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Of all the things that came flooding through my mind as I stared sedately down the weathered front steps of La Estancia’s verandah, across the lawn, beyond the dam and into the valley below, it was the words of Arthur O’Shaughnessy that stirred me most. With my gaze firmly harnessed on the pink light clipping branches and bouncing off water – as the sun began to set behind the Paarl mountains – wafts of jasmine crept their way up the low walls and into my lap. Resident black eagles, hawks, kites and buzzards swept through the sky, over the ancient olive groves, citrus and guava orchards, the buchu and the fynbos. Wisteria smothering the out-houses, caught the corners of my eyes as the words, “we are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams” left my lips.

As with most of us, La Estancia farm and her old olives have a story to tell. Weaving in and out of the northern border of the 69-hectare property rests the remnants of the original Du Toitskloof Pass – dating back to 1850. Cattle traders carrying hurricane lamps would hall their herds up the steep hills in the night, reaching the top of the pass by midday so that the “hard” part of their journey was behind them before the heat set in. Dollops of history were dug up and retrieved when the current owner undertook the mammoth task of clearing the regrowth and alien vegetation that had pervaded the old pathways. 19th Century treasures left behind by the farmers linger beneath the soil and under rocks, awaiting discovery.

The old and dignified olive groves are courtesy of the Italian prisoners-of-war who set up camp in the area in the early 1940’s, and began building the Du Toitskloof Pass that exists today. Upon completion of the pass five years later, the prisoners pleaded with authorities to remain in South Africa, and not be extradited to Italy. On the condition that they returned with gifts, the prisoners were sent home, with the permission to come back a year later. Many returned with olive saplings – what they believed to be tesoro della terra – and planted these treasures of their land on the slopes of the farm.

At night, barks from the old lady leopard reverberate the caves of the Du Toitskloof Mountain as she calls out to her cubs. Quickly picked up by the baboons who’ve set up shop at the top of the pass. Barn owls alert the klipspringers that disturb the docile Cape Fox who was sleeping rather fantastically. A flurry ensues and so the wilderness that surrounds comes alive with the night.

That’s the thing about this captivating piece of paradise. Whether you’re sitting on the verandah or driving up to the lookout point with a cooler box of the good stuff, you’re too busy with the beauty you forget the city is a short drive away. Whether you’re hiking the hills, traversing the water trails or lazing beside the swimming pool. Tending to the vegetable garden or ducking and diving in the dam. You might even be doing what I was inspired to do, and convert one of those out-houses into an art studio and begin that masterpiece. Maria Callas is bellowing out of the glass windows and ricocheting against the tennis court wall.

A fleeting moment of inspiration began to flow – like the perennial rivers meandering the farm – as nature’s subtle charm engulfed and surreptitiously persuaded me to believe that I was indeed a cog in her wheel. Tonight, on La Estancia’s verandah, I shall co-create her music, and continue to dream my dreams.

SPECS:

  • Erf Size: 69 ha
  • Buildings: 800 m2
  • Arable land: 35 ha
  • Olives trees: 2 600 (6.65 ha)
  • Buchu plants: +/- 60 000 (23.9 ha)
  • Citrus and Guava orchards
  • Main Farmhouse: 2 bedrooms en suite
  • Manager’s House and two one bedroomed guest cottages
  • Pool and tennis court (floodlit)
  • Two offices, wine Cellar, store rooms and two workshops
  • Garage
  • Two horse paddocks
  • Dam, two reservoirs, two boreholes, gravity fed irrigation
  • Two perennial mountain streams with two waterfalls

Price: R25M (EXCLUDING VAT)

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Paarl

Of all the things that came flooding through my mind as I stared sedately down the weathered front steps of La Estancia’s verandah, across the lawn, beyond the dam and into the valley below, it was the words of Arthur O’Shaughnessy that stirred me most. With my gaze firmly harnessed on the pink light clipping

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