Legendary golfer Gary Player likens the Garden Route to ‘paradise’. He shares a few of his life lessons…
UNDER THE GARDEN ROUTE SPELL
he raised over 2000 thoroughbreds. He’s clearly fallen for the Garden Route. “In California’s Pebble Beach they have what they call the 17-mile drive, which is a paradise. I tell Americans we’ve got over 600 miles of 17-mile drive. And they’re shocked.”
But today the dapper and exceedingly fit 84-year old has taken time out from his extremely busy schedule, one that would leave a lesser man gasping for breath, to speak to South at his home base in Plettenberg Bay.
So, when it came to choosing a place for him to put down roots, Plettenberg Bay was a natural choice. “It’s the most beautiful place in the world with mountains, sand dunes, beaches right here. The climate is great and it has everything you want… This is the place for me.”
Having traded one family home along the Garden Route for another, Player admits it was an emotional wrench to sell his Karoo stud farm of 40 years, where
Player’s inordinate reverence for nature permeates his lifestyle and resonates through his golf course designs. “People are inundated with stress nowadays. Everyone
here is no doubt that Gary Player could be at home anywhere. As a self-proclaimed ‘world’s most travelled athlete’ he’s notched up more travel miles than any other sportsman, jetting to tournaments tours and championships for over six decades.
WORDS CHANTAL RUTTER PHOTOGRAPHS DARON CHATZ
is working so hard and wondering what is going to happen politically. I think when you go out to play golf, you feel such relief. So I always tell the people I design a golf course for, what I learnt from the Masters, you’ve got to make it beautiful as well as playable.” Of the 400 courses Player has designed, four are now on his doorstep, and he still plays regularly. “A golf course gives such a lot of pleasure to both me and so many others.” One of Player’s greatest personal joys was a golf course that came about after a collaboration over 30 years ago. Fancourt approached him to turn the old, dead-straight George Airport Runway into a Links golf course. It was considered nothing short of crazy at the time. Now with its unique undulating dune-like landscape it has earned its place as the number one golf course in South Africa and 38th in the world. “The Links golf course is the best golf course I’ve ever designed,” Player says. “It’s the greatest challenge we have in South Africa, by a long way. It teaches a lesson.”
confetti, Player is humble and takes nothing for granted. “I had a tough journey as a young person with my mother dying when I was eight. I adored her and I really struggled. But that adversity enabled me to become a champion.” While tragedy was the turning point, the rest was sheer hard work from the man who famously said: “The harder you work, the luckier you get.” “I outworked everybody. This pair of hands has hit more balls than any human being ever has,” he says, adding that there’s too much entitlement in the world today. “You’re not entitled to anything. You have to earn it.” With over 165 tournament wins worldwide, 24 of them on the PGA Tour and nine of them major championships, Player has earned his success. He’s also one of only five players to capture the career Grand Slam. He’s also earned respect and friendship. “I just love people. I make so many friends. People put their arms around me like a brother or a father.”
Player has paid this love forward Now as Fancourt celebrates its “I am in good shape; I can beat with more than $60 million dollars 25th anniversary, CEO Georgie by the Gary Player Foundamost 40-year-olds in a gym…” raised Davidson says even down-thetion and the Gary Player Invitaline Gary Player continues to tional. “There are so many people be actively involved with the golf estate. “He gives so in the world who need direction and help. We have built freely of himself. He’s often seen on our courses with schools in South Africa. We’ve gone around the world three generations of players and he remains passiondoing things to make it a better place.” ate about golf. He’s a consummate ambassador for golf and South Africa and I’ve never seen him walk Player is equally fervent about changing the way people past someone without giving them quality attention. eat and exercise. He boasts the physique of a man at For some people that’s a once-in-a lifetime experileast 20 years younger. “If I reach 90, I’ll be doing well. ence.” I exercise very hard. I am in good shape and I can beat most 40-year olds in a gym. In golf, I beat my age 3000 While most fans worldwide are in awe of this iconic times in a row, by 10 shots. I want to be the first man sporting legend, Player shrugs off the accolades putting who beats himself by 18 shots. I always set a goal…” it down to his rock-solid faith. “I never like to take credit for things I’ve done or victories I’ve had. Today His philosophy is about getting back to basics, “First of I have the best world record in golf, but it’s always all, you have to exercise, then under-eat and get on the been thanks to divine intervention. As far as I’m conscale every week. My choice is to stay fit and eat well. I cerned it’s a gift. It’s not me that’s doing it. It’s coming don’t smoke. I don’t drink. I look after myself. What you through from somewhere. I do enjoy it though and put in your mouth is important. I don’t eat ice cream, say thank you, whether it be for the talent that has bacon or sausages. I eat very little meat.” been loaned to me, for a golf course or a tournament, or for the woman I’ve been married to for 63 years.” There is no doubt this regime seems to be working for Player whose signature brand of energy and zest for life Though tributes such as South African Sportsman of is undeniable.“I say thank you about five times a day. the Century; World’s Best Golf Designer and Most Because if you think about it, we’re one tick away from Grand Slam Wins In History swirl around him like dying. So we must enjoy the moment.”
