Mount Melsetter has been a working Karoo farm, since 1877, and continues to be so today, farming sheep, cattle and game. Candy Ferrar runs the guesthouse and garden, as well as the catering for all trails and other guest business. She also runs the trails that take place from the farm. Mount Melsetter is a gracious country home in the heart of the Great Karoo. It is elegantly yet comfortably furnished with a fireside lounge, TV Lounge, the Saddlebum Pub and adjoining sunroom with a warm wood burner, a 14 seater dining room, a quiet Library, and comfortable porches.
It lies under the gaze of Mount Melsetter itself, a 5000 feet high landmark looming large over the surrounding plains, due east of Middelburg. It sprawls in rolling lawns on the banks of the Great Brak River, surrounded by trees, gardens, a pool and gazebo, clay tennis court and Croquet Lawn. The Karoo has a rich heritage – palaeontological, historical, technical, architectural, floral and faunal. Melsetter’s eclectic Library is a rich source of information on this history, and Mike and Candy Ferrar are knowledgeable too.
“Few people have the good fortune to be born in a desert. I was. All my life I have been conscious of my luck. Not, indeed, that we of the Karoo often think of our land as desert. It is the travellers who have crossed our plateau for two hundred years, and our visitors of today, who have called it this- and still do.
They are right – or almost so! And like other deserts and semi-deserts of the world, ours is a country of life. We have only to walk or ride into the veld to know this and be caught up in its pattern: the squat, fat, angled plants; the hunting spiders that flicker between them; the ground squirrels upright beside their burrows; the vultures; the pale wild gladioli; the cobras; the scorpions; the mantis coloured like a flower; the black beetles rolling balls of dung; the koringkrieks lurching on immense and crooked legs. Here moves a steenbok, a duiker, a springbuck, a lark clapping its wings above us; here are the tracks of an ant-bear in the soil; red dust and a mottled egg upon it; arrowheads; the smell of rain, Karoo bush, wild asparagus, mountains and hills floating in a mirage of water, a white hot sky, the sound of cicadas and wings and wind.
This home of my childhood lies towards the southern tip of Africa, on the eastern fringe of a vast plateau, the Great Karoo. It is in the heart of the plains with mountains rising steeply to the north, and like a far blue rim to the east and west.”
Extract from THE PLAINS OF CAMDEBOO, The Classic book of the Karoo by Eve Palmer.
Published by Jonathan Ball Publishers, Johannesburg.