Hotel Review: Kambro Cottage, Graaff-Reinet, Eastern Cape
Paul Ash has a favourite pitstop any time he heads down the N9: this little boutique hotel with all the best Karoo touches
On a relatively quiet street a few blocks west of Graaff-Reinet's main street.
Kambro Cottage is a classic flat-roof Karoo-style house, with gleaming whitewashed walls accentuated by wooden shutters and doors painted a beguiling shade of forest-green. The rooms are vast, cool retreats with high ceilings made of dark hardwoods. It's like a little boutique hotel with all the best Karoo touches. I like the place so much, it has become my go-to any time I head down the N9.
Two huge, en-suite cottages with vast beds, and an open-plan living room. Each room sleeps two in a huge double bed and also has a small kitchenette with a microwave and the usual coffee- and tea-making apparatus.
HOW'S THE GRUB
With enough notice, your genial host Greg Kappers will provide a simple breakfast, but Kambro is really a self-catering affair.
You are, however, in a town with no shortage of excellent restaurants, cafés and coffee shops. My old favourite is The Coldstream, named for the officers of the 2nd Battalion Coldstream Guards, who were stationed here from 1900-1902 and made use of the attached club. Along with the sort of food that made the Karoo and Platteland famous (this is sheep country, after all), it also has a pukka pizza oven and a fine wine cellar.
The Graaff-Reinet Club is also worth a stop for a drink in the bar. Don't miss the magnificent model of one of the Garratt steam engines that once worked the nearby steep railway pass over the Lootsberg.
The De Camdeboo Restaurant at the refurbished Drostdy Hotel is unknown territory to me but it gets rave reviews.
Graaff-Reinet is well established on the local tourist trail and international visitor numbers are climbing. People are drawn by the architecture and history and by the nearby Valley of Desolation in the Camdeboo National Park.
New in town is ReCollection Rides, a museum with a fine collection of classic and vintage vehicles. And don't miss the Giant Flag project in which millions of desert plants are being planted in an area the size of 66 soccer pitches (visible from space) alongside a four-megawatt solar field. The plants will offset 200 tons of carbon a year.
R395 per person per night.