. These rondavels are an ideal place to rest and relax after a day’s exploring.
Garden Double Suite:
A private charming cottage, with one luxury bedroom, double bed and private bathroom, delightful lounge and fully equipped kitchenette. The cottage also has television and air-conditioning.
Rates include a full farmhouse or health breakfast. Both breakfast and three course evening dinners with a selection of wines are served on the farmhouse veranda. Alternatively, The Mad Dogz Café is situated near the farm entrance on the main road and serves wonderful food in an ambient setting. Lunches and teas are served in the café under a huge thatched roof overlooking the Drakensberg Mountains. It is a popular spot with locals and passing travellers and brightly painted wooden tables and chairs seating up to seventy.
The emphasis is on wholesome farm cooking with plenty of fresh salads and herbs from the vegetable garden. The food is delicious: ranging from traditional Malay and African dishes to Thai curry, followed by wonderful cakes and deserts. Menus change regularly and prices are reasonable. Breakfast hampers can be prepared and picnic lunches pre-ordered for day trips.
For those self-catering in Blue Crane cottage, there is a butcher and shop 10km away and the small town of Hoedspruit, which has all necessary amenities, is 29km distant. There is no dishwasher but staff will attend to the dishes.
There are many things to do in the area during your stay here.
- Enjoy a cooling dip in the farm’s swimming pool;
- Go on guided tours of the region (extra cost) either cultural, nature or archaeological;
- Bush walk with John Rushworth, an exceptional botanist who seems to know all there is about the bush - after a few hours in his company you are bound to look at the bush in an altogether different light;
- There are many hiking opportunities in the vicinity, or you can take guided tour or informal walk through the citrus groves on this 900ha farm;
- Visit the Kruger Park via Phalaborwa or Orpen Gates, about one hour’s drive away. Guided trips can be arranged;
- Bird-watching – Blue Cottages lies adjacent to the Manutsa Cape Vulture Colony, one of the largest colonies in the Limpopo Province that can be seen from the terrace of the gallery and restaurant;
- River rafting and kayaking can be arranged nearby, within striking distance (½ hour) of the beautiful and scenic escarpment route;
- Tribal village visits; or
- Shop ‘til you drop at the on site African gallery.
The hosts at Blue Cottages speak both English and Afrikaans.
- “By far and away the best option in the region. Five bungalows set in a beautiful bush garden with orchards all around, swimming pool, each unit has been decorated with some unique pieces of artwork and you will want to spend several days here, strongly recommended as a base for exploring the Lowveld as well as the Blyde River Canyon area.” Footprints.
- “Linked to the gallery is an outstanding place to eat – Mad Dogz Café where breakfasts, lunches and teas are available every day. Part of the same outfit you will also find a farm stall, and information bureau and very comfortable (and stylish) B&B accommodation at the Blue Cottages.” Rough Guide.
- "Thank you for the time of our lives we will definitely be back again next year…” Guest, March.
- “Wonderful stay over, a beautiful garden and warm hospitality – what more does one want.” – Sir David Attenbourgh – BBC TV British UK, October 2006.
- “We enjoyed our night very much, thank you. The room was very comfortable, the food was delicious and the hosts were very friendly. Thank you for making it a very pleasant night.” Caroline Partridge, New Zealand, Comments on SafariNow.com
Anybody and everybody but mainly returning guests and those who’ve heard of it by word of mouth. Business people use it as a stopover, as do couples touring the area and occasional honeymooners. Also popular groups of friends aged 30 and families.
Children are welcome, but no cots are available. There is no charge for 1-3 year olds; 4-10 year olds receive 50% discount. Not suitable for toddlers as the pool is big, deep and unfenced. The Blue Crane Suite, with its fully equipped kitchen and lounge, is good for families.
When to come:
If passing through this is an ideal stopover at any time of the year. The garden is at its best in the African springtime or summer i.e. October-April when it is hotter but wetter.
How long for:
Most guests book for 2-3 days but anything up to a week is worthwhile. Enough time to relax and soak up the atmosphere, but not long enough to run out of things to do.
What to take:
Insect repellent and mosquito precautions in the summer months. Although a malaria area, it is not a problem in winter. Jacket and jumpers in winter for the cooler evenings and mornings.
Blue Cottages Country House is on the R527 near its junction with the R36, 29km west of Hoedspruit. That is about a four hour drive from Johannesburg. You can also fly with SA Express from Johannesburg to Eastgate airport, near Hoedspruit, and ask the hotel for a transfer from there. Detailed directions can be provided once booking is confirmed.
Price includes: Bed and breakfast, booking fee.
Price excludes: Lunch, three course dinner, drinks, 1% accommodation levy.
Single occupancy: Approximately 20% surcharge.
Children’s policy: 1-3 years old: free; 4-10 years old: 50% discount. No cots supplied.
Open: All year
Deposit policy: 50% deposit required, payable by credit card
Cancellation policy: Accommodation cancelled less than four days prior to arrival date will be charged 50% of the full rate.
Credit cards accepted: Visa, Mastercard, Diners, and Amex.
To get to Blue Cottages Country House, take the R36 road passing through Dullstroom and Lydenberg to Tzaneen, Phalaborwa and Hoedspruit. At the Tzaneen-Phalaborwa turn-off, follow the R527 to Hoedspruit. Approximately 4km from the turn-off to Tzaneen is the well known Monsoon Gallery and Mad Dog’s Café. Turn off at Monsoon.
Blue Cottages is situated about 500m into the Olifants River Estate. Its location is approximately 29km from Hoedspruit and Blyde River Canyon, en-route to the Kruger National Park, about one hour’s drive away.