The landscape is littered with a-seemingly random collection of sparse rock and vegetation, an almost deliberate installation, thoughtful placement, an endless expanse, too little material. Yet everything is precise: a slight disturbance of one stone changes the balance - one plant, raised on struggle, accidently disturbed undoes what forever took too achieve. For this place is an achievement. It is what life can be without mankind.
Here time is not historical. The sky is a song of stars. The wind is solitary, not lonely. Every space between the vegetation and deliberate stones is a path: at once trodden and unwalked. Everything is new and timeless. The light at dawn and dusk is the earth’s atmosphere visible, the colour of life itself. As the day expands the land hides, invisibility is survival. Only the looking will reveal the world, a standing still of time.
Quiet escapism in a location that is unsurpassed in Prince Albert.
The Olive House is quintessential Karoo: quiet escapism in a setting that is unsurpassed in Prince Albert. Views into the Swartberg and the distant Karoo form the living space which is surrounded by textured farmland only a five minute walk into town. A werf of green surrounds the lei-water-fed dam and swimming pool while beyond the werf wall indigenous Karoo-veld shrubs and grasses form the most natural of wild gardens into which three en-suite cottages disappear.
The Olive House, which is the second oldest building in Prince Albert, has been authentically restored by its owners to become a place of celebration. The Olive House is an occasion for occasions. Together with Dennehof next door, 13 suites could be booked for any celebration and the establishment is able to accommodate a seated lazy lunch or grand dinner for up to thirty guests. Should you require more, simply ask.
As an-occasion country-house, the Olive House has five en-suite rooms and a loft; two of these in the original Olive House and three in Karoo cottages, all beautifully and simply appointed. All the beds are clothed in fine cotton percale bedding. The loft has six single beds and a double bed, which is the perfect place of adventure for children. Foldout beds can be placed in the suites for younger children. The television room can be turned into another en-suite bedroom should your party be larger by simply shutting off an inter-leading door and drawing a curtain. The library in the Olive House can then be used as the television lounge.
The original suite pays homage to another time, a-forever discovery. The comfort of its king-size bed, the en-suite, with a bath and Swartberg-view shower, make for a magical stay. It leads onto the main stoep with access to the library, which has a wood-burning stove that warms the whole cottage.
This was the original kitchen of the old Olive House and the lintel that rested above the fireplace now rests above the en-suite door. The antique double bed has views down the land to the distant hills. Its quirky en-suite is a shower under the loft staircase. The Kitchen is accessed from the library kept warm in winter by a wood-burning stove.
This space had not been utilised for many years. The original features have been maintained to form a large loft that runs the length of the house ending in a safety-glass window staring into the Swartberg. This is a perfect hideaway for children, a sleep-out or camping inside. Alternatively it could be used as another bedroom as it has six single beds and a double bed.
The coziest of the cottages, Pepper Tree has a queen-size bed that looks out towards the Swartberg Pass, across natural Karoo veld and agricultural land. The en-suite shower window opens onto birdsong from the neighbouring dam.
THE WILD PEAR
A queen-size bed looks onto the Swartberg Pass and east towards faraway dreamy hills, each with a foreground of cultivated lands, pastures dotted with farm animals and wild Karoo veld. The en-suite has a bath and shower overhearing the birdsong-dam. This suite has space for extra foldout beds for children.
This is the distant-cottage you see everywhere in the Karoo but can never reach. A king-size bed stares endlessly over farmland to distant dusty hills through old steel-factory windows. An unsurpassed outdoor-stoep shower adds to the en-suite bath, with views into the Swartberg and across the lands. The most private quiet escape is the bench on this hideaway stoep.
The Olive House is managed by Ria Steyn of Dennehof. It is serviced daily. Guests are welcome to arrange breakfast (included in the rate) a day in advance at Dennehof.
A central evaporative-cooling system is in place in the living areas and the original Olive House bedrooms while two wood-burning stoves keep guests cozy in winter. All the cottages are air-conditioned and heated.
The property has an exposed dam and swimming pool and as such all children are the responsibility of their parents. We respectfully request that no children unable to swim or under five years old are allowed in either the dam or the pool.
The Olive House has free Wi-Fi and DSTV, is fully alarmed and all linen and towels are provided. Should you wish to cycle into town, bicycles are for hire from Dennehof next door.
As an Occasion Country House, the kitchen is fully equipped; a scullery with dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, ice machine and drinks fridge, a deep freezer as well as a large all-purpose fridge.
The galley kitchen has a large oven and gas hob with ample space to prepare happiness while staring into the distant views. There is a built-in external braai and a weber.
A quiet corner to disappear to is never far away: two long stoeps with lazy seating, the main lounge, a TV room with built-in daybeds, the library, the pool lounging. Or simply cross the road and walk up the koppie into the Karoo. Here you will look down over The Olive House and Prince Albert. Keep following the path and a gentle walk takes you to Robert Gordon Koppie overlooking the town from where you can amble back through the town.
Ria Steyn * 20 Christina de Wit Street, Prince Albert
* email@example.com * Tel: +27 23 5411227