Did you have any experience in the hospitality industry before you became a property owner?

No I come from a corporate world. Studied as an actuary and worked in the insurance industry both here and abroad before falling in live with the winelands.


Can you describe the journey you went on from the moment you decided you would like to acquire your own hotel/lodge to the moment it was official?

The farm we purchased was derelict so it was a long process of planting the vines and olive groves, restoring the old and creating the new buildings to fully show case the beauty of our mountains and valley.  One such building was an abandoned pack shed that became our first 8 rooms. We now have 23 rooms, 2 restaurants, a cellar and plans for expansion.


What properties do you currently have in your portfolio?

We have diverse property holdings with the jewel in the crown being Val du Charron. 


Have you had any mentor(s) along the way, and how important were they to your development?

I am blessed to have made some amazing friends in the hospitality industry who have provided sage advice, shared a laugh over the environment we work in and even shed a tear during Covid.


Have you ever had to open a hotel / lodge? What unique skills would you say it requires to do so?

Yes. One must be an intrinsic host/ess. Never forget that in this industry you are the maker of guests’ dream holidays and occasions, and many happy hours – both literally and figuratively.


From the day you become owner of your first property, until today, you must have learnt so much. If you could share any one piece of sage guidance, to new owners, what would it be?

Don’t undervalue your worth both as a property and as a hospitality professional- however big or small you are, there is a space in the market for you.


I imagine that owning a property in a small town would come with different dynamics to a property in a big city. The same would go for a beach property on an island or a bush lodge in a remote corner of the world. Can you share how one adapts to managing in different environments?

We are in a rural environment  – no municipal water, sewage, waste etc – and being farmers we are subject to weather – fire season, extreme heat, lots of rain and the occasional wind  – but come rain or shine the show needs to go on and the guest has to not even notice. The adage a boer maak ‘n plan is really true!*

Staffing is also a challenge especially post Covid but we plough on with training and getting the community to appreciate the value of tourism.

* [‘a farmer makes a plan’ – a common South African saying]


What has been the most unexpected pleasure that has come with owning a hotel/lodge?

The friends in the industry I have made.


How important is it for owners such as yourself to visit and experience other properties?

Extremely! One needs to keep reinventing a property and finding relevance for an ever changing guest – base. It is very inspiring to see what others are doing and educational. 


How is your establishment contributing to the greater good & making the world a better place?

Being a wine farm we are part of WIETA and IPW.


What is your ideal or favourite holiday destination?

I love to eat and drink interesting things in beautiful places – so as long as these criteria are met I am happy! I seek out culinary destinations. Most recently Turkey.


What is your favourite wine or dessert?

I don’t have a sweet tooth but love cheese of any kind. Wine – oh that is a tough one for a wine farmer. Only one? I will have to say one with an alcoholic content.


What is your favourite savoury dish?

I love to experiment with food so I am still discovering. I would have to go with an Indo Chinese Gobi Manchurian.


What favourite hidden gem, near your establishment, should we visit?

Bainskloof- such history, beauty, fynbos and fun road to drive/cycle.