Type of accommodation: B&B, self-catering and camping
A visit to Old Thomas River Historical Village will conjure up memories of a time long gone when in 1801, an English deserter by the name of Thomas Bentley was killed by a Bushman’s poisoned arrow while crossing the river – hence the name of Thomas River. Two stone forts at either side of the original station bear testament to the Frontier wars and the picturesque stone-dressed church tells the history of this farming community since 1888.
More than one hundred years later, the Sansom family has lovingly restored this village to its former glory and offers a wonderful holiday setting full of history, beauty and nature. Part of the Thomas River Conservancy, the village has joined with 19 farmers who together have 31000ha of land for the purpose of conservation and recreation.Immersed in tales of a time long gone, the historic dining hall offers the perfect venue for weddings, private functions and conferences. The Ramble In serves scrumptious country style cuisine and the Museum Pub is popular with locals and holiday makers alike.
A perfect spot for a family holiday, weekend break or for those who simply want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, Old Thomas River also offers a caravan and camping site with electricity and 2 ablution blocks. Equipped with a swimming pool, games room, table tennis, trampoline, swings and a slide, children are well catered for. Being part of the conservancy, trout and bass fishing are available and it is a wonderful area for mountain biking and in fact two annual events are held, ‘The Mean Cuisine Challenge’ in October and in May, the Extreme Outdoor which incorporates a MTB cycle, swimming, an obstacle course and running. Walks and hiking, with several trails starting from the village are popular and a wonderful way to explore the area while immersed in the outstanding natural beauty.
With over a 150 species of birds in the vicinity, it is a birders paradise and the flora varies from high altitude species of the mountain tops to sweet valley bushveld. The conservancy is steadily restocking the Bontebok plains with species that used to be endemic to the district making game sighting a frequent event and for an experience of a different kind, there is even a Vulture Restaurant nearby. All in all, Old Thomas River Historical Village is a holiday destination not to missed, offering history, beauty, nature and fun filled days in the Eastern Cape.
The Manderson Hotel and Conference Centre
Type of accommodation: hotel and self-catering
Set at the foot of the Amathole Mountains in Stutterheim, the Manderson Hotel and Conference Centre is a charming weekend retreat and outstanding conference destination.
The Manderson offers a choice of Deluxe Rooms and Junior Suites set in a pristine garden setting, as well as the shoe box cottage and Manderson Suite which offer an extra touch of luxury. All 34 rooms include en-suite bathrooms (with separate bath and walk-in shower), coffee and tea making facilities, direct dial telephones, satellite television, wall heaters and electric blankets. All rooms are non-smoking.
In the morning they serve a full english breakfast and thereafter offer light lunches. In the evening the restaurant offers a table d’hote menu, which changes daily. Their pub has a great atmosphere and offers a wide selection of alcoholic, as well as non-alcoholic beverages.
The Manderson is a popular venue for conferences, training seminars, presentations and product launches. Amahlathi Conference Room can accommodate 90 delegates and the Amatola Conference Room accommodates 50. The Boardroom can accommodate up to 20 executives, with a touch more luxury. All three venues are specifically designed and built for conferencing purposes. Conference centre equipment available includes, digital data projector with surround sound, flipcharts, overhead projector, additional electrical outlets, overhead fluorescent and wall lighting, telephone, wireless internet connectivity, men and ladies toilet facilities as well as administrative support, such as e-mail and internet, faxing, copying and secretarial services.
The Manderson offers a swimming pool, volley ball court, babysitting services, seasonal gourmet evenings, wheelchair access, off street parking and children’s playground. Established in 1996, the Manderson Hotel is an owner managed establishment which has won numerous awards and accolades.
So much more than just a conference centre…
The Shire Eco Lodge
Type of accommodation: B&B, self-catering and camping
Reclining in a bubble of wood, the tranquillity and otherworldliness of the space will soothe, inspire and rejuvenate. Sitting right on the edge of the indigenous forest, the Shire Eco Lodge is a haven for nature lovers or the perfect retreat for the businessman passing through the area.
Nestled at the edge of the Xholora Forest, a visit to The Shire Eco Lodge is like entering into another world. Whether you choose self-catering or B&B, these chalets offer absolute luxury. The open plan design has an elegant ambiance and provides a plush queen sized bed or two three quarter beds depending on your requirements, an en suite bathroom, fully equipped kitchen with microwave and a stunning sitting area where one can watch nature at its best through the novel curved glass window. The small deck is the perfect place to sit back and relax while soaking up nature’s beauty and each chalet has its own braai facility for those who enjoy the outdoors.
Five years ago the idea of the Shire was born, and with much planning, effort and experimenting, these truly unique chalets have been a labour of love for Rob Scott. Knowing that he wanted something different, but that would have to merge with the natural beauty of the surrounds, it took six months for the perfect design to be created. From there it has been learning the art of bending wood for the shaped ribs of the chalet and after many trials, lamination was found not only to be the solution but also a fascinating art! Care to detail sets this venue apart as each cupboard, seat etc. had to be profiled to the curved shape of the internal walls.
The Croft Cottages
Type of accommodation: B&B and self-catering
Simone and Warwick Flanegan offer superb self-catering cottages set in idyllic surroundings with outstanding vistas of the mountains across the meadow. Only 7km from Stutterheim and situated right on the edge of the indigenous forest, the Croft comprises 3 fully equipped cottages, two of which are thatched and the third is timber and tile.
