At Simbavati Fynbos on Sea, our dedicated guide portrays passion and personalised professionalism which transforms each guest’s experience into an extraordinary journey. Meet Keith, a true maestro of his craft, with a knack to intertwine knowledge with exploration in nature to create a memorable adventure.
Radiating a genuine enthusiasm for showcasing the wonders of the Garden Route and the setting at Simbavati Fynbos on Sea, Keith ensures that every guest departs with cherished memories and a profound appreciation for the natural world.
Beyond his role as a guide, Keith is a nature enthusiast, avid bird watcher, and an expert in plant knowledge. A warm, open-minded, accepting, and patient individual, Keith is a treasured member for the Simbavati family.
His journey into guiding began with a discovered appreciation for Fynbos, and led to a deeper exploration of nature’s wonders. One of Keith’s focus areas lies in revealing the healing power of plants. As a guide, he sees this role as an opportunity to help others understand themselves and nature.
Adventures and Activities
Join Keith on an exploration of Simbavati Fynbos on Sea, where his passion and knowledge converge to create an immersive experience.
Experiences available range from guided nature walks to kayaking, beach explorations, guided mountain biking excursions, 4×4 eco drives and rejuvenating sunset barge cruises. The protea farm tour is also a favourite activity and a must-do during a stay at Simbavati Fynbos on Sea.
Unlock the secrets of Simbavati Fynbos on Sea’s enchanting environment, with Keith as your guide.
Discover more about Simbavati Fynbos on Sea:
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Simbavati Waterside is a quintessential, beautiful and enticing safari lodge set in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve. Those in search of romance will enjoy the lodge’s many intimate spaces, imaginative private dining settings and the joy in knowing that no two meals are ever quite the same. Surprise special touches are added to the experience for those celebrating honeymoons and anniversaries too or for those simply enjoying the disconnection from a busy life to reconnect with each other on safari.
Dining Variety and Flair
At Simbavati Waterside, we believe that an extraordinary safari experience extends far beyond thrilling game drives and breathtaking wildlife encounters. A vital aspect of this experience is the opportunity to indulge your palate in a remarkable setting, surrounded by the untamed beauty of the African wilderness. Our dining settings and options are designed to enhance your safari adventure and create unforgettable memories.
Bush Boma: An Authentic Safari Feast
During a safari stay at Waterside, one of your evenings will involve dining under a star-studded African sky in our Bush Boma, with the sounds of the wilderness as your soundtrack. The traditional boma experience offers you an authentic safari feast like no other. Gather around the crackling fire as you savour a delectable blend of traditional and contemporary African cuisine. The atmosphere is both enchanting and communal, as you share stories of the day's adventures with fellow travelers and the Waterside team, creating lasting connections and enjoying some traditional African song and dance too.
Beach Boma with a Wood-Fired Pizza Oven
Simbavati Waterside's beach boma is a unique gem, where you can bask in the serenity of a private beach setting alongside our active waterhole. Beside the tranquil waters of our private dam, delight in our unique wood-fired pizza oven. Sip on your favourite beverage as you dine with a view over the wilderness and a sense of tranquility. An option on the menu may well be one of our signature, freshly baked pizzas with a delightful array of toppings. This unique dining experience offers a perfect combination of relaxation and indulgence on safari.
Al Fresco Dining Overlooking the Waterhole
The iconic and captivating dining setting at Simbavati Waterside is our al fresco dining deck, overlooking the waterhole. Take a seat on our open-air deck and witness the mesmerising theater of nature unfold before your eyes. While you enjoy gourmet dishes created by our talented chefs, watch as elephants, hippos, and various other wildlife come to quench their thirst at the waterhole. It's a dining experience that allows you to become one with the African wilderness.
For those seeking a more intimate and personalised experience, Simbavati Waterside offers private dining options. Whether it's a romantic dinner for two or a special celebration, we can arrange a private dining experience that suits your preferences. Some secluded locations include dinner in our private wine cellar, on your private deck or tucked away in one of our more secret locations. Under the guidance of our expert culinary team, you'll enjoy a meticulously crafted menu in a secluded location. Private dining at Simbavati Waterside is an exquisite way to celebrate life's special moments or simply relish a quiet evening in the wild.
Simbavati Waterside's unique dining settings and options are an integral part of our safari experience. We believe that indulging in exceptional cuisine amidst the awe-inspiring African wilderness adds an extra layer of enchantment to your adventure. We aim to make your culinary journey at Simbavati Waterside as unforgettable as the safari itself.
