Florence Guest Farm
In the centre of the Lake District of Chrissiesmeer, high on the northern grass and wetlands of Mpumalanga, lies the beautiful farm FLORENCE GUEST FARM, with its sandstone guest house and farm buildings. Florence Guest Farm provides four star guest house and self catering accommodation on a lovely guest farm.
The Florence Guest Farm is a favourite stopover for guests arriving from Kwazulu Natal, the warmer Kruger National Park and Swaziland. In addition international guests often make us their first overnight stop on account of us being near to other interesting destinations, not forgetting the fact that we are only a three hour drive from the Oliver Tambo Airport.
We are very fortunate to be surrounded by good road infrastructure. Our farm is situated right next to the N17, from Ermelo to Oshoek border (Swaziland). However the Carolina to Chrissiesmeer road on the R33 - coming from the N4 has a few potholes for the first 10km thereafter the road s condition is fair.
The Steinbergs from 1989...
Nico and Ane started the farm on a shoestring in 1989. At that time the region was known for cattle, sheep, maize and dry bean production. For about 10 years Nico tried his hand at these activities, with marginal successes. He then started to look into the cultivated berry market and decided to do it the organic way both unheard of at that time in that area. It was not easy. The learning curve was steep and the school fees high. Nico comes from an industrial engineering background, is also a spotter pilot for the FFA during the bushfire season, but his first love remains organic farming.
The Steinberg family has three children Wilhelm (born in 1987), Helene (born in 1988) and Jana (born in 1990). The fourth child is Zellie, the Bouvier. Read more about them in the Newsletter Section.
Ane's background is that of a domestic science teacher. Being a very creative person, she comes up with new ideas every day. In 1990 An started to renovate the old sandstone farmhouse, without knowing that in 10 years time she would again make some changes to convert it into a guesthouse. She bought an old sandstone building (for R1 000!) in Chrissiesmeer . This was the ruins of the old Simmer and Jack shop on the Carolina Road. Heavily pregnant with her youngest child, she and the farm labourers took six weeks to take down the building and transport the sandstone blocks by tractor and trailer back to the farm.
With her children starting school, An just sold all the lambs from her feedlot and began to wonder what she was going to do next. Guest houses were becoming popular and she believed there is a future in tourism. It all began with lots of passion, enthusiasm and a bag of cement!
With the help of the Mpumalanga Tourism Association and Professor Leon Hugo of theDepartment of Eco-Tourism at the University of Pretoria she opened up her guest house in October 1997. Read more about each cottage and room in the Guest House Section.
In 1997 she started the Matotoland Eco-tourism Association in Chrissiesmeer. Read more about this dynamic association at www.chrissiesmeer.co.za. She inspired many people in Chrissiesmeer to start tourism driven businesses, and along with her own guest house, she won the Mpumalanga Business Woman of the Year Award in 1999.
They got an architect, Johan Jordaan to assist with the building plans. That was the best money they have ever spent. Since guesthouses were not popular at the time, they did not give it a thought. They just designed a beautiful big farmhouse for themselves and started building on a cash basis. Finding a stone mason when needed, also posed a challenge. It took five years to finish their undertaking, and only then did they move into the house, during December 1995.