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The Shire


the shire chalets

Named after JRR Tolkien’s hobbit village in The Lord of the Rings, the Shire is an eco lodge on the edge of the Xholora Forest near Stutterheim in the Eastern Cape.

The convex wooden walls that give each self-catering chalet its unique shape (and aid in natural cooling) make it feel like you’re inside a large and luxurious boat - until you look out through the striking curved-glass windows and see the dappled forest surrounding you.

the shire interior of chalet

What makes the view even more special is knowing the labour of love that went into them - The glass literally had to be bent with brute force, all the while wearing goggles and gloves to protect from any mishaps... (and mishaps there were) -imagine owner Rob Scott and his father finally getting the glass to bend to the convex shape of the walls when a loud bang sends shards of glass shattering down on them like daggers!)

the shire view

The four open-plan cabins come with either a queen or two single beds, en-suite bathrooms and fully fitted kitchens, furniture is hand-crafted from Australian bluegum and wattle, and there’s a private outdoor shower in the forest for those warm summer days.

the shire chalet interior with furniture

Venture out of your room and into the forest on foot, horseback or mountain bike, abseil down rocky promontories or canoe across a nearby dam. The on-site nursery’s collection of South Africa’s rarest tubers and bulbs is a must-see for gardening enthusiasts (check out

the shire indigenous bulb The shire indigenous tubes and bulbs


What makes it special?

10 hectares of what used to be a mielie farm is now home to these four chalets -architectural masterpieces in their own right. The two river-side chalets have their own open bush showers where you can cool off amidst the trees and listen to the buzz of forest life (bird calls, the bark of baboons, the singsong of cicadas).

the shire outdoors

Incredibly, Owner Rob Scott had never built anything before the Shire, where nearly everything is custom-made. He had to become an electrician, plumber, builder and painter in just a few months -and the Shire is testament to his accomplishments.

rob scott

In future, he wants to build a troglodyte home (underground building) and a campsite of tented huts on stilts.

Why is it Eco?

Built completely out of wood, each chalet is a unique curved shape, which also assists in natural cooling - the hot air rises to the top of the chalet where it can be easily-released by draw-string roof windows, so there’s no need for energy-guzzling AC.

the shire chalet exterior

While The Shire still runs on electricity, the plan is to go off the grid over a few years. And with an organic food garden and orchard, as well as a large reservoir (230 000L) which stores water collected from the river, the Shire is probably one of the most 'eco' of the eco-lodges in South Africa.

The Shire Quick Facts

Accommodation type:

Self-catering chalets (meals on request)


About 6 kilometres from Stutterheim, Eastern Cape

GPS Coordinates:

Don’t follow GPS! Coming from East London on N6, go through traffic lights and turn left at the Big Daddy’s store , the last turn before leaving Stutt (first turn right entering Stutt from Cathcart side), follow this road for about 3.5km before reaching (5) on the map.


Couples or families


Self-catering cottages from R250 per person a night (R570 for a family unit). Camping rates on request.

Green in Africa Eco-Rating






Meals available

On request




Hiking, horseback or mountain bike riding, abseilling, canoeing, bird watching, fishing, swimming and on-site indigenous nursery tours.


+27 (0) 43 683 2452 / +27 (0) 72 364 8077

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Hi, my name is Melissa and I created this site together with photographer Christopher List to help spread awareness about green lifestyles and travel, so everyone can learn how easy it is to live in a sustainable way. Enjoy!

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