Discover more about Simbavati Waterside:
Unique Safari Dining Experiences at Simbavati Waterside
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The Cederberg, a ruggedly beautiful region of South Africa with a remarkable history, tells a story that traverses through time. It spans from the original inhabitants, the San and Khoikhoi people, to colonial explorers, early settlers, and later conflicts and triumphs.
The Original Inhabitants
Long before European settlers arrived, the Cederberg was home to the San, or Bushmen people, and the Khoikhoi people. The San were hunter-gatherers who roamed this vast land, leaving their legacy in the form of ancient rock art found in caves and overhangs throughout the region. Some of these rock art depictions date back over 2,000 years and portray herds of eland, elephants, leopards, and more.
The first European contact with the Cederberg was made by the explorer Bartholomew Dias when he spotted these imposing mountains from the Atlantic Ocean. He named them the "Sierra dos Reis," which translates to the "mountains of the three wise men of the East." These three mighty peaks, including Sneeuberg, Sneeukop, and Tafelberg, are still visible from Cederberg Ridge today.
The name "Cederberg" itself originates from the Clanwilliam Cedar Tree (Widdringtonia cedarbergensis). This rare and endemic tree typically thrives at altitudes above 1,500 meters. It is revered for its fine-grained wood, but the arrival of European settlers nearly led to its complete extinction. The cedar tree was heavily utilized for furniture, housing, and even telegraph poles. Today, these trees are strictly protected, with only isolated, hard-to-reach specimens remaining.
Around 1670, one of the earliest colonists to the Cape, Marthinus Oloff Bergh, led an expedition north from Cape Town to explore the Cederberg. The owners of Simbavati Cederberg Ridge are proud 10th generation descendants of this visionary explorer. Bergh's scouting party encountered the river that flows through the valley, observing herds of elephants along its banks, leading to its apt naming as the Oliphants River. Regrettably, these elephants were eventually hunted to extinction in the region by later settlers.
The Cederberg area began to see population growth with the arrival of the 1820 settlers from England and Ireland. Although many of these settlers initially found the area challenging due to its mountainous terrain and Mediterranean climate, Clanwilliam, one of South Africa's oldest towns, steadily expanded. Clanwilliam's establishment as a municipality in 1808 marked an important milestone. In fact, it is the seventh oldest town in South Africa, a testament to its historical significance.
Impact of the Anglo-Boer War
The Cederberg was the unexpected southernmost battleground of the Anglo-Boer War. Boer commandos traveled southward from their strongholds in northern South Africa, aiming to threaten the English Cape Colony. The town of Clanwilliam, the northernmost English stronghold, was a focal point of this conflict. The Boers sought to garner local support from Dutch-descendant farmers, but their efforts proved futile. These farmers, while harboring no love for English colonial governance, believed that the English would ultimately emerge victorious, and they feared repercussions. As a result, they chose to remain loyal to the English.
The Englishman's Grave
A poignant episode from this era is that of Lieutenant Clowes, an Englishman leading a patrol from Clanwilliam. His patrol was ambushed by a Boer commando, resulting in his tragic death. He was buried on the spot, and his family later erected a headstone resembling a Celtic cross with the words "brave and true." This location became known as Englishman's Grave, and Lieutenant Clowes' mother made the arduous journey from England to visit her son's grave each year until 1936.
Clanwilliam Dam and Rooibos Tea
The construction of Bulshoek Dam in 1914 marked an important turning point for the area's fortunes. The much larger Clanwilliam Dam was built in 1935 and later expanded in 1964. These developments allowed neighboring farms access to the vital resource of irrigation water. Today, the region's primary agricultural products are wine, table grapes, citrus, and renowned rooibos tea. Plans for further dam enlargement are in the works, offering potential for continued growth.
Cederberg Wilderness Reserve
The Cederberg Wilderness Reserve was officially established in 1973, serving as a protected area that now spans about 5,250 hectares. In 1987, an additional reserve was established with the primary goal of preventing the Clanwilliam cedar tree's extinction. These trees, remnants of a colder era, are now found on cooler mountain slopes in remote, inaccessible areas. All farming livestock was removed from the Cederberg Wilderness Reserve, and small quantities of indigenous fauna were reintroduced, allowing the mountain fynbos to recover. The reserve has become a cherished wilderness destination, providing solace for those seeking refuge from the demands of modern life.
Cederberg or Cedarberg?
