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De Oude Huize Yard – Harrismith’s Hidden Bed & Breakfast Gem

A Travellers Guide to De Oude Huize Yard

De Oude Huize Yard has to be among South Africa’s hidden Guesthouse gems. So we decided to have a chat with Hennie & Sandra Cronje, who so lovingly tend to this rare establishment.

Our beautiful country really has so much to offer and discovering its people and places is such a rewarding experience. So next time you are planning a holiday or road trip, make sure it passes through Harrismith so you can visit De Oude Huize Yard.

 

Lifestyle Guide: Tell us a little bit about De Oude Huize Yard?

De Oude Huize Yard: 

“Trading the fast pace and bright lights of bustling city life of Pretoria, for life in the slow lane is not an easy decision to make. The road may be longer towards Harrismith, but after finding the gem, De Oude Huize Yard, we instantly knew that we prefer the scenic route.

“The road may be longer towards Harrismith, but after finding the gem, De Oude Huize Yard, we instantly knew that we prefer the scenic route.”

We have made it our lives’ passion to turn the De Oude Huize Yard into a rustic and breathtaking masterpiece. Being a creative family we have been privileged to have the opportunity to put our God-given talents to work.

The historic house was built in 1860 by James Edwards. A house with 40 centimetres thick sun-baked sod walls and foundations made of sandstone. Wooden floors, doors and doorframes were harvested in the nearby forest. The sandstone was quarried from Staffordshire Hill. The sandstone wing was rebuilt on the footprints of the old stables.

We were mesmerised by its charm and it became our pride and joy in October 2000. We named it De Oude Huize Yard as this is a perfect reflection of what it is – a place frozen in time that takes pride in its Olde Worlde feel.

Some of this charm lies in the “drumpel”, or threshold that is so well-worn, one wonders who has trod over it to find love, peace and happiness. Some lie in the way the exterior walls present a deceptive façade but what is hidden behind its doors, is a different world.

The landscaped gardens, with the scenic views over Platberg Mountain, is idyllic. It is situated in Harrismith, Eastern Free State, central South Africa.”

 

Lifestyle Guide: What is De Oude Huize’s most defining quality, what will visitors notice first?

De Oude Huize Yard: 

Old fashioned hospitality in an establishment that will make your stay unforgettable.”

 

Lifestyle Guide: What can visitors to De Oude Huize expect?

De Oude Huize Yard:

A secluded and peaceful establishment with history displayed and recorded that makes it a place with a difference and prompting happy memories of days gone by.

 The four guest rooms are huge and feature high ceilings and each one has its own unique style, decorated with a flavour of yesteryear. All rooms are en suite and feature fireplaces to keep you warm. The handmade quilts on the beds add extra charm.

Enjoy mouth-watering meals cooked by owner and chef, Sandra, sip delicious wines by host and maitre d’ Hennie. If you would like to learn more about the history of the town – spoil yourselves with a historical tour in a vintage Chevy.

All indoor areas and rooms at the establishment are non-smoking.”

 

We named it De Oude Huize Yard as this is a perfect reflection of what it is – a place frozen in time that takes pride in its Olde Worlde feel.

 

Lifestyle Guide: Does De Oude Huize have any notable historic significance or stories?

De Oude Huize Yard:

“We have learned the names and people for whom our doorbell has rung in the past. 

In 1849 the town was proclaimed. The stands measured by Robb Moffat went on auction.

On 8 June 1859, Stand 77 was bought by James Edwards.

Mr Edwards and his family reside at Allisonswish about 15km from town. He built a Dorpshuize where the family would stay over during the visit to town for shopping, attending church and some schooling for the children.

On 23 July 1861 the property was transferred to Joseph de Kock under Deed 3413. During this transaction, Edwards grant a power of attorney to Meynard Cornelis Johannes Herenga Moll – the first principal of the school in town. Mr Daniel J Cloete was the Magistrate. Interesting to know was that De Kock would follow up Cloete as the magistrate.

In 1863 the next door stand was purchased from the Government of Oranjevrystaat colonie. Some interesting facts about the owners of the property include Gerhard de Haas (Blacksmith), George Vergottini Bornman (Attorney-at-Law), Leendert Benardus De Villiers, Sameul Herbert Sharratt (farming at Lincoln), Frederick Adriaan Truscott (Taxi Driver), Ralph Morton, George Henry Goodes, Adam Johannes Emminnis, Ian Dyer Family Trust (Ian bought the property from the estate of Mr Emminnis during a campaign to gain votes for the position of Mayor.

Hennie & Sandra Cronje bought the property from Ian Dyer on 24 October 2000.”

Lifestyle Guide: How long have you been running De Oude Huize?

De Oude Huize Yard:

“The doors opened for guests in September 2009.”

 

Lifestyle Guide: What makes you passionate about De Oude Huize?

De Oude Huize Yard:

“We strive to provide a unique and beyond-the-ordinary experience that will leave our guests feeling welcomed, refreshed and filled with and exciting experience.”

 

Lifestyle Guide: Has De Oude Huize won any awards? If so how did that make you feel?

De Oude Huize Yard:

  • Sanlam Top Destination Award 2015 Bed and breakfast
  • Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012

“Very rewarding but humbled by the experience.”

 

Lifestyle Guide: Is there anything else you would like to mention?

De Oude Huize Yard:

“Historic tours in a vintage 1948 Chevy through town.”

 

For bookings or more information visit: www.deoudehuize.co.za | Facebook | Twitter

Location: Harrismith, Eastern Free State


All images courtesy of De Oude Huize Yard.

Lifestyle Guide