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“An oasis of creativity in the Klein Karoo!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat

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Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat
Ptn 81 Vergelegen Road, Oudtshoorn 6100, South Africa   |  
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Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
86 reviews 86 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
94 helpful votes 94 helpful votes
“An oasis of creativity in the Klein Karoo!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2014 via mobile

The four seasons it isn't, but then if that's your style you wouldn't really appreciate this little gem of a place... And it deserves the One & Only name far more than the chain of that name..
Other reviews have said it all really- the views, the animals, the wacky table settings,the food...and Jann is a fount of knowledge about South African history, politics, and advertising ( he used to be a creative director in various ad agencies)
And a special mention about the breakfasts... The individual fruit platters ( more of a work of art then a plate of fruit) was both the most creative breakfast I have had anywhere in the world, and very healthy. And now that Jann has been introduced to Nutrific, the cereal course will be exceptional too. Just be aware that if you have the fruit and cereals, you will not have room for the mega cooked platter which follows!
Jann- please keep incorporating Nutrific into your table arrangements, or our spies will report back!!

Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
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jannharoldbader, Owner at Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, February 13, 2014
Thank you for a wonderful review !!
I should also thank you for introducing us to Nutrific wheat breakfast biscuits which we know as
weet-bix in South Africa. It is unfortunate that you chose tripadvisor to expose our use of this
amazing product to our competitors - hopefully they will not guess that it is now Nutrific giving us our edge and they will contine serving old fashioned corn flakes and muesli whilst we continue
to experiment with Nutrific - already we do Nutrific flambe, Nutrific casserole and my personal favourite, Nutrific stir fry.
I am hopeful that you will return here soon and by then we should be able to produce ONLY
nutrific based meals and drinks.
Thanks for the superb description of our breakfast fruit platter !!!
Jann
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257 people have reviewed this hotel

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
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  • Dutch first
  • English first
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English first
Nunukan Island, Maratua, Indonesia
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 7, 2014

In January we stayed unfortunately only for one night at the Zwartberg View.
We just arrived, Jann already jump inside his car and brought ice cold beer to our room.
The rooms has everything what is needed (maybe for me to many pillows) ;-)
The view from the room is just great and the walk in the late afternoon up to the mountain offers stunning views over the Klein Karoo.
When the meals get served then you feel like to be in a 127 star gault millau or michelin restaurant. It was just super yummy. As we are used to live on a small island much more remote than Jann can ever be, he was so impressed that he can't sleep because he was busy all night to tinker a new decoration for the breakfast table;-)
It was our first trip ever to South Africa, we will go back to this beautiful country one day and Jann, if we come back to SA then you can be sure, that we will sit more than just one evening together with your pig around the fire ;-)
In the meantime you can plan your trip to our island. If you feel the place is to small, then you can bring a hectare or 2 of your beautiful place and we will find a solution to attach ;-)

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jannharoldbader, Owner at Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, February 25, 2014
This is the second best review ever written - not of our lodge, but of all of the 950 million reviews on tripadvisor !
It could have been the very best, but the idea of trying to take some of our hectares and stick them to an island upset the judges a bit !!
Nontheless, when tripadvisor does make the announcement of the review of the year - you will have to leave the island one more time to walk down the red carpet in Hollywood to collect your
best supporting review of the year award !!!
Celeste will definitely win pig of the year !!!
Thanks, thanks thanks,

Jann
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Camarillo, California
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 6, 2014

My wife and I highly recommend the Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat for an "out-of-the-box" South African adventure. We will remember the grand Klein Karoo setting, along with the beautiful sunrises and sunsets, for a very long time. Also, Jann's hospitality and food was outstanding. And the animals at the retreat were always entertaining; especially his "pet" bush pig! Jen is truly a South African Doctor Doolittle! We enjoyed a very interesting and memorable stay at the Retreat. Wayne and Barbara

Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 5, 2014

Everything about zwartberg view mountain retreat exceeded expectations.

The chalets were comfy, well-equipped and extremely clean but still retained the character of the region. It was blissful sitting out on the deck and taking in the incredible unspoilt views to the sound of the crickets and birds.

Jann welcomed us on our arrival and showed us to our chalet. Throughout our stay he was charming, friendly and incredibly informative both in terms of the activities on offer locally and anything else we quizzed him on.

We wandered down to the main lodge for dinner in the evening and were met by Jann who had lit a fire on the deck. What we weren't expecting was to see eland, zebra, springboks and a bush pig (Celeste) tucking into their grub a couple of metres away from us. It was incredible to see.

After having a sundowner watching the animals, we sat down for dinner - the food was excellent. We started with ostrich kebab coated in sesame seeds with a tangy dipping sauce and then came a delicious sirloin steak cooked on the brai. The next night's food was just as brilliant. The other surprise was that Celeste stuck around to socialise for a couple of hours over dinner!!

