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.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

De Zeekoe Farm Accommodation
Paula Potgieter
Tel: +27 (0)44 272 6721
Fax: +27 (0)44 272 8534
Cell: +27 (0)82 584 9957 or +27 (0)82 551 3019

How to get here

Oudtshoorn is about 60km north of George, where you’ll find the closest airport. From Oudtshoorn, take the Cape Town road westwards. Less than 15 minutes' drive away is the turn-off towards Mossel Bay. Take this road and within a few kilometres, you’ll see a sign to the right where you enter De Zeekoe. The property is very well signposted.

Around the area

Oudtshoorn is the ostrich farming capital of South Africa. It’s well worth a trip into town to see the CP Nel Museum and sample some of the local cafes and restaurants. Although Oudtshoorn is in the Karoo, you can be on the beach within an hour or two if you like.

Tours to do

Devey Glinister’s Meerkat Adventure tours are open to anyone, but people staying at De Zeekoe get a good discount.

What will it cost

Accommodation is priced between R590 per person to R950 per person sharing.

Meerkat tours cost R450, or R550 if you’re not staying at De Zeekoe.

Length of stay

It’s best to stay at least two nights, especially if you’re wanting to see the meerkats. Tours are cancelled on rainy days.

What to eat

There is a restaurant at De Zeekoe, where you can have breakfasts, light lunches on request and a la carte dinners. Almost all vegetables are grown on the farm, and the meats are free range. The restaurant features produce from the region, including ostrich, pomegranates, olives and figs. They also offer picnic baskets.

What's happening

Every March, nearby Oudtshoorn hosts the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, a celebration of Afrikaans art, song and drama.

Related articles