Close to Oudtshoorn you’ll find a farmstay that boasts rustic accommodation as well as luxury, that is ethically run and where you'll see plenty of birdlife. The most compelling attraction, though, is the famous habituated meerkats. Go and watch them wake up one morning.

Did you know?

The habituated meerkats at De Zeekoe are by no means tame; they are just no longer alarmed by humans.

If you’re looking for a responsible tourism rural destination near the Garden Route, Fair Trade Tourism has certified De Zeekoe Farm Accommodation near Oudtshoorn.

De Zeekoe is a 2 000-hectare farm in the Little Karoo with various accommodation options, from luxury and fully catered accommodation to self-catering wooden lakeside cabins.

There are many attractions here, but the one you’ll likely love best is the visit to De Zeekoe’s habituated meerkats. Devey Glinister takes you out in the very early morning to watch these charismatic suricates emerging from their burrows at dawn.

You could also go for a massage or beauty treatment, go for a long walk in the veld, and watch birds – there are 162 recorded species here, most of them visible around the lake.

There are three biomes on the farm: Nama Karoo, fynbos (renosterveld and mountain fynbos) and spekboom thicket. This in turn leads to a high animal biodiversity. If you have very keen eyes, you might spot the Shy Five, all of which occur on the farm. They are the meerkat, aardvark, aardwolf, porcupine and bat-eared fox.

Bolder animals include grysbok antelope, otters, monkeys and tortoises.

De Zeekoe (pronounced ‘da zeekoy') refers to hippos, which occurred here historically.

The farm is conveniently situated a short distance outside Oudtshoorn, on the Mossel Bay road. In fact, De Zeekoe also has coastal accommodation in its portfolio, a large house at Little Brak, close to Mossel Bay, which is only an hour’s drive away. With six bedrooms, the Beach House is perfect if you have a large group of people.

De Zeekoe was certified by Fair Trade Tourism for its good working conditions, fair wages, ethical business practices and respect for the environment. Twenty families live on De Zeekoe, and are variously employed in farming and tourism. There is also a school for more than 200 children, that has been running since 1938.

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