SUMMER PICNICS | FOOD
PRETTY AS A PICNIC
ONE OF THE BEST WAYS TO SOAK IN THE SPLENDOUR OF A GARDEN ROUTE SUMMER IS WITH AN ELEGANT PICNIC.
WORDS CLARE VAN RENSBURG PHOTOGRAPHS MELANIE MARÃ‰
SUMMER PICNICS | FOOD
t’s sometimes hard to think creatively when packing for the road. So, as summer approaches, SOUTH asked local chefs and artisan food producers to share their inspiration for al fresco dining. We followed these local foodies to the bush, beach and riverbank to discover the stories and recipes behind their dream picnics.
Serendipity’s award-winning chef, Lizelle Stolze, jokes that the only reason she married her husband, Rudolf, was because he could dive for crayfish and oysters. These, their favourite picnic fare, bring back memories of carefree student days on the beach, before marriage, children and a demanding business absorbed their summers. “In the holidays, Rudolf would dive for oysters,” Lizelle reminisces. The restaurateurs responsible for Serendipity’s two World Luxury Restaurant Awards admit that the food they would choose for a picnic, is not necessarily what they can serve in the restaurant. It usually involves Rudolf climbing into the surf and returning proudly with a few West Coast Rock Lobster. The crayfish are protected and require a recreational diving permit to catch. Recent illegal and unscrupulous fishing practices have caused this slowgrowing crustacean to be plundered from the coastline.“We are now only allowed to catch a few and they are strictly for personal consumption,” explains the maître d’. Lizelle splits the crayfish, cleans out the vein and places it on a warm griddle plate over hot coals. She brushes the shell with a branch of wild buchu, dripping with melted butter and chopped garlic. This knoffel buchu is indigenous to the coastal dunes of the Southern Cape and its heady garlicky scent evokes memories of African sand dunes in the sunshine. The herb pairs beautifully with the delicate flavours of crayfish and lemon. The crayfish is basted with more butter and served warm, dipped in a curry-infused mayonnaise. Lizelle is proud of her husband’s diving talent. “Some of the oysters he finds are bigger than my hand,” she boasts. “It’s rare to find them, but they are some of the best 1 | SOUTH | SUMMER 2019
“ The very
best thing about a beach picnic is that we can abandon etiquette.” Lizelle Stolze, Serendipity
SUMMER PICNICS | FOOD
oysters you’ve ever tasted.” Rudolf shucks the oysters and chef Lizelle drizzles them with a chopped green apple, fennel and sherry vinaigrette. She describes the taste as “a bite of the perfect summer holiday as if you’ve been rolled by a wave in the sea”. The oysters are served with a fresh barley, coriander and dried peach salad carefully sealed in a glass jar. Lizelle has spent many long days on local beaches with Rudolf and her two boys diving, surfing, crabbing in rock pools and collecting shells. “The very best thing about a beach picnic,” she says, “is that we can abandon etiquette”. Sunburnt shoulders and fingers smeared with oyster juice, sand and garlic butter get the same treatment, she explains, “a dip in mother nature’s washbasin, the Indian Ocean”.
