They scoured the Cape until they found a magical piece of earth at the foot of the Rooiberg near Robertson – and with the Breede River running through it. The owners knew this was their nirvana and where they would live and farm close to earth, grow olives ripened by the Little Karoo sun and produce multi award-winning olive oils. Their oils remain rated in the top 10 in South Africa, the fruit of happy olive trees, all organic and kindly farmed, while standing firmly in ancient alluvial soils.
Now the they are handing over the baton to a new owner, who can continue this established legacy. The farm, near Robertson, is 160 hectares of drip-irrigated olive orchards, magnificent river frontage, vast vistas of the languid Langeberg mountains and all with that sense of timeless, endless space found in the Little Karoo. There are three dwellings too, and all the necessary infrastructure for processing the olives into award-winning olive oil. Not just the olive press, sorting and distribution warehouse, but all the farm equipment is there to nurture and nourish the orchards to bear fine fruit.
The main double-storey farmhouse embodies the colours and textures of Africa, from the vibrancy of Morocco to the raw stone finishes of the arid Karoo. It’s a blend of beautiful spaces with outdoor entertainment areas and a skinny pool long enough to train for the Olympics – or just to take dips in the heat of summer. Inside are fireplaces upstairs and down, to cosy up to in winter.
Now imagine stepping out at first light onto the wrap-around verandah, coffee in hand, and watching the moody light dance across the olive groves. As the day continues, there may be picking or pruning or pressing going on, yet with a stillness running through it because here all is in harmony with the natural rhythm of nature. That’s how Zoetigheyd was designed and created, and how it remains today. Intriguingly, the name is from a little Dutch sailing ship – Zoetigheyd – that ran aground in a Cape storm in 1711, but the name resonated with the sweet way of farming with nature and the figurative sweetness of the fruit of this labour. It just all makes sense.
The guest cottage, not far from the main house, is extremely popular for city escapes and comfortably sleeps eight people. It has its own pool with a martini seat to enjoy evening sundowners. A magnificent stone-wall encircled firepit with built-in seating will keep you captivated deep into the night in summer: braaing, chatting and stargazing. Inside the cottage is perfectly snug in the cool season too.
There’s still a comfortable two-bedroom manager’s house too – close to all the olive operations, as are the additional four workers’ bedrooms with communal living facilities. The farm is ideally set up for a smooth handover, all the hard work has already been done with passion to ensure a productive and sustainable farm that produces exceptional olive oils. Really, it couldn’t be simpler to step into this lifestyle of living close to nature, and with prosperity.
Written by Keri Harvey
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