Prynnsberg Manor, Free State
Did you know?
The last of the Newberry lineage, Trevor Newberry, died in 1993, at age 49, without a will.
The ghost of Elizabeth Newberry is delighted tonight. Her beloved Victorian-era Prynnsberg Manor in the Free State is alive with guests, gardeners, cooks and flowers.
Everything is just as it was when she lived here 130 years ago.
Standing at the base of the flight of stairs leading up to the billiard room, Elizabeth, looking as regal as ever in black velvet and diamonds, smiles approvingly at the laughter and tinkle of crystal.
Standing alongside her, looking equally stylish, are Rick and Sue Melvill, the current owners of Prynnsberg.
Co-directors of a Johannesburg-based communications company and the originators of Melvill and Moon safari luggage, they have restored and recreated Prynnsberg – renowned as one of Africa’s legendary homes – into a dramatic, romantic retreat in the golden grasslands of the Free State near the towns of Clocolan and Ficksburg.
Prynnsberg was built in 1881 by Englishman Charles Newberry, who made his money in South Africa from diamonds. His vision was to create an English country estate in Africa, in the shadow of the Maluti Mountains.
And so, together with his bride, Elizabeth, he built the sandstone manor house with 39 rooms and 14 chimneys.
Prynnsberg Manor House and the Gamekeeper’s Lodge have both been tastefully restored by the Melvills, and can be booked on a self-catering basis, or for classic country weekends complete with themed dinners, clay-pigeon shoots, high teas, a visit to a cave where San people once sheltered and appetite-rousing walks.
Time spent here is a combination of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Alice in Wonderland. It’s a time capsule; it’s amazing.
Travel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Prynnsberg owners Rick and Sue Melvill
Sue: +27 (0)82 441 9143
How to get here
Prynnsberg is about 370km from Johannesburg. You can either take the highway or the byways – see directions on the listed Prynnsberg website.
Best time to visit
All year round; in winter the many fireplaces will keep you warm.
Around the area
Ficksburg, close by, has several attractions. Consult the listed website.
It's best to drive yourself to Prynnsberg.
What will it cost
Aran the Aran Gamekeeper's Lodge, which sleeps four, is available for R450 pp self-catering for the entire lodge per night; R550 B&B and R825 DBB.
Length of stay
Stay for a minimum of two nights.
What to pack
Walking shoes, camera, clothing for warm and cold conditions, as well as casual and formal clothing, canvases, writer's notebooks.
Where to stay
Stay at either the Prynnsberg Manor House or Aran the Gamekeeper's Lodge, both on the Prynnsberg Estate.
What to eat
Prynnsberg is available on a B&B, self-catering and fully catered-for basis. If you are catering for yourself, purchase your specialities before you drive down, and purchase the rest at the nearby towns of Clocolan or Ficksburg.
Prynnsberg holds writers', artists', chefs' and photographic workshops on request.