Accommodation in Philippolis - Groenhuis Guesthouse, Philippolis, Free State

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Groenhuis Guesthouse
Guest House, B&B and Self Catering Accommodation  
Philippolis, Free State, South Africa  

Accommodation Overview  

- Carmen Nieuhaus, You/Huisgenoot (7 July 2005)

"In Philippolis in the southern Free State you can switch off completely and forget about rush-hour traffic and deadlines. The tree-lined dirt roads, simple Karoo-style cottages and pomegranate and quince trees heavy with fruit take you back to childhood pleasures, grandma's roast lamb and thick soup served in enamel bowls.
Former school principal Jens Friis and wife Naómi, a domestic science teacher, taught at the local school for years. They owned a few properties on the edge of town which stood empty for years. But after retiring they called in the help of their sons Jens and Nico and renovated the cottages, converting them into guest-houses.
``We wanted to retain the stripped, bare look that's in keeping with the simplicity of the Karoo and took great care not to introduce Victorian influences for instance,'' Jens says. ``The look works well with old-fashioned as well as modern pieces.
''The wooden ceilings and fl oors exude a cosy warmth and in her home restaurant Naómi lovingly prepares authentic, old-fashioned farm food."

Accommodation Images  


Property Details  

Accommodation & Facilities
Nestled on the edge of the town, it reminds one often of a farm. On surrounding erven are the springbokkies of Mr. George de Vos, the horses of Mr. Johan Lamprechts, the succulent garden of the Funcks, and Café Khooa – where one can take a horse-and-carriage tour. Diverse birdlife with owls in the cypress-trees. This is all besides some peacocks, the cows of Tiekie Pienaar and a footpath that leads to an old ammunitions storage house.

The team behind the guesthouses: Jens and Naómi Friis with their sons Nico, a graphic designer in London, and Jens, a journalist, travel writer and computer lecturer. They live two houses down the street from the old stable.

Enjoy a hearty breakfast or take a picnic and explore local scenic spots. Return for sundowners on the stoep. Delicious dinners served by arrangement.

Worth knowing:
- En suite rooms with private entrances.
- Equipped with fans, electric blankets, heaters, tea/coffee tray.
- Self catering is possible.
- Restaurant nearby (licensed).
- Private entrances.
- Pets allowed by arrangement.
- Children welcome.
- We can accommodate up to 20 guests - ideal for family reunions, small weddings and weekend breakaways.
- Easily accessible from the N1.
- English, Dutch & Afrikaans spoken.

Outdoor Facilities 
Back in 1972, the residents of Philippolis had a sad time. Until then, cars on the highway between Cape Town and Johannesburg passed through their town. But overnight the taps were turned off as the N1 was rerouted via the Gariep dam and Springfontein, only a short yet telling distance away. The economy of the town crumbled, and the five petrol stations of those days became the one of today.

In the long run, Philippolis has seen a positive side to this rerouting of the national road - serious crime is very rare, property prices have remained largely affordable and national monuments have remained protected and cared for. Philippolis, the oldest settlement in the Free State, has the most national monuments in the province after Bloemfontein and Bethlehem.

The photogenic Waterkloof settlement (on the road to Colesberg) could possibly have been a second Nieu-Bethesda, had it been saved 20 years earlier. It is now the local Ghost Town. 

Additional Information  

Sporting & Leisure Activities  
There's plenty to do in the surrounds. The Gariep- and Vanderkloof dams are the two biggest in South Africa, and the Orange River, which flows between these two, offers outstanding fishing opportunities.

Good for fishing, but not fly-fishing:
"WHEN the people of Philippolis encounter strangers with strange ideas, particularly ideas stuffed with the rhetoric of bonanza, they mutter something about yet another of those winds that blow in and then blow away. At this time of the year in the southern Free State, the west wind plucks tears from your eyes.
A fly angler might hear a lot of muttering at the inn, should he be asking questions about the fishing on the Orange River. The hunters gathered at the bar getting ready for a night shoot are sceptical about fly-fishing, but they are as generous with information and advice as they are vehement in their refusal to allow a stranger to pay for a drink.
They put me onto their best water (a small fall where largemouth and smallmouth yellows like to hover at the inlet and outlet) and urged me to fish, but with the assurance that I would not catch a thing on the fly. Too cold, they said, too much wind, not enough wind. The river would be too high and the fish too deep, the water too wet.
It was just another one of those winds that blow in and then blow away."
- Neels Blom, Business Day

Cultural & Historical interest   
A Culinary Karoo Fest

It has often been remarked that people of South Africa do not show their own culture enough, and opt for serving more “western” food such as pizza or fish-and-chips.

The Groenhuis Restaurant aims to offer the best of Karoo food – proudly.

A farm breakfast can consist of Kudu sausage, liver, fig jam on homemade bread, and slices of springbok biltong. Summer is the time of figs, prickly pears and pomegranates. Steaming coffee is served with fresh milk and rusks.

A friend, well satisfied, once stood up and proclaimed: “Here, one does not eat only to quell the hunger!”

Note - Booking is essential as each meal is uniquely prepared for guests.

Accommodation Rates

These prices are quoted Per person per night
Period From     To
Peak season R130.00
Off-peak season R120.00

Special rates for children under 12 years old.

Discount for senior citizens.

Contact & Booking Information Accommodation - Groenhuis Guesthouse, Philippolis, Free State
For further information and to book this property, contact Jens Friis.
Telephone: +27 (0)51 7730073
Fax: n/a
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