There are also two en suite rooms, a welcoming dining room where meals can be served on request and a swimming pool for the long, hot, summer days.
All the cottages have braai facilities, a patio to relax on during the pleasant summer evenings, cosy fireplaces for the chilly winter nights with firewood and kindling provided.
Each cottage comes equipped with stove, fridge, bath or shower, linen towels, crockery, kitchen utensils and outdoor furniture and cooking facilities.
The units are service daily and specially tailored ramps for disabled access are available on request.
Friendly, warm and inviting, where even your pets are welcome, the Croft will ensure an enjoyable and peaceful venue for family holidays, weekend breaks or overnight stops.
Type of accommodation: group booking venue
Forestway Outdoor Centre is situated on the edge of the Kologha Forest Reserve, just 8km from Stutterheim on the N6. The name Kologha is derived from Xolo: the Xhosa word for peace. In the original it was Xholora – a place of or people of peace. For us, it is God’s peace!
Forestway offers a unique experience of the Outdoors and God’s creation, running Environmental Education camps, Leadership Training, Team Building and Adventure Activities. Open to all ages, our main business is school camps. There are also facilities for day conferences and training events. The focus is on group bookings.
All catering is provided by Forestway’s well experienced catering team. They are also able to cater for special dietary needs. (If required, details to be sent through in the booking process.)
Forestway can accommodate groups of up to 100 people. The accommodation consists of:
- Main accommodation block: 8 rooms/66 beds, with ablutions on each end.
- Leader’s rooms: 2 rooms with 3 bed each. One room is ensuite.
- Cabins: 4 rooms each with 8 beds and their own toilet/shower, opening onto a common veranda. The spacious hall (225m2) is ideal for large meetings. It has a fire place, projection screen, chairs and tables.
- Other ‘modern gadgets’ can be arranged. On the grounds there is a volley ball court, a playing field, a fire circle, a bouldering wall and a basketball hoop.
Some activities offered at Forestway:
- Obstacle Course, Abseiling, Archery, Raft Building, Sleep-out in the forest, Potjie kos, Hamburger braai, Kayaking, Orienteering, Compass Trail, The Forestway Challenge, Interpretive Forest walks, Waterfall walks, Adventure Night Trail, Star walks (when the sky is clear) and Hide outs.
- There is also the Environmental Education program called, “Ubomi” (in Xhosa means ‘Life’). Forestway has a Child Protection Policy in place.
- Lush vegetation, evergreen lawns, majestic trees and the sound of the mountain stream make this converted forest station the place to absorb the peace, walk the trails and talk out the joys.
- It is also the place to stretch your team working, test your thirst for adventure and for you to be challenged – spirit, soul and body.
Type of accommodation: self-catering
Set in the beautiful Henderson valley, Ferndale is an active cattle, merino sheep and Angora goat farm just a short distance from Cathcart.
Choose between a beautiful, fully equipped, self-catering, thatched, riverside chalet which sleeps up to twelve visitors or relax in the campsite at the edge of the Thomas River.
The site is perfect for both campers and caravaners with electricity points, full ablutions and hot water. A relaxing thatched boma equipped with a fridge, freezer, electric kettle and toaster will make any camping holiday effortless and firewood is supplied for the braai or night time bonfire.
Famed for its 4×4 routes, Ferndale has been rated in the top five in South Africa for 2009 and offers 4 routes with grading between 3 and 5. From a scenic, easy drive to one where diff-lock is essential, Ferndale has drives to suit all preferences and abilities.
Not only are there 4×4 routes, but micro lighting, bird watching (with over 130 species on the farm including Cape Vultures, Fish and Martial Eagles, but game viewing, bass and yellow fish on a catch and release system and horse riding.
Mountain biking, quad biking, clay pigeon shooting are also available and numerous caves with san paintings are to be found in the valley and along the krantzes.
Lavender Leisure Country House
Type of accommodation: bed and breakfast
Lavender Leisure Country House where spacious gardens and a country atmosphere veil the fact that it is situated in town. Only 1km from the Stutterheim Engine Museum, this property commands beautiful views of the forest and foothills of the Amatola Mountains. Summer afternoons can be spent lazing in the lapa overlooking the small dam, following the path down to the Cumakala River which flows along the boundary or swimming in the pristine pool.
Five large and airy rooms offer comfort, privacy and are beautifully decorated, each with their own individual flair. The accommodation comprises one family room, a double and four twin rooms, all en suite.
The small conference room accommodates 12-15 people and full catering can be provided. With WiFi connections available, the business man will find Lavender Leisure Country House to be a home away from home while full satellite television is on hand in the comfy and relaxing lounge.
For guest activities please discuss these with our reception. We are able to provide bass fishing and powerboat rides at Wiggleswade dam. Hunting in season can be arranged. We are also able to arrange numerous other activities upon request.
Enjoy the balmy summer evenings by dining in the outer area alongside the swimming pool. Lavender Leisure Country House prides itself on the delectable and extensive menus whether A la Carte or Table d’Hote. Each dish is skilfully prepared with only the freshest of ingredients and garnished with herbs picked straight from their own garden.
Open to the public, the restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and evening meals at extremely competitive prices. Functions and special occasions can also be catered for on request.
A fully licensed restaurant and bar is open to both guests and the public.