Choose your country and language:
CClose to Oudtshoorn you’ll find an ethically run farmstay that boasts rustic accommodation as well as luxury. The most compelling attraction, though, is the famous habituated meerkats. Go and watch them wake up one morning.
If you’re looking for a responsible tourism rural destination near the Garden Route, Fair Trade Tourism has certified De Zeekoe near Oudtshoorn.
De Zeekoe is a 2 000ha 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 or 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 3 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 5, 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 6 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.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
De Zeekoe Accommodation
Tel: +27 (0)44 272 6721
Cell: +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.
Things to do
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 2 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 ranges between R700 per person to R2500 per person sharing.
Meerkat tours cost around R550.
Length of stay
It’s best to stay at least 2 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.
Every March, nearby Oudtshoorn hosts the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, a celebration of Afrikaans art, song and drama.