Ben and Jeremy Gibbs are the self-styled “happy chefs” at 101 Meade Restaurant and Bar in George. The brothers have big personalities and their thriving business
1 | SOUTH | SUMMER 2019
is a testament to their passion and drive. “We grew up on a farm in Magaliesburg,” says Jeremy. “I think that’s why we have this close affinity with food,” explains Ben, “because we understand where good food comes from”. Nestled in the Boven Lange Valley Nature Reserve, amid coastal fynbos, lies Hendrik and Ellie van der Hoven’s home and a generous 1500 square metre vegetable patch whose fresh organic produce feeds the 101 kitchen. Heritage varieties of vegetables, herbs and fruit are cultivated in neatly tended rows. Yellow, purple and green beans grow beside Rainbow Carrots, Candy Striped Beetroot, bright yellow Swiss chard, Spanish Radishes and curly leaf Kale. “We want to reach back in time to champion the bolder flavours and vibrant colours of these old cultivars,” explains Chef Ben Gibbs, “this produce is impossible to find on supermarket shelves, but it’s a chef’s dream”. For the Gibbs brothers,
SUMMER PICNICS | FOOD
freshness and flavour rule. “It’s simple, we create our menu around what Hendrik grows”. Their dream picnic is designed in the same way, with a blend of crisp salad leaves pulled straight from the soil and sunripened tomatoes straight from the vine, along with the best from the 101 menu. Their picnic favourite, biltong salad, features locally cured meat and skewers of Kudu fillet with succulent brandy poached apricots. The Gibbs brothers source their game from a speciality butchery, The Venison Man, in George. Francois Nel, the owner, sources wild, organic, free-range game. “It tastes of the veld it grazed and the air it breathed,” says Ben. Grilled Laingsburg lamb chops are seasoned with rosemary.101 Meade’s freshly baked onion and turmeric bread is slathered with chicken liver pâté made using Red Barn Farm’s free range poultry. Arancini balls are flavoured with wild mushroom and presented with fresh green peas straight from the pod. These are dishes that are easy to assemble on a picnic blanket and pay homage to the authenticity of Garden Route food.
Strawberries from Redberry Farm are hulled, chopped and smashed into crunchy homemade meringues and thick cream, in a timeless classic Eton Mess. “We pop a bottle of cold Boplaas Sauvignon Blanc and raise a toast to the summer sunshine and a bountiful harvest. We are totally spoilt in the Garden Route” says Ben. “We are inspired by this kind of fantastic produce on a daily basis. There isn’t a single day I don’t wake up and say ‘yes please!’ I love it here.”
Tarryn Hampson is the passionate producer behind Milkwood Dairy’s wholesome yoghurt range. She and her farmer friend, Georgie Muller, started the dairy product range in 2016. They craft natural dairy products free of stabilisers, thickeners, artificial flavours and preservatives. Milkwood uses hormone-free fresh milk, exclusively supplied by the Muller’s closedherd Friesland farm. In the summer, Tarryn and her husband Garry often rise early to take their daughters fishing at Kaaimans River. “The river is beautiful at dawn before the world wakes up,” Tarryn explains, “the banks are
“We are totally spoilt in the Garden Route… There isn’t a single day I don’t wake up and say ‘yes please!’ I love it here.” Ben Gibbs, 101 Meade
SUMMER PICNICS | FOOD
cast in shade and the fish are still sleepy”. Tarryn describes the iconic local river as her family’s ‘happy place’, meanwhile their fare is often a simple picnic of salami, bread and cheese. “When it comes to bread”, Tarryn says, “Food CO’s Sourdough Country Loaf is unbeatable”. The couple agree that it is the healthiest and tastiest bread you can buy in George. Artisan baker Jean Rousseau uses only organically grown wholegrain flour, to which he adds salt, water and a dollop of his own sourdough starter culture. The bakery’s nutritious range of loaves including challah, sourdough, ciabatta and plaasbrood is distributed fresh from the ovens to local cafes and restaurants several times per week. The Hampson family also love to include Mastro Dario’s cured meats in their picnics. Italian-born Dario Soresi has gained a reputation in the Garden Route as the ‘Godfather of Salami’. Dario crafts a range of air-dried, salted and cured meat using the best quality pork from van Rensburg’s Farm. He seasons the meat using traditional Italian flavours such as Chianti wine, truffle, fennel, paprika and chilli. The casing is brushed with natural white moulds which help to mature the salami as it cures. Dario also makes coppa, bresaola, pancetta and cured lard. However, the Hampson’s firm favourite is the Salami del Contadino. “We take a whole stick of this rustic salami and cut thick slices to stuff into our bread loaf, along with fistfuls of spinach from the garden.” These great quality breads and meats are the perfect companions for Milkwood Dairy’s new innovation; labneh ‘cream cheese’ balls. Labneh is a creamy Middle Eastern cheese made from strained yoghurt. In the Syrian tradition, Tarryn hangs their Greek yoghurt in muslin bags for three days. After the whey drains away, what is left is a luxuriously thick yoghurtcheese spread. The tangy labneh is hand rolled in a selection of colourful herbs, including golden tzatziki and garlic, Italian herbs, sun-dried tomatoes, stinging nettle and black pepper.
Tarryn says the success of their picnic combination lies in its simplicity, “We just need a single knife and the kids get a satisfying brunch which they can eat with one hand while climbing a tree or holding a fishing rod”. Tarryn and Garry’s food philosophy is remarkably similar to their values. “We are big proponents of simplicity; wholesome food and a healthy lifestyle.”
