Last week I stayed at two lovely getaway spots within an hour (give or take) of Joburg: Farmhouse@58 in the the Cradle of Humankind and the Donkey Dairy in Magaliesburg. It felt incredible to get out of the city after two months of no traveling. The pandemic makes me forget how essential it is to recharge my batteries in nature every once in a while, and I couldn’t have chosen two better (or more different) places to do this. I’m blogging about the Farmhouse today and the Donkey Dairy is coming next week.

Cradle of Humankind
Golden-hour view of the Cradle of Humankind in the hills above the Farmhouse.

I visited Farmhouse@58 as part of a media visit with Curious Locals, an initiative from Curiocity Africa. The Farmhouse is part of the same project as Nirox, a sculpture park/events venue/artists’ residency that has become infinitely more trendy and cool since I blogged about it more than ten years ago. The Farmhouse is also extremely trendy and cool, in a very enjoyable and relaxing way.

Room at the Farmhouse
My room at the Farmhouse, designed in a style called wabi-sabi.
In keeping with the modern sculpture theme at Nirox, which is across the road, there are several interesting works of art on the Farmhouse grounds. This striking sculpture, made with discarded shoes, is by Zimbabwean artist Tawanda Takura.
Dining space at the Farmhouse
The current dining space at the Farmhouse, which is lovely and all outdoors. (There are is larger restaurant currently under construction behind this one.)

The Farmhouse is part of a much larger, holistic project called project58, which includes the development of a working farm, a farm-to-table restaurant, various community initiatives, art projects, and more. I was only there for one evening and the project is still unfolding, so I won’t try to explain everything that’s going on. But there’s a lot more information on the Farmhouse website.

During our 18-hour stay at the Farmhouse, my media colleagues and I managed to take a sunset hike through the ancient hills of the Cradle of Humankind, eat a delicious, three-course dinner and hearty breakfast, learn about breathwork at the base of a whooshing waterfall, and sleep to the sound of chirping frogs in the pond beside our rooms. I think every one of us left feeling rejuvenated.

Here are my favorite photos.

Hike behind the Farmhouse
Our first activity was a hike (probably about five kilometers) up the hill behind the Farmhouse with Lesego from Epic Hikes.
Hiking at golden hour
The golden light during this hike was like a literal balm on my soul.
Lesego from Epic Hikes shows us the sculpture at the top of the hill
Lesego leads us toward our destination: a rammed earth sculpture by Moroccan artist Amine El Gotaibi.
Sculpture and shadows
I love this sculpture. It’s made of earth so it’s designed to slowly disintegrate, as everything on earth eventually does. Apparently it’s already changed quite a lot since it was constructed a couple of years ago.
Sunset in the Cradle of Humankind
Sunset in the Cradle of Humankind.
Breakfast at the Farmhouse
A tasty breakfast bowl at the Farmhouse: Spicy Mexican beans topped with a fried egg, guacamole, salsa, and cheese. We also had a great dinner the night before, but I was so insanely hungry that I forgot to even think about taking photos. (I’ve also totally forgotten how to act like a travel blogger.) Dinner was fantastic though: I had creamy carrot soup, ricotta cheese gnocchi with rich tomato sauce that melted in my mouth, and a generous bowl of warm apple crumble. Most of the food on the Farmhouse menu is sourced from surrounding farms.
Breathwork by the waterfall
The next morning we walked with Simon from Breathwork Africa to a nearby waterfall, where we took a breathwork lesson. I love the idea of breathwork: It’s like meditation but with less pressure to clear your mind (which I find really difficult). It was especially nice to just sit and breathe next to this waterfall. I’m in the background of this photo — thanks Jared, a.k.a. @jaredincpt, for taking it.
Lauren and Jared at the waterfall
Lauren and Jared, the crazy Capetonians, trying to pretend they’re not freezing their asses off under the waterfall. (It was quite cold the night before.) I’m grateful for their craziness though, as it brought me this picture.
Heather under the rocks
One more photo of me, courtesy of Jared.

I really enjoyed my day at the Farmhouse and would love to go back for a longer stay. It’s a perfect pandemic getaway spot.

Stay tuned for the Donkey Dairy, which I’m insanely excited to tell you about, next week.

My stay at the Farmhouse was courtesy of Curiocity Africa. Opinions expressed are mine.

%d bloggers like this: