The natural environment

Chat to us if you have any questions and concerns – we’re happy to give you tips on how best to explore the area!

Fynbos gardens

We started working on the garden in 2015 at Die Opstal and plan to eventually extend it all the way up the kloof. We might even be tending gardens during your visit. You’re most welcome to join us in the fight against grass! (This involves the constant pulling out of grass after we took out almost a hectare of grass that was replanted with fynbos.) There are walkways in the gardens and we’ve been planting cedar trees from around the globe. See if you can spot the two Babylon cedars. The founder of Kirstenbosch, HHW Pearson, is buried in Kirstenbosch under this very tree.

The gardens are planted with hundreds of indigenous herb species, and we encourage you to use them in your baths and food. Away from the chalets, buchu, rooibos tea and wild rosemary plus hundreds of other fynbos species grow wild all along the trails.

Spring water

We’re blessed with access to fresh delicious mountain spring water that conforms to European standards for mineral water. All water on the retreat, from the taps to the jacuzzis and swimming pool is fed with the mineral water. Do fill your water bottles on your way home so that you can take this abundant gift with you.

Our 87m-deep borehole delivers 11 700 litres of water at a temperature of 26-30°C. Because the water is forced through a calcium formation under its own pressure, there is no need for pumps or filters. By the time the water reaches the top, it is sparkling clean.

Wildlife

We live among and with an abundance of wildlife. Please do not feed any of our wild friends apart from the birds. The birds love to feast on crumbs and even fruit from your kitchen.

Birds

So far we have spotted 45 different species of birds on the farm.

At the back of the House Manual, you’ll find a list of birds that have been identified in this valley. We encourage all our guests to take pictures of the birds and send us your photographs and the list of birds you’ve identified, especially if you spotted a new species. We would like the entire book of birds to only be photographs from our guests.

Some of the units have bird feeders. Feel free to feed the birds with bread crumbs or grains.

Mammals

Please do not feed any of the mammals. We would like to keep them as wild as possible and don’t want to impede their self-sufficiency. We carefully nurture our edible plants in order to positively manage the relationship with our mammal friends.

To date we have seen baboon, klipspringer, grey rheebok, genet, dassie, grey mongoose, hares, striped field mice and many more. We’ve spotted multiple droppings and spoor of leopard in the surrounding mountain, but haven’t yet been lucky enough to spot this marvellous creature.

Reptiles and insects

The healthy environment houses abundant species of ants, moths, geckos, snakes… all with important pollinating and balancing roles in the echo system. The bats keep the mosquito populations down, but some nights the mozzies do get pesky.