The Old Jail Guest House & Art Gallery in the peaceful Karoo farming town of Willowmore, Eastern Cape offers a unique accommodation experience for tourists, business travelers and sports enthusiasts alike.
Flanked by the spectacular Baviaanskloof and Swartberg mountain ranges, this striking 1880s building is on the edge of the town and is one of the finest examples of Victorian architecture in the area.
Now lovingly restored and renovated, the building is surrounded by attractive landscaped gardens. Although oozing character and retaining many original features, it has now been given a new and less intimidating lease of life as a welcoming B&B with self-catering accommodation and an art gallery.
Registered by the Government in 1895, the building is built of stone, the walls being half a metre thick with plaster quions (corners) on the windows, doors and wall corners. Old Gaol, as it was then called, comprised a hospital cell, hard labour cells, awaiting trial cells, a female cell and kitchen cell.
It ceased to operate as a prison and police station around 1960 and was sold to private owners. It has changed hands several times in the past 40 years and remained uninhabited for almost 12 years until its present owners took possession and began transforming it into a boutique guest establishment.
The cells and exercise areas have been cleverly converted into three elegant, air conditioned rooms with modern amenities, high quality period finishes and private courtyards.
We can serve dinner by pre arrangement and are fully licensed so wine and beer can also be purchased from our wine cellar.
Whether you’re looking for an overnight stay along the N9 highway or a few day’s hiking, cycling, golfing, small game hunting or relaxing in peaceful, unspoiled surroundings, The Old Jail is a place you won’t want to escape from in a hurry.
Hot in summer
Cold in winter
21 days prior to arrival forfeit 100% of the deposit
Cancellation from 21 days onwards forfeit 50% of the deposit
All rooms are fully air conditioned with high ceilings in the main building, original features, quality bed linen, brass bathroom fittings, original artworks and tea/coffee making facilities. Hospital room, awaiting trial and female cell have a private courtyard with sun loungers and parasols.
Donkey Room is our budget room with 2 single beds and one fold out sleeper bed for a child. This room is situated in our Old Stables. As with all our rooms this room has tea and coffee making facilities full DSTV programs, air conditioning and its private en suite shower and toilet facility. 100 % Egyptian cotton sheeting and duvets covers and top quality mattress make sleeping at our Old Jail in each and every room a very relaxing experience. Breakfast included.
Once used exclusively for female inmates, this is a characterful double room with its private bath/shower room (with unique stone bath) and separate toilet just a few steps away across its secluded, lawned courtyard. Breakfast included.
Originally housing sick inmates, the suite offers a spacious bedroom featuring a king size bed, original Victorian fireplace and antique wardrobe, plus an elegant en suite bathroom with claw foot bath, separate shower, toilet and underfloor heating in winter. Breakfast included.
Please enquire about our self catering unit in our Old Stables. This is a child friendly family unit which is self catering and can sleep 4 with a pull-out sleeper couch. It has a large barbeque area, fully equipped for the private use of this suite. Breakfast included.
As the name suggests, this was the cell used for prisoners awaiting trial. It now features twin beds and also has a separate Victorian-style shower room and toilet off a private courtyard. Breakfast included.