A growing body of Franschhoek residents and the Franschhoek Trust and Ratepayers Association are bringing pressure to bear on Stellenbosch Municipality’s Planning Department to ‘stick to the rules’ and enforce compliance with building and zoning regulations.
Busy days, hot sun, dusty streets, smiling faces, sweaty bodies and full hearts are some of the phrases used by Bridge House students to describe their experience working at a community partnership project in Philippolis during the first week of the December holidays. John Varty, who runs the Tiger Canyons Conservation project near Philippolis, together with the Good Work Foundation, originally set up the project in this area, where one of the most impoverished communities in the country lives. The project forms part of Tiger Canyons’ social responsibility outreach. The Good Work Foundation continues to run this as an ongoing project, along with other projects around the country.
Claire Horn and Associates Physiotherapy is celebrating fifteen years of “Physiotherapy in Franschhoek” this year. We are now 4 physiotherapists – Claire Horn, Villene Alderslade, Bronwen Talbot and Tracy Prowse – and have 3 treatment sites: Franschhoek, Pearl Valley and Bridge House School. Alishia Jafthas, well known to many of you, is our office manager and handles the phone, accounts and all of us!!
Boschendal Estate has been awarded the Angus Society of South Africa 2016 Trophy for the best Black Angus commercial breeder in the Western Cape.
A new exhibition at the La Motte Museum pays tribute to the life and work of SA artist Jacob Hendrik Pierneef. Fittingly titled A Tribute to the life and work of Jacob Hendrik Pierneef (1886-1957) the exhibition will run for the duration of 2017. The exhibition celebrates the artist’s contribution to South African art and enhances La Motte’s permanent heritage collection with selected artworks and personal artefacts from various South African collections.
Franschhoek’s resident karate instructor has been recognised as a ‘legend’ by the Department of Culture and Sport at the Western Cape Legend Awards Ceremony on 14 December 2016.
Geraldine Mettler has been appointed as the new municipal manager of Stellenbosch Municipality. She started in the role at the beginning of January.
Responding to a request for information from the Tatler, Ashley Bauer – manager of the Franschhoek Ward of the Winelands Fire Protection Association (WFPA) – said that there have been 35 fires in the Franschhoek ward since the beginning of the fire season (Nov 2016 – Jan 2017). “Two of the fires resulted from contractors doing hot work, i.e. grinding and welding. The rest have been unlawful ignitions, deliberately lighted fires and fireworks over the New Year,” he said.
The Franschhoek Country Club Estate Development Company (Pty) Ltd (Frandevco), developers of the Fransche Hoek Estate, handed over a financial contribution to the Fremco Trust, which represents community-based organizations in Franschhoek.
The development of the Fransche Hoek Estate flowed from a social compact that was signed in 1998 by stake holders, including the then Franschhoek Municipality, as part of the Franschhoek Empowerment and Development Initiative (FEDI). Fremco each year awards bursaries to children from the Franschhoek community and donates a percentage of its income to the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve.
The project was financed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and implemented by Frandevco. A unique development model was used, which is being used on other projects in South Africa as well.
At the time of its formation the activities of the Fremco Trust were endorsed by President Nelson Mandela.
Boschendal offers all that you’d expect of a wine estate – restaurants, wine tasting, picnics – and then some! Also on offer are half and whole day spa treatments, walking and mountain bike excursions (on 30 km of new trails), fly fishing – and horse riding. It can be stated quite categorically here that if ever there was an enthusiastic team it is that which now runs the equestrian activities.
The equestrian team is headed by Hans Mbalula and his brother Petrus. Hans was formerly a barman at Boschendal’s deli/Werf restaurant/picnics), but on hearing Boschendal’s CEO discussing the pros and cons of riding and related activities on the estate he immediately volunteered to give up bartending and to run this new initiative.
It transpired that he had, in fact, been raised on a Free State farm and as a boy had ridden regularly before and after school to carry out a variety of farm duties such as cattle and sheep herding. He had, too, it was discovered, learned early on how to win the confidence and calm down a wild horse so that within a few days (often in fact within one day) he could saddle and ride it without any of the bronco busting histrionics of the Wild West’s cowboys. He had also learned how to put horses into harness to pull a cart or a plough, again using a minimum of force and a maximum of coaxing.
Boschendal now has 13 horses, including a few Shetland ponies, the majority of which are massive Shire horses, Friesians, Clydesdales and Percherons, all of them giants of the horsey world – they grow to 16 hands or more. Being immensely strong, they are capable of carrying a 100 kg or 110 kg rider in armchair comfort. Surprisingly, however, they are also quite exceptionally gentle so that, despite their size, they can be and sometimes are ridden by quite small children. A few lucky riders are offered the opportunity to mount these massive horses, but most of Boschendal’s outrides are done with well-trained smaller horses.
Today the Boschendal horses can be hired for outrides and these usually take the visitor into unspoilt conservation fynbos territory where waterbuck and eland have been introduced by Boschendal’s owners. For those prepared to rise early Boschendal offers a breakfast ride in its extensive conservation territory with delicious eggs, bacon and mushrooms cooked over an open fire. The rides can last up to three hours and afford the visitor a total escape from the overcrowded mechanised world.
Shire horses are, however, at their most impressive when they are acting as draught animals. Their huge size make it possible for them easily to pull carts, the weight of which would bring lesser horses, even fully trained hackneys, to their knees.
At Boschendal the management now offers visitors one-hour cart rides almost daily. The carriage can take a small number of adults and a larger number of children. Passengers sit on a beautifully restored 19th-century landau and this gives them a tranquil lovely way to see the estate and to watch these big horses working so willingly. The foremost carriage pair are black Friesian mares. They are sisters and are named Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth. Their names are appropriate because they exude a patrician, almost regal ambience, as if aware that they are several cuts above today’s typical livery stable animals.
Booking is essential for a carriage ride, but, as Samantha Lundie, wife of the CEO of Boschendal who is closely involved with this operation, has said, “An overnight visit to Boschendal these days is incomplete without a carriage ride – it somehow epitomises all that the estate stands for.”
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