Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse
Hermon, Western Cape, South Africa
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- ELANDSKLOOF MOUNTAINS, WESTERN CAPE, SOUTH AFRICA
Where rolling wheatfields meet pristine
fynbos at the foot of the Elandskloof Mountains, you will find Bartholomeus
Klip. Here Eland graze in timeless peace and the Fish Eagle calls
overhead, while shepherds and their dogs herd flocks of sheep across
the wide open farmlands and tractors plough the fertile soil.
Situated on one of the biggest wheat
and sheep farms in the Western Cape and a 4,000 hectare private nature
reserve, Batholomeus Klip offers guests the opportunity of to experience
gracious country living and the thrill of evening game viewing from
an open landrover combined with the excitement of the daily operations
of a large working farm.
attractions to the Cape have been Table Mountain, Cape Point and
with this increasing influx of tourists
the need for new and varied experiences has arisen. Bartholomeus
Klip Farmhouse is 75 minutes drive time from Cape Town and half
an hour from the winelands of Paarl and Stellenbosch and offers one
most exciting new options for travellers to the region.
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The beautifully appointed Victorian farmhouse
has been luxuriously renovated in true Victorian style. The homestead,
located on the hill overlooking
the farm and private nature reserve, has four en-suite bedrooms, a private
suite, comfortable reading room, large lounge with fireplace, intimate
bar, cozy dining room and spacious verandas to relax on and enjoy the
Each of the comfortable bedrooms, with their specially made bedlinen, generous reading lamps and views onto the garden, has its own distinctive style, and returning guests often ask for their particular favourite. The separate suite, converted from farm outbuildings, is spacious and inviting, with a private verandah looking out over the reserve and up to the mountains. Here you can sit in the evening and imagine yourself in the African heartland, listening to the clattering calls of the guinea fowl as the daylight fades and the owls begin to hoot their night time warnings.
The en-suite bathrooms are fitted with replicas of Victorian baths and basins, and in one a trompe l’oeil mural is the work of a local artist. They are supplied with specially-made toiletries unique to Bartholomeus Klip, scented with herbs from the fynbos.
Special Features of Bartholomeus Klip
of ten guests at a time
Exceptional food and wine
16,000 acre private estate
Game drives - over 1,000 head of game
Fynbos nature reserve
Salt-water swimming pool
Windsurfing, boating and canoeing on the huge dam
Walking and hiking in the reserve
Close to Cape Town and the winelands
The Main House
The main homestead at Bartholomeus Klip is over a hundred years old but is filled with modern comforts, including air-conditioning for the hot days of summer. It is surrounded by a wide shady verandah, with groups of comfortable seating overlooking the gardens, and the house itself is furnished with antiques and designer fabrics.
The scale of the house (there are only four bedrooms and an outside suite) means that you have the feeling of being a guest in a particularly charming and hospitable home. With three different sitting rooms, as well as the Deckhouse a short stroll away next to the lake, privacy is never an issue and, since we do not accept children under the age of 16, peace and quiet are assured.
Our smiling staff, some of whom were born at Bartholomeus Klip, delight in looking after guests, who they never fail to charm with their warm country manners. A recent guest told us she felt that nothing was too much trouble for them, and that everything, from the fresh flowers everywhere to the special touches in the bedrooms, felt as if it was ‘lovingly’ done.
The Pool and Gardens
The gardens at Bartholomeus Klip flourish in the heat of the long summers. Flowerbeds, old oak trees and extensive lawns surround the house, with loungers enticingly set out under umbrellas on the grass, and benches in secluded places perfect for absorbing the relaxed atmosphere.
A wonderfully capacious circular farm dam has been converted into an unusual salt-water swimming pool, complete with a wide wooden deck for sunbathing or enjoying sundowner drinks overlooking the nature reserve, where you may spot the quaggas grazing in the evening light as the setting sun turns the mountains pink behind them.
Wild Olive House
Wild Olive House, which was opened in response to requests for self-catering accommodation at Bartholomeus Klip, has proved very popular with groups of friends and families. Children are welcomed, and the house has its own garden, swimming pool, large shady verandah and outdoor facilities for braais and barbecues.
Accommodation inside Wild Olive House consists of a spacious open-plan sitting room, dining room and beautifully equipped kitchen, with two airy double bedrooms, a smaller single one (bunk beds can be supplied on request), and two bathrooms. If desired, adults can choose to eat at Bartholomeus Klip itself, and meals (as well as babysitters) can be provided for children.
In the garden of Wild Olive House there is a separate cottage with double bedroom, bathroom and small sitting room, and a private verandah overlooking the reserve. The cottage has proved particularly popular with grandparents as an escape when the rest of the family is staying in Wild Olive House itself.
