Welcome to The Rest Farm in the Karoo, South Africa

Deep in the Sneeuberg mountains of the Karoo you can find a refuge from sound/light/air pollution, a place of deep rest.

The Rest farm can be found deep in the Sneeuberg mountains of the Karoo. At the top of the water catchment you will find a refuge from sound/light/air pollution. Taking a break from the endless buzz of information, cars and deadlines, you can find a place of deep rest.

Our vision is to create a space where visitors are able to reconnect with themselves by feeling the earth under their feet and regaining perspective on what is important. This is a place where silence and laughter are found in equal measure.

Here you will find a workshop space made from the earth and filled with light and love. You are invited to join one of the Reconnect series of dramatherapy workshops that take place throughout the year. We also welcome facilitators whose work resonates with our own to offer workshops in this inspiring space.

We offer accommodation for weary travellers. This is a perfect place for families to go on adventures together and also have enough space for themselves. Couples will love the opportunity to spend time together without the distractions of the city. Solo travellers will enjoy the chance to bask in the silence with the option of joining the activities on the farm when they tire of their own company.

Visitors are able to participate in farm activities, go on long mountain hikes, mountain biking, bird watching and star gazing.

We also welcome volunteers who would like to stay a little longer and exchange their skills and energy for board and lodging.

Paula Kingwill

I had the amazing privilege of completing my masters in Drama Therapy in California Institute of Integral Studies in 2000. I have been lucky enough to work as a dramatherapist in and around South Africa ever since.

I was a founding member and director of the Bonfire Theatre Company until 2010. I have had the opportunity to gain experience working in a range of settings from addiction and eating disorders to community mental health.

In 2010 I made the big move back to my family farm in the Karoo and took on the challenge of learning how to farm cattle and care for the land. It took us a year to build the Space which was completed in September 2015 (minutes before the start of Reconnect: Purpose!).

Now that the building is complete it has enabled the realization of a life-long dream: to ignite and share the healing power of the land I live on using the training and experience that I have gathered along the way.

Some other things that I do:

I am a mother of two feisty and fabulous children who have taught me some of my most valuable lessons.

I am involved with a number of local community development projects in Nieu Bethesda and Graaff-Reinet.

I continue work with Zakheni Arts Therapy Foundation doing training and have helped develop some of their materials.

I worked on a project with Sarah Penny in Kenya and the UK (yes with two small children!). “Together we


Refuse” is a project that uses dramatherapy and creative writing techniques to open up dialogue about the possibility of refusing female genital mutilation.

I am quite proud of the two documentary films I made on the subject of Dramatherapy:
Tending the Saplings: Dramatherapy in South Africa (2005) and We don’t Fly Kites Here (2010). And that I managed to get a chapter published: “There is a hole in my bucket” appears in Applied Drama/Theatre as Social Intervention in Conflict and Post-Conflict Contexts, Editor(s): Hazel Barnes, Marié-Heleen Coetzee

About Us

The Kingwill family has been farming in the area for four generations. Our connection to the land runs deep in our veins.

Iain and Paula returned to the farm from Cape Town in 2010 to support Paula’s parents, Robert and Phillida Kingwill, with the cattle farming and have been working on The Rest farm since then.

Paula is a dramatherapist and learner farmer who has been dreaming of accessing the powerful healing potential of this land for all her life and is carefully tending the vision as it becomes reality.

Iain keeps his eye on the detail as he ensures that all things keep running, from the water to the vehicles to the accounts, fixing leaks and building fences.

Their children, Callum and Kyla teach their parents new things every day.

Robert and Phillida have lived for 40 years
on The Rest, surviving drought and flood, wool
boom and recession. Robert has carried on the
legacy of his father, Roland Kingwill, whose work
on veld conservation had a profound impact
on the way that farmers understand their
responsibility towards the land.

We are supported on the farm by Cedric Minaar, who has worked with us most of his adult life.  He is an excellent stockman and really cares about the cattle.  Richard Harrington joined us in 2013 and brings a wealth of experience in all areas to the work. His skills have been critical to completing work on the space. His partner, Marina supports us with looking after the children. Ranga and Nyeri joined our team from Zimbabwe and have brought skill and care to their work.