A curious historical note is that the English name for the region was initially the Cedarberg, while the Afrikaans name was Sederberg. About 15-20 years ago, it was decided to merge the two names into the new name, Cederberg. As a result, you may encounter both spellings: Cedarberg and Cederberg.
The Cederberg, with its rich tapestry of history and natural beauty, continues to enchant visitors, offering a captivating glimpse into the past while embracing the present.
Discover more about Simbavati Cederberg Ridge:
The History of the Cederberg
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The story of Kleinvlei Farm is a captivating journey through time, deeply intertwined with the region's history and Simbavati Cederberg Ridge’s owning family's heritage.
A Legacy Born in 1807
Kleinvlei Farm, nestled within the picturesque Cederberg Mountains, has a history dating back to the arrival of Irish settlers in Clanwilliam in 1807. Clanwilliam itself stands as the 7th oldest town in South Africa. One of our owner’s, Anton's ancestors, particularly Oloff Martinus Bergh, had explored this land in the late 17th century, marking the Bergh family's connection to the Cederberg.
Among these settlers was William Parker, the leader of the Irish Settlers. He was granted a portion of land to farm, known as Kleine Valley, which is today's Kleinvlei Farm. However, William Parker's longing for the lush, rainy landscapes of his Irish homeland prompted his return, leaving behind a unique Mediterranean climate that the Cederberg is known for today. The Shaw family, among the settlers, chose to make Kleine Valley their home instead.
One of our scenic farm walks offered at Simbavati Cederberg Ridge takes you through Shaw's Kloof, where the remains of their modest cottages can still be found. The settlers later relocated further down the valley, constructing a long, white-washed thatched house. It was in the 1840s that the Bergh descendants of Oloff Bergh returned to the area. They initially purchased a farm in the "Agter Pakhuis" area, on the other side of the Cederberg Mountains. Later, they moved to a farm atop Pakhuis Pass, where Cape Nature's headquarters now stand. In 1907, the Bergh Family acquired Kleinvlei Farm, which remains in the family to this day. Over time, the original 1820s house was extended to become a spacious four-bedroom home.
Water, the Lifeblood of Farming
The success of Kleinvlei Farm, like many in the Cederberg, depends on its water supply rather than the size of the land. Our region receives less than 200mm of rain annually, classifying it as semi-arid. However, a river flows through Kleinvlei, making farming viable. Generations of Berghs have played a role in shaping the farm's irrigation channels, which diverted the river to sustain our fruit orchards. Anton's father, Dennis, built a substantial farm dam, enabling Dennis and Anton to expand the farm's operations.
Tragedy struck in 2013 when the original 1820s thatched Cape Dutch homestead, where Anton's widowed mother lived, was lost to a devastating fire. The thatched roof made the fire consume the house in just half an hour. While it was a heart-wrenching loss, we are thankful that no one was hurt in the fire. Anton's mother chose to move into a smaller home, and we made the decision to build Simbavati Cederberg Ridge in place of the old farmhouse. It had long been our dream to showcase this little-known region through a lodge.
Farming on Kleinvlei Today
Our farm spans 3,000 hectares in the Cederberg area, and we primarily cultivate table grapes and citrus.
The harvest season runs from mid-December to the end of February. Speed is of the essence to pick, pack, and store the grapes once they ripen. Our grapes are exported to the northern hemisphere during their winter season when local production is limited. Producing high-quality table grapes involves meticulous care, including pruning the vines and shaping the bunches for a classic appearance. In peak season, we employ approximately 100 people to pick and pack the grapes.
The citrus harvest begins in April and continues through September. Our farm yields several types of oranges, each serving a distinct purpose, whether for consumption, juicing, or jam-making. The freshly squeezed orange juice at breakfast is sourced right from our farm.
A Modern Approach to Farming
Today, farming is an industrial process, with cold stores and packing sheds taking the place of picturesque outbuildings. The original farmstead was not rebuilt in its initial location for this reason. Kleinvlei boasts four large cold stores, two packing sheds (one for citrus and one for grapes), and a makeshift air cooling system due to the sweltering heat. We also collaborate with overseas supermarkets, packing produce with their labels, or offer our own brand when dealing with wholesalers. Farm tours are a part of our offerings, and we extend support to Lemoenland pre-school, an infant school we established for the children of our farmworkers and neighboring farms. It is an ongoing testament to the sense of community and history that Kleinvlei Farm represents.
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Unearthing the Rich History of Kleinvlei Farm in the Cederberg
Fynbos on Sea
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