The Deckhouse is situated at the edge of Bartholomeus Klip’s lake-sized farm dam, a short stroll away from the main house. It is more informally furnished than the main house, and makes an ideal escape for quiet reading or birdwatching, or drinking in the spectacular view of the backdrop of mountains mirrored in the vast sheet of water.
Facilities for trout fishing, as well as windsurfing and canoeing, are available for guests to use on the water. An evening stroll along the dam wall is very popular, especially when followed by sundowners on the deck.
The Deckhouse is much in demand for intimate weddings and conferences, and there are several different packages available. The experienced staff take great pleasure in organising these events around special requests. The day or overnight conference packages are based on small numbers and have been designed to give groups exclusive use of the facilities. There is an air-conditioned conference room and an upstairs breakaway room, as well as an outside boma and all the normal conference aids.
Dining & Cuisine
The food – in the French tradition but with a local flavour – is one of the highlights of a stay at Bartholomeus Klip. The dedicated chefs in the kitchen have ensured that as many as possible of the ingredients they use come from the area, such as the locally-produced salmon trout and lamb, and the menus are varied and imaginative.
Brunch, served after the morning game drive, offers a spread of fruits, cereals (including Bartholomeus Klip’s famous muesli pie), cold meats, cheeses, and freshly baked pastries. A full English breakfast can be ordered, along with hot toast and muffins, and a selection of home-made preserves.
Tea in the sitting room, with a crackling fire in the winter months, is a serious affair: scones with whipped cream and jam or grated cheese, miniature quiches, exotic sandwiches and wraps, various tarts and pastries, and always a spectacular cake.
A perfect day in the country is rounded off with dinner in the conservatory, where the gourmet meals are matched with the offerings on our carefully-chosen wine list. The choice of wines emphasises local cellars, all known to us, and we enjoy making recommendations and discussing your choice with you.
The lovely conservatory-style dining room has been described as being ‘at the core of the Bartholomeus Klip experience’. The bright and cheerful atmosphere (airconditioned for your comfort in the hot weather) welcomes guests to the beautifully displayed brunch in the mornings, and in the evenings candles and sparkling silver make a fitting setting for the gourmet four-course menu.
Experience the unique Bartholomeus Klip blend of farm living and game
viewing from an open vehicle. Spend a morning watching the farm at work
or go birdwatching or walking through the fynbos. Climb the mountains,
cycle through the farmlands or the reserve, canoe or windsurf on the
lake-sized dam, swim in the spectacular circular pool, play croquet under
the oaks or, perhaps best of all, allow yourself the pleasure of relaxing
in the peace of this breathtaking setting.
Late afternoon game drives in
the well-established reserve (over 1,000 head of game) introduce guests
Black and Blue
Burchell’s Zebra, Cape Mountain Zebra, Eland, Gemsbok, Red Hartebeest,
Springbok, Grey Rhebok, Duiker and Steenbok. Guided walks in the mountains
reveal a superb array of birds, including Fish Eagles, Black Eagles and
the endangered Blue Crane, which can be seen in flocks of up to sixty.
The Nature Reserve is one of the most ecologically important conservation
areas in the country and conserves the last example of a unique type
Daily guided excursions expose guests
to the variety of features associated with a large and diverse farming
Watch the sheep dogs working with a flock of over 5,000 Merino sheep,
observe the skill and speed employed in the shearing of the wool sheep,
or visit the lambing pastures where, if you wait a while, you may
see lambs being born. Walk in the fields and experience first hand
the cycles of ploughing, fertilizing, sowing, harvesting and spraying
of the various grain crops grown on the farm or stop in at the dairy
and watch the daily milking of the Freisland dairy herd whilst sampling
fresh farm milk or home-made butter and cream. In addition, guests
gain an understanding of how large scale commercial farming and long
conservation work together for mutual benefit.
It takes only half an hour to reach the charming country
towns of Wellington, Tulbagh or Riebeeck Kasteel from Bartholomeus
Klip, with the larger centres of Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl
not much farther away.
There are several museums in this historic town, as well as the Redemption
leather factory and the South African dried fruit co-operative. With
three local wine cellars (where tastings are free), Wellington is definitely
worth a visit.
After an earthquake in 1969, much of the town was restored and is today
a showpiece of Cape Dutch architecture, with one of the oldest museums
in the country housed in the Old Church, built in 1743. There are other
museums with interesting collections, as well as four famous wine estates,
in the area.
There are in fact two towns, Riebeeck Kasteel and Riebeeck West, situated
within a few kilometres of each other on a mountain slope with views
out across the valley to Bartholomeus Klip. Both have picturesque buildings
and excellent wine estates, including one famous for its port and another
for its olive oil, and the simple farmhouse where General Jan Smuts
was born is now a fascinating museum.