SUMMER PICNICS | FOOD
BEST GARDEN ROUTE PICNIC LOCATIONS YSTERHOUTRUG PICNIC SITE Diepwalle State Forest, just outside Knysna on the R339 Uniondale road, has wooden tables and braai sites beneath indigenous trees. It’s also home to the Valley of the Ferns, another tranquil picnic spot beneath huge fern trees and with streams to paddle in. WOODVILLE PICNIC SITE At the ancient Woodville Big Tree, an 850-year-old Outeniqua Yellowwood, 12km from the Hoekwil turn off. Enjoy a 2km circular route through the indigenous forest, which starts at the big tree. JUBILEE CREEK PICNIC SITE Deep in the lush Knysna forest, it’s an ideal site for small children, as the stream is shallow, cool and clean. (The Pepsi-colour of the water is due to naturally occurring tannins and humic acids in the forest vegetation.) WILDERNESS EBB AND FLOW REST CAMP A stunning 3.5km forest walk along the Half-Collared Kingfisher Trail in Wilderness winds through indigenous forest, crosses over the Touw River on a pontoon and traverses a wooden boardwalk to a cascading waterfall, one of the most beautiful picnic sites in the Garden Route. GARDEN ROUTE BOTANICAL GARDENS The Mushroom Meander at the Garden Route Botanical Gardens in George, is a gentle walk through the rehabilitated forest crosses streams and wanders through a number of picnic sites. KEURBOOMS RIVER NATURE RESERVE This World Heritage Site outside Plettenberg Bay is managed by Cape Nature and has a number of designated picnic sites. Visitors seeking utter seclusion can access white sandy beach picnic sites by paddling up the serene Keurbooms River gorge. FRANSMANSHOEK CONSERVANCY Situated 35km from Mossel Bay, close to the seaside village of Vleesbaai, here you can picnic on a peninsula overlooking the Indian Ocean.
Easy Picnic Recipe POTTED BARLEY, CORIANDER & DRIED PEACH SALAD | Serves 4 1 cup cooked pearl barley, cooled handful dried peaches 4 purple spring onions 1 small sweet red pepper small bunch of coriander handful baby spinach rooibos tea olive oil lemon juice salt & pepper Soften the peaches by soaking overnight in rooibos tea.
MEIRINGSPOORT PICNIC SITE A drive through the Meiringspoort Pass, in the Swartberg Mountain Range, is a feast for the senses. Staggering rock formations tower over the picnic area, 12km from De Rust. A short walk along steps cut into the rock face takes you to a waterfall cascading into a natural swimming pool with some exciting rock diving opportunities.
Chop the spring onions, red pepper, coriander (reserve a few sprigs for garnish) and cut the softened peaches into cubes. Place in a large bowl, add the barley and mix. Add a squeeze of lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil to moisten. Mix, add seasoning to taste.
FISH EAGLE GREEN This grassy spot on ‘The Island’ in Sedgefield offers lagoon views, birdwatching opportunities, rustic picnic benches and braai fires.
Spoon into four clean jars. Top with the baby spinach and some more coriander. Close tightly and refrigerate until it’s picnic time. Find picnic contacts on page 94
ESPRESSO ART Paolo Mastrogiuseppe, has taken functional art to new heights. At his Mossel Bay headquarters, he revealed what inspires his designs for hightech espresso coffee machines bought by collectors around the globe.
WORDS PAULINE LOURENS PHOTOGRAPHS MELANIE MARÉ
have always loved high-performance cars and jets as well as good espresso coffee. The vision of Leonardo da Vinci inspires me and like him, I strive for engineering excellence and craftsmanship,” says the avant-garde inventor who built up a solid engineering background while working as an apprentice in the family’s Heidelberg business. “I was a mere boy when I started to acquire skills for precision machining,” says Paolo, who was taught at the hands of the maestro, his papa Raffaelle, an Italian
precision engineer who emigrated from Switzerland to South Africa. The budding entrepreneur’s design and engineering studies at the Johannesburg University of Technology were a brilliant stepping stone. The 21-year-old Paolo was unstoppable while establishing three automotive industries in Johannesburg. Late one night in 2011, as he sipped his favourite brew in his design studio, Paolo had a flash of inspiration. He
THE VELOCE ESPRESSO AURUM - A STRIKING, 18CT GOLD PLATED DIAMOND-STUDDED COFFEE MACHINE IS WHAT ROYALS BUY TO ADD TO THEIR ART COLLECTIONS.
