A few weekends ago, I broke free from the confines of urban Joburg (my new home again, albeit temporarily) to the verdant hills and valleys of the Magoebaskloof. Far from the corporate rush, I stayed at a fruit farm hidden off one of the dirt tracks. The place is called Kuhestan Organic Farm, and was our base for a weekend of relaxation and the outdoors.
The name Kuhestan is Persian and reflects the roots of host Shahrzad, who together with her local born husband, Brett, escaped city life to tend to their small fruit farm. It’s small enough to amble through without getting lost in a maze, which is exactly what I did. Avocados bulged off branch tips like Christmas tree decorations. In between rows of lush green avocados trees, hedges of raspberry patches broke the pattern. Plump raspberries, in various stages of ripeness dangled off the vines. And standing guard beyond the fruit orchards, a forest of tall pines.
The Magoebaskloof forests surround the farm. Outside the cottages, beautifully manicured gardens seem to merge into a forest of indigenous trees. Besides the birds that make it home, often a troop of Samango monkeys can be heard swinging in the branches. But they are a shy bunch and prefer the dense canopies of shade. The gardens at Kuhestan are not only a respite for the birds and Samangos, but for us too – there’s something relaxing about it.
But it wasn’t just all relaxation – there are some walking trails in the forests close to Kuhestan which we sampled. Pine, eucalyptus and a beautiful indigenous forest provide the perfect setting (read about it in my next blog).
Back at Kuhestan, one of the best parts of the comfortable cottages was the view from the kitchen, overlooking the gardens and the forest beyond. Large wooden doors opened up the kichen and brought the outside closer. Relaxing on the stoep, we tucked into the loaf of freshly baked bread as well as the jams provided by Shahrzad. The jams are made on site, and after a long friendly chat with the hosts I got to learn more about their farm and produce (and travels). They make delicious cordials too (which if keeping to Persian traditions, should be made with lots of crushed ice as a sharbat), and yummy fruit sauces that go well with ice cream.
Shahrzad and Brett were genuinely warm and welcoming and have a beautiful, relaxing farm to offer. My only regret is not staying long enough. And not being able to join Shahrzad for her Persian cooking class.
About the farm:
- Kuhestan Organic Farm is in the Magoebaskloof (Limpopo) and is under 400km from Johannesburg. Take the N1 to Polokwane (300km), and then the R71 towards Tzaneen for roughly 80km. Turn left onto the Houtbosdorp Gravel. Kuhestan Organic Farm is 2km further.
- The farm has a few self catering cottages, and is equipped with everything you’d need for a weekend trip (including some complimentary farm fresh products). But bring your food and groceries – there are no shops close by.
- There is limited cellphone reception on the property.
- There are no TVs (but you wouldn’t need one in any case).
- A high clearance vehicle is recommended if you want to explore the dirt roads in the Magoebaskloof.
- Make sure you buy a cordial or fruit sauce or two – it’s worth it.
- Read more about the Magoebaskloof on my next blog post.