About Murrayfield Guest House
Visiting Nieu Bethesda and the Owl House? Enrich your experience with a stay at Murrayfield Guest House, owned by the author of the "The Owl House" (Penguin Books), Anne Graaff (formerly Emslie). Murrayfield Guest House is a characterful and gracious village home built in the 1850's, and set in a country garden with barn, dam and orchard.
A stunning example of a Victorian farmhouse, Murrayfield features a lovely front veranda ideal for sunsets and star gazing, high ceilings with fans for the heat of summer, a fireplace for cosy winter evenings, an old fashioned full length bath for a good soak after a country walk, a large stoep overlooking the garden for your breakfast, and of course a large brick braai for your Karoo lamb and boerewors.
Murrayfield Guest House is artistically and entertainingly furnished with a mixture of old and new and is equipped with heaters, electric blankets, bed linen, towels, tea and coffee.
There are three units that can be rented separately or together:
The Main House:
The main house has four bedrooms, two bathrooms, kitchen, dining room and sitting room and can accommodate up to ten guests.
The cottage has one bedroom, bathroom, kitchenette and sitting room and can accommodate two guests (one double bed).
The loft is an open-plan sleeping and living area with a one double and two single beds. There is one bathroom off the stoep.
The accommodation is self-catering. Breakfast and dinner can be arranged upon request. Domestic help can also be arranged. The house is suitable for couples, for families or for large groups. It is ideal for workshops and retreats. The barn, currently being renovated, will provide an ideal studio / workshop / conference space starting in 2008.
Keys to Murrayfield are collected at the Village Inn which is open right through the day for meals, refreshments and information about all that is going on in Nieu Bethesda and its history.
ATTRACTIONS & ACTIVITIES
Nieu Bethesda is a pretty and authentic Karoo village situated in a beautiful valley in the Eastern Cape, about an hour's drive from the town of Graaff Reinet. It was founded in the mid nineteenth century and the village has many wonderful country homes which exemplify the Victorian architecture of this period.
The village provides a wonderful venue for a Karoo holiday. There are good walks (Compassberg, the highest free standing peak in the Eastern Cape at 2502m), a great variety of bird life for the bird-watching enthusiast, an artistic and relaxed atmosphere for those who want to unwind and enjoy the creativity and tranquillity of the place, and lots of choice from where to eat and what to do.
And of course the village is famous for being the home of outsider artist Helen Martins who created the Owl House. A visit to the Owl House is almost obligatory for visitors to Nieu Bethesda. The Owl House inspired the well-known writer, Athol Fugard to write the play (now also a film), The Road to Mecca. Nieu Bethesda also has a fascinating fossil museum and the valley is rich in pre-mammalian fossils, older than the dinosaurs; visitors can sign up for a tour of the fossil wealth of the area.
Then there is the opportunity to visit a nearby farm and view the San rock art, the pre-mammalian fossil beds, wool shed, and Boer War engravings. Jacob's Donkey Cart Tours provides an excursion around the village with an entertaining commentary,and a visit to Sneeuberg Trading to meet the local brewer and cheese maker and sample his excellent produce is another treat.
Graaff-Reinet is a centre of Karoo culture and history featuring National Monuments, and several significant museums and art galleries, including the Pierneef Exhibition. Also nearby are the Valley of Desolation in the Camdeboo National Park and the scenic Mountain Zebra National Park which protects one of the world's rarest land mammals.