envisioned creating an espresso machine modelled on a Formula One engine. “I loved the idea of hand building beautiful, collectible masterpieces which pay tribute to the golden era of Formula One and downscaling them to half-size functional masterpieces.” Soon after beginning production of the Espresso Veloce, the idea for Paolo’s next masterpiece was born. Based on a vintage-prototype, military jet engine, the inventor decided to use authentic aerospace alloys for the quarter-scale-sized coffee making machine which also dispenses tea, boiling water and grappa. “Our AviatoreVeloce Espresso - made up of 300 components - turned out to be the ultimate engineering challenge. Aesthetically these handcrafted creations look amazing. They are made for durability and on top of that are user-friendly,” says Paolo. For the past three years, the Mastrogiuseppe family has been enjoying the tranquil lifestyle of Mossel Bay after ‘semigrating’ from Bedfordview, Johannesburg. The Super Veloce group is headed up by Paolo, who is the founder and CEO, and his brother Danilo Mastrogiuseppe is the MD. They’ve established their operations in a restored, former bank in the centre of town and Paolo says the transition was made so much easier by the warm welcome they received from the town folk. “We find the Mossel Bay community very friendly and helpful.” While I am shown around the immaculate workshop and laboratory where a young team of artisans are hard at work, Paolo reflects, “Our artisans are trained to become skilled workmen and we aim to inspire the younger generation to believe in themselves. If you can dream it you can achieve it, but it takes time. By teaching fine workmanship we empower them and add
value to their lives as well as to the lives of those who buy our machines. “Most of the machine components manufactured at our Johannesburg factory are assembled in our Mossel Bay workshop, then packaged and shipped off to various destinations throughout the world. Globally there is an abundance of wealthy individuals who appreciate high performance motor cars, exotic yachts and planes. They are our clients and they often buy our machines as gifts,” says Paolo as I quiz him about his target market. (His mechanical artwork pieces sell for between R120 000 and R2-million.)The Sultan of Johor and the Sultan of Malaysia as well as the Prince of Monaco rank among those who appreciate fine mechanical art. While the smell of coffee wafts invitingly from the upmarket Aeronautica Business Lounge (a corporate showroom), I learn that the Super Veloce Espresso machines are indeed designed to extract maximum flavour and aroma from the coffee bean and are equally suitable for use in the boardroom or in the home. The flagship, Veloce Espresso Aurum - a striking, 18ct gold-plated diamond-studded coffee machine displayed in a glass case - takes centre stage in the Lounge where it is flanked by two Harley Davidson motorcycles. With such outstanding showmanship it is little wonder the Mossel Bay Chamber of Commerce members declared themselves in awe after being hosted here for a network evening. At night when everything is quiet, Paolo brews up new designs for his next piece of functional art - a submersible diver-themed coffee machine… For more information visit superveloce.co
I N THE SUN
WORDS CLARE VAN RENSBURG PHOTOGRAPHS KELVIN SAUNDERS
FORMER PROFESSIONAL SURFER, SEAN HOLMES, DREW INSPIRATION FROM THE NATURAL SPLENDOUR OF THE GARDEN ROUTE COASTLINE TO CREATE A CONTEMPORARY FAMILY HOME.
