Picture the beauty and peacefulness of waking up to the soothing sounds of farm animals, breathing in the fresh country air, and watching the sunrise from behind a hill or mountaintop. It’s been a long year and if you desperately need a break, farm escapes are definitely worth a try.
If this sounds like your kind of December holiday, you might want to get started planning your next or first farm escape.
Contrary to popular belief, there is much to see and experience in Mzansi’s rural and farming areas for holidaymakers.
Seeking meaningful experiences?
According to Jacqui Taylor, founder of Agritourism South Africa and Agritourism Africa, agritourism is not about reaching a destination but more about enjoying the rural countryside, its communities, and its local towns.
“Agritourism broadly incorporates unique tourist activities on a working farm that are linked to the farm’s activities and attractions. These activities can include harvesting crops, using agricultural implements, and tasting and buying farm produce,” she says.
“It is seen as a means to escape the unhealthy life in urban areas with its associated stresses.”
Raw rural beauty
Taylor highlights that the unique experiences a farm holiday can offer compared to a normal holiday are authenticity, natural surroundings, and a cheaper option than a commercialised tourism offering. You might even meet the farmer.
“Day visits to working farms, such as wine tours, are also included as a form of agritourism. Farm tours, from an educational perspective, highlight the rich flora, fauna, cultural environments and wildlife found on a farm, a unique attraction for urban dwellers.”
Five places to visit
For those eager for a transformative holiday experience, Taylor suggests a few farm escapes or farming holiday destinations in South Africa.
- Trails End in Elgin is the first agritourism bicycle “hotel” in Africa, providing numerous opportunities for local and international mountain bikers to cycle on farms in the Elgin Valley, known for its deciduous fruit and wine farms.
- Another experience popular with locals and international tourists is Copperleigh Trout Farm in KwaZulu-Natal, which specialises in ‘catch and release’ farm fishing in their several dams.
- Papkuilsfontein Farm in the Northern Cape is unique in so many ways, from spectacular waterfalls to historical buildings to the most popular wildflower farm up the West Coast.
- Heart of Abalone in Hermanus in the Western Cape is a community-driven commercial farm to educate visitors on the farming of abalone.
- Elandskloof Trout Farm in Mpumalanga is a 1500-hectare trout and game farm. You can enjoy walking, running, cycling, or a horseback ride among the 800 head of game on this pristine farm. More than 200 birds have been recorded on this farm with sightings of pufftails, fish eagles, and the long-wing Nightjar. Blue Crane, Mahem, and Wattle Craneare annual visitors and have bred successfully on Elandskloof.
For more farm escape experiences, visit the Agritourism website and choose properties best suited to you.
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