This is the story of a mountain wilderness called “Kleinrivier”. The narrative starts today, yet today is neither the beginning or the end of the story.
The story began when six friends joined forces and finances to acquire an unproductive section of the Groot Winterhoek Mountains. The end is still shrouded in the mists of geological time.
Today is a critical day for Kleinrivier, 18 months since we last had any decent rain. 18 months that we have watched our herds of wildebeest, waterbuck and hartebeest decimated by the drought. 18 months to realise that the business plan which promised so much, had dried up along with our dams.
Today is the day I meet with the Nelson Mandela Bay Tourism team. Yes, Kleinrivier still has one asset left to sell. It is amazingly, stunningly, incredibly – BEAUTIFUL .
It was the beauty that first captivated Francois and I. A tiny add in the Weekend Post caught my eye – “3 rivers flow over this farm” it claimed. Three valleys – Yes. Flowing rivers? – Then, like now, Kleinrivier was in the middle of a drought. We bought Kleinrivier when it looked at its worst. The bone dry river beds were the easiest access into the mountains, no one had bothered to cut trails. The current owner was only interested in the 600hectares of bushveld at the bottom of the mountain. Here kudu abound along with other game that he hunted for the pot. The mountains belonged to the ghosts of the san people and a few hardy mountain club members.
6 months after we signed the papers the rains came and for the first time we experienced the joy of standing under a cascade of crystal clear, mountain water, feeling it pummel our heads and massage our backs. For eight years the rains held, the veld flourished and the game multiplied. But now the waterfalls are still. But not even the worst drought in decades can rob Kleinrivier of its beauty.