hen Sean initially viewed a dilapidated Wilderness property with the ambition of purchasing, it was a badly neglected shell. Situated on a steep slope, the tall house had many disconnected levels and an overgrown garden. Despite its many flaws, Sean felt an instant connection to the space. The light and energy captivated him. “People thought I was nuts,” he explains, “but I know Wilderness well and this is one of only three properties in Wilderness that is north-facing, has both ocean and lagoon views and is within walking distance of the beach, Touws river lagoon and village”. Villa Sol’s ideal aspect and elevation allow
it to bathe in warm sunlight while being protected from the coastline’s weather and wind. The sunlit tower is situated in the heart of Wilderness village, with 360-degree views of the Touws River lagoon and the white sandy beach. Sean, his wife Jeannie and two daughters, Ocean and Indi, wanted to craft an oasis of calm and a sanctuary from their busy Cape Town lives. The ambitious renovation project which began in October 2018 needed to fulfil dual functions. In addition to accommodating their adventurous and ocean-obsessed family during holidays, the property needed to earn an income as a
boutique guesthouse. Villa Sol’s renovation was more than just a vacation project, but an integral part of Sean’s master plan to secure a permanent future in the Southern Cape. Humble and understated, Sean Holmes is well known in the Garden Route. His maternal grandfather was one of the original homeowners in the village; an Italian prisoner-of-war who laboured on the Montagu Pass and went on to become a celebrated watchmaker and jeweller. In local surfing circles, Sean is regarded as a wildcard master of Supertubes, the iconic wave at Jeffery’s Bay. He has an unparalleled track record at the wave, consistently beating world champions. In 2000, he was also the winner of the Red Bull Big Wave Africa event at Dungeons in Cape Town. “My wife Jeannie and I have a special connection to Wilderness,” explains Sean, “I asked Jeannie to marry me while walking in the forest, we were married here and our kids will be the fourth generation of my family to live in the village”. Despite their busy lives in the Mother City, Sean as a director of PRIMI World and Jeannie as founder and owner of Awake Yoga Studio, the couple see the little coastal village as their spiritual home. “Our hearts and souls reside here,” says Jeannie. The Holmes family contracted the small and dynamic local team of John Godfrey and Charles La Cock from J Gee Construction for the project. The Sedgefield-based construction company
devoted their energy to realising Sean’s renovation ambitions. “I saw immense potential in the old house on the hill, given its location and vistas,” explains Sean. “I had this vision of a property that flows effortlessly. I knew that with the right help I could create something absolutely beautiful; a home that is set in light, that conjures memories of sunny days spent in the outdoors”. Sean’s intention was to open up enclosing walls, incorporate outdoor areas, expose sections of the original brickwork and install huge windows to maximise the natural light and jaw-dropping views. The result is a villa that flows over three levels and covers a total of 625 square metres, with five en-suite, selfcatering apartments. “Villa Sol is unassuming,” Sean describes, “but it unravels and reveals itself gradually as you walk through.” Exotic Balinese-style wooden gates open onto a secluded tropical terrace. A solar-heated plunge pool offers views onto the mirror-still lagoon below. Lush banana palms and orange flowered Coral Trees sit amongst the indigenous planting. Hardwood Balau decking surrounds the braai area and fire pit, adding to the tropical theme. Loungers face the warm rays of the noonday sun. A number of unique timber sculptures decorate the space and a
“I HAD THIS VISION OF A PROPERTY THAT FLOWS EFFORTLESSLY. I KNEW I COULD CREATE A HOME THAT IS SET IN LIGHT, THAT CONJURES MEMORIES OF SUNNY DAYS SPENT IN THE OUTDOORS.” SEAN HOLMES, OWNER OF VILLA SOL
woven hanging chair offers an inviting patio perch. Stacking doors lead from the terrace into the living areas on the ground floor. This is the space of which Sean is most proud. “The kitchen forms a focal point and is a social space – this is where everything happens.” The open-plan living room connects the kitchen with comfortable dining and outdoor areas. Exposed roof trusses draw the eye upwards. Whitewashed walls and pale grey cement screed floors sweep throughout the space. “This house entertains unbelievably well,” explains Sean. The kitchen centres on an imposing cast concrete counter, which is tiled in moss green and finished with a Pandomo resin-based stucco, polished with Earthcote wax. The coating has a ‘smoothas-glass’ feel. A trio of Indian glass pendant lamps illuminate the space, and natural light pours in through numerous skylights, windows and sliding doors. A common theme throughout Villa Sol is the use of natural textures and repurposed materials. “I wanted to maintain the character of the house by reusing
“WE COME TO VILLA SOL TO DRINK IN THE PERVASIVE SENSE OF PEACE AND TRANQUILLITY.” JEANNIE HOLMES, OWNER OF VILLA SOL
items from the original property,” says Sean, adding that the black cast iron stove from the original kitchen remains and the Oregon pine doors received a facelift. Earthy tones and a judicious choice of finishes, combine to deliver a rustic but sophisticated feel. Sean describes the home as a truly ‘handcrafted house’. “Nothing is shop-fitted,” he explains, “every detail of this house has been built on-site; from the solid concrete countertops to the custom-built oak kitchen cabinets, the bespoke reclaimed teak headboards, built-in cupboards, vanities, dressing tables and fireplace mantle.” Accents of green throughout the property pay homage to Jeannie’s favourite colour. A luxurious emerald green velvet sofa brightens the lounge. This is where the family gathers in the winter months around the ceramic fire pot to warm up after surfing, spearfishing, snorkelling or paddling sessions. Shades of jade, sage and teal in the soft furnishings echo the tones of the forest and ferns outside. Custom-designed lighting adds dramatic appeal.
