Piet Retief Guest House – Our Story From This Wonderful Accommodation called “From Dusk To Dawn”

Imagine stepping off the beaten path, far from touristic hot spots, and into a place where time seems to slow down, where the beauty of South Africa gently cradles you after a long drive from the Barberton Mountains or Kruger Park. This isn’t just about finding accommodation and a place to rest; it’s about an experience that begins the moment you set foot into ‘From Dusk to Dawn’, a guest house that’s more like a warm embrace right there at Piet Retief.

If you want to find a hidden gem on your journey through South Africa, then ‘From Dusk to Dawn’ might just be the intrigue you’re seeking. Let me tell you about my experiences with this wonderful guesthouse at Piet Retief guest house and give it a little personal review!

But first: where is this accommodation In Piet Retief located?

Let’s start with the most important thing, where the heck is Piet Retief, did you ever hear about this little place?

Well, I had been to South Africa before, but only found this town because we were looking for a stopover between the Barberton mountains and Pongola game reserve. (yes I know, it is an unusual route, but we visited Kruger Park another time).

Through, we found this guesthouse that was just right for us as a stopover, so as to not drive too many kms, but still see more of that region of the country. (you can also check it out on Tripadvisor )

So Piet Retief, officially known as eMkhondo, is situated in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa, located within the Gert Sibande District.

The town’s economy is heavily reliant on the forestry industry, with numerous sawmills and processing plants present, as we noticed while driving through the area. (trees, trees, trees, and trees 🙂 )

Here’s a breakdown of its location and distances to nearby points:


  • Eswatini Border: Approximately 20 kilometers (12 miles) east.
  • Kruger National Park: Roughly 250 kilometers (155 miles) north-east.
  • Barberton Mountains: Around 170 kilometers (105 miles) south-east.
  • Pongola Game Reserve: Nearly 130 kilometers (80 miles) south-east.

These distances were ideal for us, slow-traveling tourists for a month in South Africa haha.

Just make sure though to stay on the main roads, unless of course you are into an adventure and have a 4w drive ahahaa! (for us, this was part of the adventure).

National Parks and Game Reserves nearby:

While Piet Retief itself doesn’t have a national park within its vicinity, several notable options are located within driving distance:

  • Mbombela Nature Reserve: Around 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest.
  • Songimvelo Nature Reserve: Approximately 180 kilometers (112 miles) south.
  • Mdumdzegama Game Reserve: Roughly 90 kilometers (56 miles) south-east, bordering Pongola Game Reserve.

While Piet Retief and the guesthouse called “From Dusk to Dawn” was a stopover for us, we wished we planned more than a night, I am sure we would have enjoyed that!

View deals on Tripadvisor

An Ibis flying at our stopover in Piet Retief:

Nestled in Nature: My Experiences at a Piet Retief Farm Guest House called “From Dusk To Dawn”

Pulling away from the rugged beauty of the Barberton Mountains, while we were on a tour through South Africa in 2023, our journey brought us to ‘From Dusk to Dawn’, a gem of a guest house that’s well worth talking about. Set amid the rolling hills of Piet Retief, this place presented an inviting stopover on our way to the adventures awaiting at Pongola Game Reserve.


If you ask my opinion, it is definitely worth 5 stars! (yes, my honest opinion, because I will write about other accommodations that I will give fewer stars, rest assured 😉 )

5 stars

Upon arrival, a sense of calm washed over me. The warm, personal welcome we received from Gudrun the owner, set the tone for what was to be an intimate connection with this charming retreat, as we learned that the family of German origin, on the still-working farm, had been doing this for 5 generations back.

Whether it was the charming garden that greeted me, the farm animals around, or the delightful aroma of home-cooked meals that filled the air, every detail at ‘From Dusk to Dawn’ felt purposefully placed to assure comfort and ease.

And we immediately set out to visit the amazing garden. Watch the hubby acting silly over a sign that says: “Ducks crossing! ” 🙂

This farm guest house (a still working cattle farm!), boasted unique features that added to its allure. As I mentioned before, the guest house is located at a still-working cattle farm, has an English garden you can stroll around in or just sit comfortably to have some birdwatching, and even some old peculiar and old Beetle cars to admire 🙂

A perfect closure of the day if you got stressed from driving the South African roads! 😉

I was, and my husband too lol, a bit overwhelmed by the comforting cocoon of luxury with crisp linens and terras overlooking a serene landscape – a stark contrast to the rugged terrains we had traversed earlier. For that price and for “just a stopover”, wow! I felt like a queen with her king and in Europe, we are not used to such kind of luxury for that price, believe me!

I should have filmed it horizontally instead of as in the video below, as the video doesn’t do it justice, to be honest 🙂

Now, this guest house has a self-catering, fully equipped kitchen, there were 2 bedrooms (you can only see one of them in the video, the other bed was as big and as comfortable upstairs, and even 2 bathrooms. For 2 persons!

Don’t worry though, if you don’t feel like cooking, they have locally cooked food (dinner or lunch) ready for you in the main house in the fridge, you just need to put it in the microwave and enjoy a delicious meal, including a dessert or just eat a healthy salad or curry if you want to!

So while there isn’t an actual ‘diner restaurant’ at this farm guesthouse, the breakfast is totally overwhelming, just like almost always in South Africa!

While you can have a full English breakfast, you could just as easily have a continental breakfast, the choice is totally yours. We even had our own Belgian flag on our breakfast table 🙂

My only “complaint” is that in South Africa, the breakfast is just way too large for me haha! I even had this lady saying to me that I “don’t eat enough”, but that’s for another story 🙂

View deals on Tripadvisor

Now, of course, let’s talk about prices!

