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‘The Barn’ on the N1
‘The Barn’ with its unique rural American architecture is a landmark in the area and is next to the N1, more or less halfway between Kroonstad and Ventersburg.
On the N1 highway between Kroonstad and Ventersburg.
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A Boer and his Barn.
There are good reasons why Johan and Aljo Schutte named their guesthouse The Barn. Firstly, it is a converted barn, secondly, it is a real, genu-wine American red roof barn. Yessir, this ain’t your average shed, this is the real deal. “The previous owner built the barn, and in 2009 we decided to renovate it and turn it into The Barn Guesthouse,” says Johan “Farming is tough, and this provides an additional income”.
The Barn with its unique rural American architecture is a landmark in the area and is next to the N1, more or less halfway between Kroonstad and Ventersburg. Johan farms cattle, sheep and soybeans. Aljo runs the guesthouse, offering 8 stylish 4-star rooms to travellers. “At this stage we have 80% occupancy” says Johan “People regard The Barn as a safer option than in town. We have electric fences, cameras and access is controlled electronically”.
Aljo hosts regular guest who commute between the coast and the Witwatersrand. “There are guys who transport motorcycles who sleep over twice a week,” says Johan “and we’re also a halfway stop for people from the Western Cape on their way to or from the Kruger Park.”
Guests can relax in the well-tended garden or enjoy the rich birdlife at the serene farm dam. “We also laid out a hiking trail for those with excess energy”, says Johan. Although The Barn is close to the N1 it is a quiet haven. “It’s a typical working farmyard,” laughs Johan.
The guesthouse offers self-catering accommodation, or guests may offer braai packs in advance, or Aljo will cook a hearty farm meal for those who are too tired after a long day on the road.
“Although I knew nothing about Electric Vehicles, I wasn’t surprised when Joubert Roux stopped in one day and asked if we wanted to be part of his network of EV charging stations,” says Johan. “We are ideally situated adjacent to the largest national road, and we have a beautiful u-bend on and off-ramp, which provides quick and safe access.”
Johan has been trying for years to set up a petrol station on the site, but the red tape has discouraged him. “Politics” he sighs, explaining everything. But he is positive once more, “We are planning a two-hectare solar farm. Hopefully we can get going by September 2022”.
In addition to the charging station, Johan and Aljo are also planning to build a farmstall – another enticement for EV travellers to stop at The Barn. Friends and family are excited by the developments, though some of them believe it’s not going to happen overnight. But Johan is a farmer, he knows there is a time for everything, and that patience is a virtue. “Four or five years are not as long as it sounds. Think how quickly smartphones have become part of our lives,” he says with a chuckle
“It’s a pleasure and privilege to be part of this giant step into the future”.
Sage words from a Boer in his Barn.