Stand outside the grey-and-white limewashed building that is Hantam Huis in Calvinia, Karoo, and it’s as if you’ve dropped through a wormhole into the 1850s. Except for that plaque that declares it a National Monument. That wouldn’t have been there 160 years ago when it was first built. Don’t hurry past; stop and explore like we did.
They also have a sense of humour, which becomes apparent when you wander around the interior – an eccentric but entirely appealing combination of working restaurant, museum and curio shop littered with memorabilia and oddities.
These are the sort of things you’ll share space with as you order coffee or breakfast. Or you could sit outside among the cobblestones, pot plants, herbs and watering cans that dot the small courtyard. Whichever you choose, you can be sure your experience will be out of the ordinary.
You’ll get authentic restoration and period pieces to trick your senses into believing you’ve stepped into a previous century. No wonder the Coetzees snatched the Cape Times Centenary Medal for outstanding achievement in preserving Cape buildings in 1993. When you need the bathroom, however, you’ll be thrilled to discover that you’re still very much in the 21st century.
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