Tuesday, October 26, 2010



We drove through the old farm gates of halfaampieskraal with a feeling of unbridled excitement.

It was just as Skye had described; the vast wheat and canola fields lay like faded sheets hung out to dry in the midday sun, and a party of white geese minced across the dust road, as if they had timed our welcome.


Cows surveyed our passage with a bored resignation, and weaver birds flicked by carrying fresh reeds for their nests. We had that lovely sense of knowing when the days ahead seem filled with endless possibility.

Jan-Georg Solms, owner of Halfaampies exudes nobility. This comes from being part of an Afrikaaner dynasty that goes back many generations in the farming community of Napier.


When weekend guests began to outnumber available accommodation in the manor house, Jan-Georg and his life-partner Cobus Geldenhuys transformed the old farm schoolhouse into a cluster of glorious en suite bedrooms.


They offer a romantic refuge for visitors overwhelmed by too much fresh farm air,and food from the manor house kitchen.

An unexpected lunch prepared by Zoe, the beautiful young chef, is one of those meals I will always remember. Farm boerewors alongside greens fresh from the garden, thick slabs of white farm butter and artisan bread served with Danish feta and plump red minted tomatoes.

I can't begin to describe the loveliness of sitting out on the stoep overlooking the bleached wheat fields, with lunch presented to us on large vintage platters. The addition of music, laughter and beloved friends made it unforgettable.


You cannot help but fall in love with Halfaampieskraal, so much so, that by the time Cobus looking for all the world like a Mills and Boon hero, finally walked through the kitchen door I was hard pressed not to fling myself into his arms.

Ok, fine, I did fling myself into his arms but such is the spell of Halfaampies that impulsive acts of adoration are quite understandable!

Later, after drinks by the pool, a walk along winding country roads and a visit to the resident farm animals we retire to our respective boudoirs and await the summons of the slave bell.

When it tolls and we make our way over to the dining-room, nothing prepares us for the dramatic splendour of the music, candles and flowers that await us.

A waterblommetjie risotto starter is followed by individually prepared lamb pies, accompanied by huge platters of roasted veg and fresh salad. The chocolate fondant desert is enough to make a grown man cry! For more!

Times seems to pass with an unfamiliar fullness at halfaampieskraal.

Each moment seems plump with life. 

In the end it is The Farmer, The 'Greek' and The Chef  seen here with an adoring Cath, who will steal your heart.

xxx elle

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