Every guest has a favourite abode for their Oakhurst stay. The Forge for its historic charm and great setting, The Farm Cottages for their proximity to the forest trails, not to mention the family friendly vibe, or maybe the Africamps tents for that added touch of adventure. But what about The Schoolyard? It’s hard to believe that just a few years ago, this old building was nothing more than the remains of the original farm school. So, let’s delve a little deeper into what makes The Schoolyard the box to tick when booking your joint Oakhurst adventure for a few families or a bunch of friends.
The original farm school at Oakhurst dates back to 1870’s, around about the same time as the All Saints Church was built on the farm. This little building still stands today and forms part of the Oakhurst Farm Shop. Fast forward 70 years or so, when the farm kids of Oakhurst needed more space, and a new school was built in the early 1950’s. This is our schoolyard, a building which served the community right up until 2011, when the Western Cape Education Dept moved all pupils to the newly established school at nearby Touwsranten.
Lesson one: make a plan
Once the school had been decommissioned, the building stood empty for a few years, but its central location and proximity to the other Oakhurst accommodation, not to mention those soothing, rural views certainly tweaked our imagination. With a bit of vision and a lot of hard work, this little building had the potential to become a great getaway for future Oakhurst guests.
Apart from retaining the original metal framed school windows (yip, those ones you used to open with a long pole and hook when you were at school), as well as the character-packed wooden floors, today there’s not much else that hints at its colourful past. But without doubt, if the walls of The Schoolyard could talk, they’d have some great stories to tell of the pupils and teachers who once used these classrooms to learn their ABC’s.
Today the building is made up of three self-catering units, aptly named after the three Crowther girls (all school children at the time of the renovation). Landon’s loft, Holly’s Hangout and Anna’s Apartment each sleep up to five guests. The units have one double bedroom, plus a second bedroom with a single bed and bunk beds. There’s a single bathroom in each with loo and shower.
Each unit has a fully-equipped kitchen which is open plan to a comfortable and spacious lounge with a fireplace for winter. The lounges open out onto private patios with outdoor seating, dining table and a braai area. The furnishing and decor are a mix of classic charm combined with a modern dashes of colour.
Break time: the playground
The large flat lawned area which stretches out in front of the building and has spectacular views towards the Outeniqua Mountains, is a great spot for kids to play. Much like in days gone by, this is where the social vibe of a stay in The Schoolyard can be a load of fun.
While you’ve got your own space to retreat to, the lawn is where you can kick back with your travel partners, fellow guests or where kids can have a great time with newly-made friends.
Another plus is that the Schoolyard is centrally located, meaning kids can walk or ride bikes to the farm shop, swimming pool (enclosed), pump track and basket ball court.
Bring the whole gang
If you’re a few families or a group of friends wanting some time at Oakhurst together, The schoolyard is your spot. Two of the units have inter-leading doors, which can be unlocked to make up one larger unit. Combined groups continue to make good use of this setup, which creates a sense of privacy when needed, but a laid-back social vibe during braai and meal times.
Wait, it gets better
Now you can soak away in a hot tub while the braai’s on the go! Bet you never got to do that at school? We’ve recently added wood-fired hot tubs to each of the three Schoolyard units. These tubs are great entertainment during the winter and summer months and have proved so popular, that we’ve added them to all Oakhurst accommodation.
Bell’s ringing…time to go!
Whether its just a few of you or you’re heading to Oakhurst with the whole gang, The Schoolyard makes for a super-social stay. From enjoying a cup of coffee alone on your patio, to popping around the corner to say hi to the cuzzies next door. There’s one thing for certain, you’d go a long way to find a school that’s this cool!