Click on a workshop date below for more information.


The completed space with its sprung wooden floors, huge windows, reciprocal roof topped with a skylight, set back in a grove of trees has an amazing effect on the visitor. It is both welcoming and calming. Two smaller rooms built in the same style join the space providing a kitchen and bathroom . Paula’s vision and Iain’s skill and hard work turned this dream into a reality. The couple, together with a team of local and international workers and volunteers, have spent a year (in between running their cattle farm and raising two small children) building this space almost entirely from materials found on the farm, The Rest. The adobe bricks are made from the perfect combination of gravel, sand, mud, cow manure and sprinkling of straw; the awesome reciprocal roof from local poplars, the veranda poles from bluegum trees and the stones were carried in from all around the farm.

Natural building expert, Neil Smith got us started and gave us the techniques and skills that we needed to go on. Iain North held the process together from beginning to end. He built the reciprocal roof from a 5 minute video he watched in the internet! He built the doors and floor from scratch and continues to solve the problems that arise. He is supported by the very skilled member of staff, Richard Harrington and we were lucky to have Justin Malgas, the grandson of Koos Malgas of the Owl House, help us with plastering. This is a space made with love and long dreamed of and was completed in September 2015 after a year of solid building. The venue can be rented for workshops, events and accommodation.

 

 

 

 

We experience the seasons acutely up in the mountains. Snow is not uncommon in winter and summer floods create dramatic patterns in the landscape. The spring is celebrated with beautiful veld flowers and the fruit trees are their best as they display their blossoms. While we rarely experience the searing heat of the lowlands, hot summer days are enjoyed in the river sheltered by the poplar grove. Autumns are dramatic, as the forest turns from green to red, gold and orange.

Homemade bread, farmstyle meals, grassfed Karoochoice meat and eggs (when available) can be purchased on the farm (bread and meals need time to make). We are one hour away from the nearest grocery shop so you need to bring everything else!

We have two rustic, family sized, self catering cottages available on the farm. Individuals may also choose a homestay in a room in our family home. In the summer months, camping is a fun and good value option.

 

The Shepherd’s cottage

The Shepherd’s cottage is beautifully situated with a magnificent view of Alwynkop and Compasberg. You are right at the heart of the active farm and can see us going about the business of running the farm. This cottage has a fully equipped kitchen, an open plan lounge/dining room, one room with a double bed, one with two single beds and a third that fits just one bed from which you can watch the sunrise. The bathroom has a flush toilet, shower and bath and there is a compost toilet outside for a fresh and ecologically friendly alternative. There is a small braai area with a view of the setting sun. In the summer a large peach tree gives shade and the thick walls of the old building keep things cool. In the winter a wonderful bosca fireplace heats the whole house and makes the icy winters an adventure rather than an agony. The cottage is clean and simple and on the rustic side. This is a great getaway for a couple who need space and time together. It’s perfect for a family who loves the outdoors and need to reconnect to one another.

R550 per night. We recommend a minimum of a two night stay. GETTING THERE BOOK NOW

 

The Garden House

The Garden House is nestled in the trees near to the main house. Step out of the door and walk up the mountain! The house is lovely and cool in summer and kept cosy and warm by the old stove in winter. It has double bed in one room, and two sets of bunk beds that are curtained off for privacy. There is also a single bed in the lounge for big groups. There is a small, well equipped kitchen and lounge in the main room. The bathroom has a shower and a toilet. There is also a hot shower outside and compost toilets near to the house so no one has to wait! This is perfect for a couple or a family. Its also great for solo travellers who want the option of space on their own or joining the family for meals.