Clean lines and minimalistic design continue into the five spacious and charmingly named en-suite guest rooms. ‘Sunbird’ is the ground floor master suite, featuring a huge bathtub and walk-in shower. The room opens via stacking doors onto the terrace. On the first floor, ‘Moonshine’ has panoramic views of the glistening lagoon. On the same floor, the sumptuous ‘Sundown’ suite’ features a large private balcony and a ceramic wood-burning stove, as well as an uninterrupted view of the setting sun and Wilderness beach.
the renovation. “When we completed the project, it crept into my identity,” claims Sean. “I was hoping no-one would book to stay here so that we could keep it for ourselves!” Villa Sol represents an anchor to Sean’s childhood home. “Wilderness keeps pulling me back,” he says, “I’m hoping that someday we can move back here.” His wife Jeannie agrees that Wilderness is heaven. “We come to Villa Sol to drink in the pervasive sense of peace and tranquillity.”
The lavish second-floor suite is named after Sean and Jeannie’s daughter, Ocean, and commands wraparound views of ocean, beach, coastal cliffs and river mouth. Soundproof glass is used throughout the house to block out the ambient sounds. A romantic loft bedroom, ‘Indi’, named after the couple’s youngest daughter and accessed via a floating staircase, perches on the third floor. Perfect for sun-seekers and stargazers, the suite’s twin balconies offer earth-to-sky views of the beach, village and indigenous forest. All the rooms have uncapped WIFI, smart TVs, extra length king or queen size beds and fully equipped kitchenettes. It is clear that the couple has poured their hearts into
“Our hearts and souls reside here”
See directory of suppliers on page 94
PHOTOGRAPHS LANA LAUBSCHER
Sharing her passion for the Outeniqua Mountains is Lana Laubscher, 27, a resident George biokineticist, daring ‘jump’ photographer and artist who was recently recognised by the Global Creative Tribe, a movement that uses creative arts as a way to make an impact in communities.
VI EW F R OM T HE T O P I HAVE SUCH A DEEP DESIRE TO INSPIRE PEOPLE TO EXPERIENCE CREATION in a way that brings them to a realisation that there is a divine creator that purposefully created everything.
THE GARDEN ROUTE IS ONE OF THE MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACES ON EARTH. My Border Collie, Gina, is my adventure partner and she’s usually the one to steal the show. I’m just as energetic and lively as most Border Collies, which makes us a good team for the outdoors! I LOVE EXPLORING AND FINDING NEW VIEWS REGARDLESS OF HOW PHYSICALLY EXERTING IT CAN BE. I’ve been to almost every mountaintop in the Garden Route and found caves that are undiscovered. I’ve explored waterfalls that make you feel like you’re on holiday in Hawaii and jumped down overhangs that take your breath away. EVERY DAY IS YET ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY FOR ME TO ACKNOWLEDGE HOW EXHILARATING LIFE CAN BE. I’ve lived on the Garden Route for five years but if you were to see all the places I’ve discovered, you’d think I’d been living here my entire life.
I WAS PURSUING MY DREAM OF BECOMING A PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE when I developed a knee injury that required three surgical operations in less than two years. Unfortunately I had to kiss my professional sporting career goodbye which led me into the biokinetic field as I went through many rehabilitations during that time. AFTER MY HONOURS DEGREE, I had to complete a one-year internship, which can be completed at any registered practice in the country. I grew up in the
small town of Sasolburg in the Northern Free State and I couldn’t wait to get out into the “world”. When I typed “George” into the Google search engine, surprisesurprise, what popped up as the first image? The mountains! SOME THINGS PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ABOUT ME are that I achieved Protea colours for Metallic Silhouette shooting, I’m also a pretty good chess player… and although I’m a social butterfly, I love spending time alone.
MOST PEOPLE DON’T ENJOY THE UNKNOWN, but I see it as an opportunity to experience something new. I love taking photos of undiscovered places and sharing my photos and stories with the world.
Follow Lana on Instagram @laansninja
AND THE BEAUTIFUL
You donâ€™t need a time machine to live in the moment - you just need a classic car, as Richard Webb discovers
look up through the trees at the sky and I have a strange feeling of being happy – as if every childhood dream has collided into this one moment. All these leaves and trees, the flowers, the birds and the smell of the sea please me so much that I want to take it in, pure and unadulterated. I’m in my 1968 Alfa Romeo Spider – she’s named Sophia – and I’ve just crested the snaking ribbon of black-top that is the N2. Passing George, I descend deep amongst the contour lines of the Kaaimans River Gorge. Passing Dolphin Point and the soulreplenishing sights of Wilderness with the vastness of the Indian Ocean beyond. It is here that I have been finding treasures in places I did not expect. It is within this Garden Route that classic cars just fit, as if they were aged, not through the process of being old and ugly but rather by the simple virtue of being bold and beautiful.
