Ever since I came to live (and work) here at Witvoets Kloof I have wanted to write about my first impressions of this lovely place.
I often drove past the sign on the main road between Stanford and Gansbaai (just past the big white Bella Vista gates), that read “Fynbos Retreat 10 km”. The arrow pointed in the direction of the fynbos covered mountains. I always wondered what it would look like …this retreat in the fynbos hills.
The first time I actually went there though, we came the back way over the mountain from Flower Valley and Bodhi Khaya. We drove on the rough jeep track in a bakkie and rounded the last corner just as the sun was setting.
A wooden house next to a dam filled with blue water lilies and a beautiful big white house above another huge, tranquil dam lay serenely bathed in the soft light of the setting sun. I know this description sounds sentimental and a bit like the picture on an old–fashioned chocolate box (or just very bad writing!), but believe me it was a wonderful , calming sight. I have heard enough guests echo my sentiments on their first glimpse of Fynbos Retreat, to know that there really is something inspiring about this vista.
The house itself, where the Walker Bay Conservancy meeting was held, was welcoming with huge couches, a pool table, dart board and fynbos photographs on the wall. And lots and lots of scatter cushions!!
Billy (the manager at the time) was making pizzas for us in a huge , airy and obviously well-equipped kitchen . As Jan and I now do for the hikers on their first overnight stop on The Fynbos Trail. All the surfaces were covered in flour and pizza bases and bowls full of various toppings. Billy was buzzing around preparing the feast.
We sat on the comfy couches, devouring slices of pizzas, sipping Lomond wine and listening to the various speakers talk about all that had been done to conserve the area with its spectacular variety of fynbos. Sean Privett projected amazing pictures directly onto the white wall as part of his presentation. Pudding appeared as if magically in the form of the most exquisite and delicious cupcakes baked by Lily Upton who works for the Grootbos Foundation. I will never be able to hear the word “cupcake” again without seeing the enormous, multi-coloured beauties in my mind’s eye! And longing for just one more bite…
When a another new guest sighs and says: “This is such a beautiful place …do you live here?”, I smile and remember that first visit and the how I felt when I first saw Fountain Bush Cottage and Arum Lily House in the late afternoon light.
Perdita Van Dijk Du Bois