R500 per night. We recommend a minimum of a two night stay. GETTING THERE BOOK NOW

 

  • Your house is supplied with wood but if you need more we will ask for a donation to cover that.
  • Eggs, free range beef/ venison are for sale (do check in advance to see what is available at the time of your visit). We supply a fresh bread on your arrival, you can order more if you like it.
  • Cooked meals are available if ordered well ahead of time (enquire about prices and whats on the menu when you order).
  • Housekeeping (including washing dishes and light cleaning) is available at R100 per day or R50 just for dishes.

CAMPING

Camping is a good budget option in summer (or winter if you are both extremely tough and well equipped). Campers have access to the equipped kitchen, shower warmed by a solar geyser and toilet at the Space as well as two extra compost toilets. There is a fireplace to braai.

R150 for a two man tent. We can accommodate three tents at a time. GETTING THERE BOOK NOW

ACTIVITIES

Would you like a sunrise mountain walk? Or to spend the day herding cattle deep in the mountains? Perhaps a hike across the landscape to the neighbouring farm? Or a chance to camp in the forest.

Talk to us about the kind of holiday you would like. If you simply want to rest at The Rest, you will find the best place to unwind is right here. If you are looking for an adventure or the a chance to get closer to nature we can organise a hike or a camping trip. If you want to know more about farming or want to introduce your children to farm life in an active way, we can organise experiences to meet this need. If you want to get an insight into local culture, we can point you in the right direction.

Check the workshop page to find out more about upcoming workshops. Future workshop will include a family focus, couples work and teenage coming of age experience.

Contact us to find out more and to create a package to suit your holiday.

Visitors can also participate in farm activities such as herding cattle, mountain climbing, caring for the horses.

There are cross country hikes and mountain biking opportunities. Eland, kudu, hartebeest and blesbuck range on the farm. Zebra, wildebeest and springbuck among others live in the neighbourhood.

Families with young children will love watching their children play in the stream, getting close to animals and understanding the cycle of life in this safe environment free from traffic and crowds. With sufficient advance notice limited childcare can be made available.

The farm is 25 minutes from Nieu Bethesda, a quaint artists village most famous for the Owl House. It is an hour’s drive from Graaff-Reinet, South Africa’s fourth oldest town and soon to be home of the Giant Flag.

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Highlands Sanctuary Trust

The Highlands Sanctuary Trust also forms part of the farming operation. It is accessible only by 4×4 vehicle and visitors are able to have a true wildnerness experience. Contact us for more information about camping and hiking trails. Watch this space for upcoming retreats.

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Karoochoice Grassfed Non-Feedlot Beef

Through our cattle operation we produce non-feedlot, grassfed beef, farmed ethically and prioritising veld conservation. Karoochoice meat is authentically grassfed – which means they eat grass and bushes, nothing else! (We don’t feed them grains or sugar or any other odd combinations of feeds that prioritise weight gain over the health of the animal). The cattle are treated with respect and have a good life. We are at the top of the water catchment so our cows drink the best water money can buy.

The distance to the abbatoir is relatively short and the slaughter process is very humane.

Our cattle are a Tuli/Angus cross. We like Tuli because it is an indigenous breed (from Zimbabwe) is naturally tick resistant and is good at climbing mountains (of which we have many) we like Angus because its famous for good beef.

Our meat is for sale on the farm. We also do deliveries to other parts of the country (like Grahamstown, Cape Town and Joburg) when we are going there ourselves. Like us on Facebook and find out when we are coming to you.   Find out more on by liking our page on Facebook or send enquiries or orders to karoochoice@gmail.com

 

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Volunteer on the Farm

Workaway with us!  We welcome volunteers from around the world to have a taste of life on a Karoo farm. The alternative to a relaxing Karoo holiday is to come behind the scenes and discover all the things that go into keeping a farm like this going.  Each day brings a new challenge and new opportunity to solve a problem.  Everyone will learn something new.

These are some of the things you could do:

  • Help us with ongoing building projects on the farm
  • Help with veld restoration and slowing erosion
  • Help us with farm maintenance and cattle work
  • Assist with the meals and accommodation for workshop guests
  • Help us in our home and with our children

Skills and experience are preferred. A good attitude is essential.
You can find us on workaway.info

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