I don’t know about you and where you live, but here in Europe, if you stay overnight in a complete house (the cottage option), all for yourself, with 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms and a fully equipped kitchen and with a terras, Wifi, a TV, a sitting room with a gorgeous view at the outdoors, ànd an outdoor pool (in summer), we would pay a lot more then we did over there in Piet Retief, which was about 100€ only, for 2 persons.

A large guesthouse for just the 2 of us!

And if you don’t choose the cottage house, but a double room with a king-size bed or a room with 2 separate beds, the price is even lower, at the moment about 72€.

But remind you, that prices do vary along the season and along the number of persons included. Breakfast is not included, but at the moment it is 6€ only, and it is totally worth it!

Find out about current prices here on

Find out about current prices here on Tripadvisor.

On both sites, you can find other reviews of the place and most of them are very positive, as you will notice!

Also notice, that there are no actual hotels in Piet Retief, but guest houses and lodges only.

Exploring Local Splendors: Around Piet Retief

The stillness of the morning, with the first light kissing the nearby hills, was the perfect invitation to venture out. The guest house is strategically situated for travelers – not only to break the journey but also to discover local gems.

Well, talk about stillness, you do need to consider that with the first morning light, there could be a few noisy birds waking you up at this retreat! 🙂 NONO, to the owners of the guesthouse: PLEASE don’t SHOOT them, because we said that they can be noisy in the morning, OEF! lol

  • But also, we could just sit there by the water and enjoy some birdwatching, without even having to leave the farm, because there was plenty of water around, with beautiful lilies.

Want to find the best binoculars for a safari? Check out my blog post here!

  • Needless to mention maybe, that you can have some terrific hikes around the area, taking along a dog or two from the farm to “protect” you 😉

Guests also often take the opportunity to visit other nearby points of interest.

  • Visit Paulpietersburg, a mere 45 km from the guest house, which offers therapeutic hot springs and a historical charm.

  • For wildlife enthusiasts, Mkuze Game Reserve is 126 km away, providing an authentic safari experience.

  • Moreover, the fascinating country of Swaziland is about a 30-minute drive, promising a cultural excursion that’s hard to pass up. (remember that we tried to drive into Swaziland from the Barberton mountains side? It might be a better idea to cross the border from this side hahaha!).
    You need an entry visa to cross the border though.

These attractions make the Piet Retief guest house an excellent base for cultural, historical, and natural exploration.

What is the weather like in Piet Retief?

Piet Retief enjoys a warm temperate climate with distinct seasonal variations. Here’s a breakdown of the average temperatures throughout the year:

  • Yearly Average: 22.66°C (72.79°F) – slightly warmer than the South African national average.
  • Hottest Month: February with an average of 19.5°C (67.0°F).
  • Coldest Month: July with an average of 11.0°C (51.9°F).

Here is a resource for further reference:

Is there something to be aware of while staying in Piet Retief? Roadblocks!

We didn’t encounter any issues at all while staying as a tourist in Piet Retief, but I want to mention one incident though while driving to Piet Retief, and it was scary!

This was the first and last time this ever happened on our 4 weeks-trip in South Africa, and this was an actual roadblock on the road from the Barberton mountains to Piet Retief.

If you would ever see this while traveling in South Africa, my best advice is to drive around the blocks, and never ever STOP, or get out of your car and CLOSE DOWN your car! So DO NOT STOP!

Farewell to a Home Away from Home- my conclusion.

Choose ‘From Dusk to Dawn’ for more than just a night’s stay; choose it for a story you’ll want to tell again and again. Until next time maybe, little guest house at Piet Retief, who knows I’ll cross your threshold again and add another page to our shared journey!

If you have any more questions about this topic, please feel free to ask them down below in the comment section or join me on my social media for more pictures, videos and stories of my travels to Africa!

I wish you happy travels!

Kind regards,


I now have a YouTube channel as well!


4 thoughts on “Piet Retief Guest House – Our Story From This Wonderful Accommodation called “From Dusk To Dawn””

  1. What a delightful read! It seems like you had quite the adventure at ‘From Dusk to Dawn’ in Piet Retief. The personal touch from Gudrun and the serene surroundings sound absolutely enchanting.  And with such reasonable prices for the accommodation, it sounds like a steal! If you could extend your stay, what would be the first thing you’d explore further in the area?

    • Hi Jason!

      Thank you for the compliments! It was really enchanting indeed, exactly the surroundings you would expect to see from the African Savannah:-)

      If we went again, which might just happen next year, we would definitely go on a longer hike, because this time, we didn’t really have the time for this on our month tour in South Africa!

      I wish you happy travels!


  2. Hi Lizzy.

    Thank you so much for taking us on a journey with you!  I have never been to Africa and am thoroughly enjoying your articles!  This guest house is one that I would stay at myself.  What stunning views from such a beautiful property.  The information you provided regarding things to do a short-ish drive away was excellent.  One could definitely use this guesthouse as a home base for a quite a while to go explore those nearby areas.  The videos you provided along with some photographs really helped me feel like I had stayed there already.

    The road in Swaziland was a bit rough – lol, as evidenced by one of your videos.  I also very much appreciate the warning of the roadblocks over there, and what to do should one be encountered.  If I am able to visit South Africa someday, that is very helpful knowledge!

    It is clear of your love for South Africa and I am looking forward to continue the exploration through your eyes.


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