‘Oh, Wilderness, Wilderness When did I feel your most euphoric kiss? Were you the source of my greatest bliss?’ A play on a quote from Roman Payne’s novel, The Wanderess
Many such beautiful treasures have passed through the hands of Norman Frost, who is himself a classic, with over 40 years’ experience in dealing in them. “It was within a short time of moving to Knysna in 1989 that I set up the classic car venue in an old Shell Service station,” Norman tells me.“Reputation is critical for the long-term. There’s a lovely Mercedes-Benz W123 230e that I have sold a record nine times over,” he says, which speaks into his repute. Norman has seen strong demand for MGAs, MGB GTs and Roadsters, Triumph TR 3s and 4s and also Chevrolets, Mercedes-Benz’ and Jaguars of the mid 50s
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to late 60s. “It’s really all about nostalgia – buyers remember the cars their dads had, or in which they were dropped off at school,” says Norman. “Younger buyers are more interested in Alfa Romeos and BMWs.” His tips for future classics? “The Mercedes-Benz R107 and short-wheel base Land Rovers are set for classic stardom.” Cape Town-based specialist Jason Groenevelt– of JB Classic Cars – also sells to many buyers in the Garden Route. “We don’t have any problems finding the cars people want within their budget, “he explains. “30s to 40s American metal are unloved, whilst classic BMWs have seen big gains in value, yet Ferrari’s 308’s have reduced 20% in value in just the last few months.” I asked Bruce Henderson, chairman and founding member of the South Cape Centre of the MGCC for his pick of local events. “We have been involved with the Knysna Simola Hillclimb since its inception and we assist the Garden Route Motor Club with the Knysna Motor Show – which makes a very substantial annual donation to charity. “We also have an annual Christmas prawnbraai at the Knysna Angling Club, followed a week later by the ‘Gasoline Alley Braai’ – a joint Garden Route and MG Club supported street party with live 60s music.”
CLASSIC CAR CONTACTS frostbrothers.co.za jbclassiccars.co.za mgcarclubsc.co.za speedfestival.co.za sedgeclasscars.co.za
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OF A STRONG COMMUNITY Chantal Rutter
ot so long ago a friend reminded me of a Margaret J. Wheatley quote: “There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” I like this. It resonates with me. As people flock to secure estates and a safer, better quality of life along the Garden Route, I question whether it’s helped us to foster the more intimate sense of community we’re looking for because secure living does not necessarily a community spirit make. Nor does scenic beauty. Nor does exclusivity. What does, I believe, is care. This same friend told me a story of several elderly women in Blanco, some are illiterate, few can drive, but they have formed a group that offers voluntary palliative care to members of the community who are in the final stages of cancer. They offer companionship, conversation and finally physical care until the patient passes away. This selfless act of caring for a stranger stirs me. And you’ve never met a bunch of happier, livelier, purpose-driven people.
spiritual retreats to choose from. There are clubs, societies, and organisations. But before you give of yourself, there has to be trust. To take it one step further and initiate communal influence- people need to know what to expect from each other and from the space they live and move in. A security expert told me recently that putting alarms, security fences and burglar bars aside, the best line of defense against crime is a strong community spirit with people knowing about each other and looking out for each other. For community spirit to have longevity everyone needs to bring something of value to the party to make it better for someone else. George Child and Family Welfare has more than 700 children in foster care. Many more homes are needed. This spirit won’t have value if there are no differences, but working together towards a greater goal, such as driving tourism and economic opportunities to the Garden Route, taking care of the sick or infirm, or helping feed or foster, are all great examples of community spirit which make us feel good.
Community is not just about belonging it’s also about giving of Above all and most importantly a a sense of community comes sense of community comes from yourself; it’s a psychological connection in which everyone together from the power of being able the power of being able to tell or forms part of something. There’s make another human being feel that to tell or make another a powerful exchange through they matter. Give something of value human being feel that a shared experience. We have and accept something you don’t they matter various cultural communities - take have that’s of value to you. Change, South Africa’s largest Rastafarian growth, and well-being come from community outside Knysna or caring and recognising that age-old the foodie community which has markets, principle that the sum of the parts is greater artisanal eateries, and crafts; there are dozens than the whole. This is the kind of community of communal churches, places of worship or that I, for one, want to live in.
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A peek into the Summer issue of South Magazine