The Bartholomeus Klip private reserve
encompasses some very rare habitat - West Coast Renosterveld
(Renoster is Afrikaans for rhino, because of the
to occur here) is a rare type of
fynbos vegetation containing a number of endangered plant and
animal species. The largest remaining population of the Geometric
Tortoise, one of the world's most endangered reptile species,
occurs on the reserve. In addition, Bartholomeus Klip has over
species and a spectacular diversity of spring flowers and bulbous
plants, many of which are endemic to the area and exist nowhere
else in the world.
Bartholomeus Klip offers guests
a wonderful opportunity to experience the Western Cape in a way
previously possible. Guests can
enjoy the winelands, wheatfields and beautiful countryside of the area
combined with the thrill of game viewing from an open landrover, complete
with all the necessary luxury, personalised attention and fine cuisine.
Projects and Breeding Programmes
The following summarizes the conservation projects
and programmes ongoing at Batholomeus Klip and are an introduction
to the special conservation issues facing this important natural
area as well as a few of the management challenges. The resident
trained conservation staff are more than qualified to introduce
visitors to the various aspects of the programmes and specialist
guides and experts in charge of the projects are also available
Quagga Breeding Project
The Quagga occurred south of the Orange and
Vaal rivers and formed an important component of the Karoo environment
of the Orange Free
State and the Cape. A number of quaggas were exported to Europe during
the 18th and 19th centuries. Quaggas became extinct when the last female
died in captivity in an Amsterdam zoo on 12 August 1888. The last
survivors of free living quagga, which occurred in the Orange Free
State, became extinct in 1878.
Quaggas were essentially stripeless
zebras, although they displayed a great deal of variation between
front parts of their
body were clearly striped, with the markings fading towards the rump
area. There exists uncertainty as to whether the quagga was a dark
zebra with light stripes or a light zebra with dark stripes. Generally
the quagga’s stripes are darkest on the head and neck where the
interspaces are the lightest. Progressing backwards along the body,
the stripes become lighter and the interspaces between them darker
until they eventually merge. The stripes were therefore limited to
only on the head and neck and were faded on the legs and hindquarters.
In March 1986 a Quagga breeding
project was officially launched after extensive research revealed
that the extinct species was closely related
to Burchell's zebra. Burchell's zebra showing a natural stripe reduction
were sourced from around Southern Africa and in December 1988, the
first foal was born. The project progressed well for a few years,
due to financial limitations, was subsequently curtailed. It
was then that the project was moved to Bartholomeus
of its favourable habitat and large grassy plains, was a natural
choice as a home for the breeding programme. At present
over 30 quaggas are free roaming within the reserve.
African Buffalo Breeding Project
African buffalo are carriers of a number of
diseases such as Corridor disease, Foot & Mouth disease and Tuberculosis.
As buffalo are gregarious, often occurring in large herds, disease
from animal to animal, and although the diseases may not kill animals
out right, their weakened condition renders them susceptible to other
illnesses which may in fact be fatal. There have been episodes of disease
out breaks in the large buffalo herds of Southern Africa over the last
300 years that have almost wiped out entire populations. This poses
a concern for conservationists as the rapid spread of TB amongst the
herds of buffalo at present may be the beginning of a new population
Bartholomeus Klip has, as a result
of careful breeding and strict quarantine, managed to produce a herd
of disease-free buffalo, making them the
only herd to carry this status in the entire country of South Africa.
Isolated in the Western Cape, they are potentially free from the
risk of contamination
and will be used as a breeding herd to stock areas that are disease
free or to restock areas where buffalo may have died out as a result
The breeding programme is managed
along basic farming principles and is a superb example of the combination
of farming and conservation.
The original founder herd, which numbers 20 animals, will be increased
in size to approximately 60, at which point the herd should breed
at a sustainable
rate. Youngsters will be raised on the milk os dairy cows as their
rate of growth is far more rapid under such conditions and offspring
will be sold
to areas that need restocking. This breeding programme provides a
wonderful insight into the successful combination of modern farming
and conservation as well as allowing you the chance to get up close
to view these beasts, the least known of the “Big Five”.
The Cape is rich in tortoise species, with 9
of the worlds 40 species occurring in the Western Cape; possibly
spectacular and definitely
the rarest is the geometric tortoise. Geometric tortoises occur only
in the low lying Renosterveld habitat of the Cape lowlands, and that
of the Worcester/Tulbagh and Ceres valleys. Habitat destruction due
to extensive agricultural activities throughout its range has led to
the distribution of the tortoise being characterised by small isolated
populations. Agricultural development has largely been responsible
for the replacement of more than 97% of renosterveld with wheatlands,
vineyards and large heavily grazed areas. Bartholomeus Klip with its
nature reserve comprising 1,400 hectares of renosterveld is home to
the largest concentration of geometric tortoises to be found in any
habitat and the only remaining ecologically viable population. Bartholomeus
Klip is home to 3,500 members of this, Africa's most endangered
reptile, and is considered the only place where their survival and
long term conservation is assured.
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