The retreat is brilliantly located for all of the main attractions nearby - swartberg pass, ostrich farms, cango caves etc. we'd also recommend a visit to the meiringspoort waterfall...v serene.

Huge thanks again to both jann and amanda for a fantastic couple of days and for making our stay in oudtshoorn very memorable. We really would recommend this place unreservedly to anyone.

Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Texel
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2014

This is not a boutique hotel, but something completely different than the usual b&b, guesthouses and lodges in SA. Jann has build 3 „huts” in the middle of the little Karoo. Very cosy, clean and with all the accessories for a comfortable stay (coffee-tea facilities, fridge)
In the daytime you can go for a beautiful walk, hang out on your private terrace but when it’s too hot (it can be in summer) Oudtshoorn with the caves, ostriches,CP Nel museum etc.. is within easy reach or make a day trip to Prince Alfred through the Swartbergpas and Meiringspoort.
In the evening you walk to the lodge, get your drinks from the honesty bar and sit by the fire, talk with the other guests (from all over the world) watch the impala’s, kudu’s, zebra's and the bush pig potter about , watch the mountains turn red in the evening sun, gaze at the stars, while Jann is grilling the best meat and vegetables in the country, served with a tasty salad and followed by a yummy dessert. Breakfast is also great and.. with every meal the table-decoration is different (very creative and funny)
So if you’re into something off the beaten track you should go to Zwartberg Mountain View and stay at least two nights.! ehh Jann: baie dank for the great room service...

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jannharoldbader, Owner at Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, February 4, 2014
I don't respond to every review, not because I am ungrateful, or not thankful, but because when I read standard responses to ALL reviews they all sound a bit forced and calculated !!
Obviously I thank every reviewer profoundly for taking the time to review us, but most of all,
for really recognising the heart and soul of our place and understanding that staying here means
creating memories that will live on, and that our guests do understand tha whatever the measures might be by which they rate other places, ours will be different and people who
read them will know that staying with us will not be anything like anywhere else in the country !!
Thanks for the reviews - all of them, very, very deeply appreciated.
Jann, Celeste, Indiana and a couple of zebras.
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Spiez, Switzerland
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

Last time we visited this very special retreat with our friends and we had a wonderful stay with brilliant weather. In November 2013 we stayed in this "paradise" for 2 nights with our children. The hospitality of Jann and his staff made us really feel at home. The food again was outstanding and the interesting discussions with Jann added to the good feeling. Jann added even more comfort to his outside veranda and the decoration inside the dinging room is definitely an eye catcher.
Thank you very much for the hospitality, ambience and the good food.
We definitely visit this place again.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jannharoldbader, Owner at Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, February 4, 2014
Maybe the true measure of the quality of experience is whether or not people come back for more !!!....even better if on the return journeys, we haven't slipped or gone backwards, just got better !!
Thank you so much for making us part of another South African journey and of course for the magnificent photos.
Now there needs to be a third time !!!!
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Kusnacht, Switzerland
2 reviews
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

A month ago we stayed at Jann's retreat again, we had been there a year before, hence we knew about the spectacular starry skies, the quiet, and the enchanting landscape. We knew about Jann's and Manda's hospitality, his sharp and perceptive wit, and his humour, too.
This time we had even more the feeling that we lived in a sort of Garden of Eden: man and plants and animals in closeness and harmony, with the grown-up bush pig adding a special note.
We recommend this experience to every visitor of South Africa.
Gerhard and Lucia, Leah and Daliah from Switzerland.

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
jannharoldbader, Owner at Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat, responded to this review, February 4, 2014
Brilliantly put !!!
"A garden of Eden"... a bit drier and dustier than the garden one usually imagines, but nontheless
maybe true.
Maybe it is because of the peace and harmony that prevails here that the animals have no fear of
us and come within touching distance, even the local lizards, known for their timid nature just lie
in the sun and we must step over them. But the first time I ever saw this place- the red mountains, the deep valleys and the sheer peace and harmony I knew that one day somebody will write about, and now they have !!
Thanks for the review and thanks for returning - sheer proof that we are doing it right !
Jann, Amanda, Celeste, and some eland.
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Additional Information about Zwartberg View Mountain Retreat

Address: Ptn 81 Vergelegen Road, Oudtshoorn 6100, South Africa
Phone Number:
Location: South Africa > Western Cape > Oudtshoorn
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 35 Specialty lodging in Oudtshoorn
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Zwartberg View Mountain retreat is set in our own private nature reserve 15 minutes from Oudtshoorn and de Rust - our chalets are high up in the hills above a natural amphitheatre where wildlife abounds and the views are spectacular. Our dinners and breakfasts, included in our rate are internationally renowned, our furnishings and fittings very African and very unique. ... more   less 
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