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About

Die Ou Lady is a Victorian house built in the mid-18th century in the vicinity of the Church Square in the historic town of Calvinia. It has kept most of its original Victorian architecture, including the Victorian broekie lace that delicately decorates the veranda that stretches along the front of the house.
This charming Victorian-style guest house offers five comfortable, furnished rooms, two of which boast a beautiful view of the Hantam Mountains. Each room is separate from the main house, and has its own separate entrance, en-suite with shower, braai facilities and a fully equipped kitchenette. 
Choose between self-catering or bed and breakfast package options. Safe parking is provided on the premises for guests and visitors alike.

Conveniently situated on its premises is a beauty salon, coffee shop, a picnic / seating area in a serene, luscious garden and a safe play park for your children. Whilst being pampered at Salon Luzanne, or relaxing on the stoep while taking in the picturesque scenery of the Hantam Mountains, allow your mind, body and soul to experience the peace and tranquility of the heart of the Hantam, knowing that your children are safe and having heaps of fun in the children’s play park. Die Ou Lady is not only a haven for children but is also one of the few pet-friendly accommodation establishments in Calvinia.

If you happen to be passing through Calvinia and need a comfy, safe place to camp for the night the small camping area can accommodate a family or small group of friends.

Arrive as strangers, leave as friends

Die Ou Lady offers an all-in-one experience in the Great Karoo. Their motto is, “Our guests arrive as strangers, but leave as friends”. And their warm, country-style Karoo hospitality will do exactly that.
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About the owner

In February 2016 Lucia Ann Coetzee (née van der Westhuysen), the current owner of Die Ou Lady and granddaughter of legendary Dr. Kate van der Westhuysen (one of the first female doctors in South Africa), traded her career in the South African Police Force of 35 years to take ownership of the guest house and pursue a career in hospitality. 

Lucia Ann’s roots are deeply entrenched in the Hantam Karoo and she is well known and loved by all who know her. Her warmth and endearing nature is the epitome of country-style hospitality. Her passion lies in detail and this can be seen in the careful attention she gives to the finest details to every possible need of her guests as she strives to make their accommodation and stay as comfortable and unforgettable as possible.
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Our story

This charming heritage house was one of the first houses to be built in the vicinity of the Church Square when Calvinia was first founded in 1851. It was built on a water erf purchased by Richard Fryer in 1851.
Situated in the heart of the Hantam in a little historic town called Calvinia you will find Die Ou Lady guest house, a Victorian house once named Lorraine. The heritage house has kept most of its original Victorian architecture, including the Victorian broekie lace that delicately decorates the veranda that stretches all along the front of the house.

This charming heritage house was one of the first houses to be built in the vicinity of the Church Square when Calvinia was first founded in 1851. It was built on a water erf purchased by Richard Fryer in 1851. The first residents to take occupation of the house were the van Dijk family, who were the owners of the house at the time of the Anglo Boer War. When Calvinia was attacked by a raiding Orange Free State Boer commando, a shopkeeper named Mr. Jack van Dijk was arrested. In the ownership of the van Dijk family was a well-preserved warrant of arrest containing the names of several shopkeepers that Florrie Malon (nee van Dijk) later donated to the Calvinia Museum. Amongst the names of the shopkeepers was Abraham Esau, known as a Calvinia martyr in the Anglo Boer war. Abraham Esau was a coloured blacksmith who was loyal to the British to the very end. He gathered his trusted followers to defend the town against the raiding Boer commando, whom he was later brutally tortured and executed by in February 1901. In his honour and memory, the Calvinia hospital has been named after him and a monument was erected on Williston Road.

During the time of the Anglo Boer War the thatch of Die Ou Lady house was set alight, after which a few alterations were made. Most of this architecture has been preserved. The house was occupied by various owners after the van Dijk family, the previous owner being, Aunty Baby.

Lucia Ann Coetzee (née van der Westhuysen), the current owner of Die Ou Lady, traded her career in the South African Police Force of 35 years to enter a career in hospitality. In February 2016 Lucia Ann purchased the historic house from Aunty Baby and, due to its Victorian-style elegance, rich history and being one of the first houses to be built when Calvinia was first founded, she renamed her, “Die Ou Lady.” English translation: “The Old Lady.”

Lucia Ann and her daughter Luzanne made a few changes to Die Ou Lady and it now operates as a guest house containing five guest rooms, a coffee shop and beauty salon. The original wooden mahogany flooring was replaced with tiles, but they didn’t have the heart to allow the floor boards to go to waste. The original mahogany floor boards were carefully sanded down and thoroughly cleaned, and used to make beautiful furniture pieces. These works of art is the handiwork of John Vermeulen who also grew up in the town. He created these art pieces in his workshop which was located at the back of the guest house. Each guest room and the salon were furnished with his unique creations.

Calvinia is known as the land of sheep. The Great Karoo town has positioned itself as one of the largest South African producers of wool. It is famous for its unique tasting quality meat and is an exporter of the well-known brand of Karoo Lamb. It is situated in the Northern Province in the Karoo, about halfway between Upington and Cape Town, just south of the Hantam Mountains on the banks of the Oorlogskloof River (meaning: “war ravine”). It was originally named Hantam, which is a Khoi word meaning, “where the red bulbs grow”. Shortly after the arrival of the first minister the town was renamed to Calvinia on 30 October 1851 after the French Protestant reformer, John Calvin. It is situated in the centre of the Hantam, and is thus known as, “The heart of the Hantam”.

Calvinia’s architectural heritage has been well preserved and provides a window into the rich history of its past. Calvinia is 80% starlight making it an attraction for city dwellers and astronomers. It is renowned for its wildflowers that bloom and colour the landscape during flower season in spring. Calvinia offers a host of activities for the whole family to enjoy and, due to its rich history and the town’s architecture being so well preserved, there are various attractions well worth seeing.

Nearby attractions & things to do

Calvinia Museum

The Calvinia Museum is housed in the old Jewish Synagogue built in 1920. You will find items related to sheep farming and the lifestyle of the early European settlers exhibited in the Calvinia Museum. It also houses the Calvinia Tourism Office which arranges local walks and activities.

Calvinia NG Kerk

Die Ou Lady guest house is situated right opposite the Dutch Reformed Church / Calvinia NG Kerk, now a national monument. The neo-gothic style church was built in 1899, the second church to have been built in Calvinia.

Giant Post Box

It has been described as, “the mother of all post boxes” and became the hottest most photographed attraction in Calvinia. It was originally an old water tank that was converted into a post pox in 1995 and could very well be the biggest post box in the world.

Calvinia-Hantam flower route

The Calvinia region in the Hantam Karoo is famous for its flower season around September (depending on Mother Nature). The colourful flowers decorating the countryside is spectacular. Up to date maps will direct you to the best shows.

4x4 Routes

There are various 4x4 trails for the 4x4 enthusiast to take while exploring the beauty of the fascinating Karoo, some steeped in Anglo Boer history. During flower season in spring the landscape blossoms and fills with colour. View game, san paintings and more.

Hiking

If the Tankwa Camino is too long and demanding (a 10 day trek through the Karoo), Calvinia will notleave those who prefer to explore by foot disappointed. The heart of the Hantam offers various hiking trails, including through the two nearby nature reserves: Akkerdam Nature Reserve and Oorlogskloof Nature Reserve.
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