In just under 20 years of operation, the guesthouse has built a solid reputation for its impeccable farm-style hospitality, idyllic location in a peaceful country atmosphere and deliciously fresh food. Ten thousand acres of nature reserve with over 500 head of game, a working farm, wheatlands, flocks of sheep and a buffalo and tortoise breeding project invite no more than ten guests at a time to enjoy walking, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing and birdwatching, or just to switch off and relax. Bartholomeus Klip is located in the senic Riebeek Valley near Cape Town, and is an excellent base for exploring the Cape Winelands.
You are welcome to make the house your own, perhaps in one of the reception rooms where an open fire crackles in the winter months, or on the broad verandah that winds around the house and catches the late afternoon sun. There are four double rooms with bathrooms in the beautifully furnished farmhouse and one separate suite outside, with its own secluded verandah looking over the veld and up to the mountains. Finishes everywhere are luxurious and stylish, with crisp cotton bedding and elegant fabrics.
Responsible tourism has been a central concept to everything we do at BK since we started in 1997. Our values, ethos and mission statement all speak to the triple bottom line of responsible tourism: economic growth, environmental integrity and social justice. In fact, BK was started as a way of providing meaningful employment to the wives and family members of our farm workers. The guesthouse provides an environment, along with training and mentorship, for the ladies (and the occasional gent) to explore their different talents, help contribute financially to the household and use as a platform to launch their careers.
At the heart of our business is our commitment to the environment. The Elandsberg Nature Reserve was formally declared a provincial nature reserve in 2008 in recognition of its importance to conservation. Its botanical value is incalculable since it preserves the largest remaining portions of two highly threatened Renosterveld and fynbos plant communities. Bartholomeus Klip has signed up with Cape Nature’s Stewardship programme to safeguard the reserve in perpetuity, and has played a central role in the Quagga revival project. Besides doing educational nature drives for our guests, our rangers are also involved in the reserves Geometric Tortoise head-start project – a means of providing protection and ensuring the survival of this critically endangered tortoise after the devastating fires of 2012. For fun they also get to help with the feeding and care of our disease free buffalo herd.
The restaurant at BK deserves special mention. Resident Chef Louise Gillett’s imaginative fusion of traditional South African and classic recipes, made mostly from a variety of local ingredients, produce an ongoing feast of delicacies, all day long, from breakfast over brunch and lunch to high tea and dinner. Chef Gillett has honed her skills in some of the top restaurants in South Africa and the United Kingdom, and has published the award-winning “Life on a Cape Farm – Country Cooking at Its Best” (Struik) with twin sister Lesley in 2013.
But BK wouldn’t work without the support of the surrounding community. Besides employing local staff and using local suppliers wherever possible, BK is also actively involved in the local primary school, with our “Coins for Kids” initiative bringing in welcome funds, and our assistance over the years with the Eco Schools programme having seen them achieve their Green Flag along with a greater understanding of the importance of the environment. Our reserve days are always well-received by the kids and I think the time they spend in the kitchen with Louise & Mina making milkshakes and bread are by far the best.
BK is situated in the “Swartland” – some 50 kilometres north of Cape Town, consisting of the regions between the towns of Malmesbury in the south, Darling in the west, Piketberg in the north and the Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel in the east. Jan van Riebeeck called this softly undulating country between the
mountain ranges “Het Zwarte Land” (the Black Land) because of the endemic Renosterbos (elytropappus rhinocerotis). After the rains, mainly in winter, the Renosterbos takes on a dark appearance when viewed from the distance in large numbers. This is due to the fine leaf-hairs adhering to the leaves when wetted.