It doesn’t get more local than Lucas – that’s Lucas with the L for ‘local’ ;-) A through-and-true Elandsberger, Lucas was born here, and started working at the Farmhouse in 1997. Of course, the L in Lucas could also be for ‘laughing’, because that’s what he’s known for – for making people laugh with a joke or two; or three if the party needs a little kickstart. Or wait a minute, could the L in Lucas perhaps be for ‘Linda’, the beautiful BK kitchen assistant he married in 1998? Together Lucas and Linda are the proud parents of two daughters, and grand-parents of three grand-children – of which one has sadly passed away in 2020.
Lucas and Linda live at the farm. When Lucas is not at work, he can be found anchored in front of a TV screen, passionately rooting for his favourite rugby or cricket team.
1 February 2023 was a big day for Linda, two months before she turned the golden leaf of age fifty. The first of February marked the twenty-fifth year she has worked at Bartholomeus Klip. That’s a proud milestone for her, as well as for Bartholomeus Klip!
Born in Hermon, she married Elandsberg-born Lucas in 1998, and moved to the farm, where they’ve lived ever since, and where they’ve raised two daughters – Lucricia and Lucille. Linda and Lucas are the proud grand-parents of three beautiful grand-children – of which one sadly passed away in 2020.
Linda assists chef Louise at the Conservatory restaurant, and gets to do every day what she is most passionate about: making food, gardening, and …. singing. However, the first thing most people seem to notice about her, is her full-bodied belly laugh. By her own admission, “ek kan verskriklik klekker kraai” ;-)
Jana has been working at Bartholomeus Klip from the day we’ve opened our doors. But that does not reveal anything about her age, of course. Young at heart and with a never-fading twinkle in her eyes, Jana is always happy to greet a familiar face with a hug, a chat, and a laugh.
Jana has a real passion for hospitality and people (and netball, but that’s a story for another day), which shows in her many years of service in the hospitality industry. Born and raised on a local chicken farm in Hermon, it doesn’t get more local than Jana!
Unsurprisingly, when asked what she likes most about working at BK, Jana says “I love working with the guests, and talking to them …”
Miena was born at Elandsberg Farms, and trained and qualified as a professional chef. She loves what she does, and her passion for cooking mainly revolves around baking and cakes, while her other passion, dancing, usually takes place outside of the kitchen … unless a cake turns out exceptionally well!
Born in 1981, Doreen Adonis is the indispensable right hand of chef Louise at the Conservatory restaurant kitchen. When not at work, Doreen spends time reading at the dam, or with her four children.
If you manage to spot Stacey around Bartholomeus Klip, count yourself lucky. She moves faster than a ferret – more merrily than a meerkat, more abruptly than a badger, more swiftly than her own shadow. If you want something done yesterday, ask Stacey tomorrow ;-))
Stacey was born in 1991, and stays at Elandsberg Farms with her lovely young son. She started working at Bartholomeus Klip as a housekeeper in 2012, and after having worked here for so long, Stacey has become what interior designers refer to as “part of the furniture”. We, however, prefer to say that she has become “part of the family”.
B is of course for Bartholomeus Klip, but also for Beatrice Booysen, and for ‘benjamin’ – Beatrice is the youngest of the BK family. Born in 1993, she has has worked as a sales person for a building supplies store for five years, after completing Bergrivier High School, prior to her work at Bartholomeus Klip, which started in 2021.
You’re most likely to find Beatrice waltzing around elegantly where food and drinks are being served – whether at the Conservatory Restaurant, at the Deckhouse, or at any of the locations around the farm and nature reserve when we organise special celebrations, conferences and events.
When not at work, Beatrice spends quality time with her young daughter at her home in Hermon.
Sharon Elisan Hlalele (Klaase) was born at Elandsberg in 1983, and attended schools in Hermon and Wellington. After completing a degree in catering at Wamakersvallei Opleidingssentrum in Wellington, she started working as a waitress at Bartholomeus Klip, and later became a housekeeper. She got married in 2014, and is the proud mother of a daughter. When not at work, Sharon loves to read and watch TV, or help out people around her, for which she regularly attends workshops including “Turning the Tide of Trauma” and “Peer Community Co-Care Programme”.
Mike Gregor is the CEO of Rapula Farming, and has a deep interest in game breeding and conservation, including environmental education (eg. Lapalala Wilderness School)
He has an Honours degree in agriculture, and serves as a trustee on the board of the Cape Town Environmental Education Trust and is the Chairman of the Quagga Project.
Tourism is not for the faint-hearted. A major contributor to South Africa’s economy, tourism accounts indirectly for 8.2% of the country’s real GDP, and to 9.2% of national employment figures. Rick and Colette Taylor from the Business Tourism Company – two energetic globetrotters with a passion for Africa and all things tourism – have been instrumental in shaping and keeping our eyes glued to a unique, long-term vision for the Bartholomeus Klip brand and experience, in line with continent-wide tourism trends in Africa. You can find more about them here.
Hailing from the beautiful little town of Kuruman in the Northern Cape, Esmeralda discovered early on in life that what she wanted more than anything was working in nature, with animals. She started helping out at the local animal welfare while in grade ten, and loved it so much that she joined the SPCA in Kimberley after finishing high school, and continued her work at the SPCA during her studies.
But Esmeralda also knew that she wanted to do more than just helping out. She wanted to make a difference, and make a real contribution to nature conservation. For the next few years, she set out on formal trainings, completed the Field Guide training at the Goodhope Nature Reserve Academy in 2013, and certified as an official Field, Marine, Fynbos Biome, Game Lodge Management and Wildlife Guide with the Field Guides Association of Southern Africa (FGASA). She has worked at the Good Hope Nature Reserve from 2014 to 2017, and started working at BK in 2017 as a game ranger and field guide.
General manager Lesley Gillett hardly needs an introduction. One half of the twin sister duo that runs most of the show at Bartholomeus Klip, Lesley’s job is to ensure that your stay at BK is smooth and memorable. Born in Cape Town in 1977, Lesley spent most of her childhood in Ermelo, and later as a boarder at school in Nelspruit (Mbombela), both in Mpumalanga province east of Johannesburg. After a brief au-pair stint in Germany, she completed the FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) degree and started work for an overland travel company that took her to Zambia, Botswana and the Kruger National Park. She joined the team at Bartholomeus Klip in 2000, and was promoted to manager three years later.
On the rare occasions that Lesley is not juggling guests’ arrival times, dietary preferences and special requests with reservations, staff coordinations and grocery shopping, she will probably be found huddled up with foodie friends and Corgi dogs around a fire sharing stories, food and wine – probably at the house she shares with her sister at the farm, or somewhere quiet in the nature reserve. She loves people, and hospitality is simply in her blood: even when she’s not hosting guests at Elandsberg, she chooses to host friends. At Elandsberg.
Meet more team members
Our warm-hearted waitress Hillagardt Hendricks (or Hilla, as she is known here at BK) hails from a far-off place across the mountains – Worcester ;-) After finishing high school in 2008, she completed a nursing degree, and “passionate about working with people” she started working at the Andries Hamman Nursing Home, where she has cared for elderly until 2014.
Hilla’s marriage in 2016 brought her to Elandsberg, and to her new job as a waitress at the Conservatory restaurant at the Farmhouse. It allows her to do exactly what she’s good at and passionate about: caring for people, spending leisurely quality time with her husband and family, and living close to nature – as long as snakes and mice keep a respectable distance!
A brand and data protection manager during the day, and a philosophy student at dusk, Jeroen has been looking after BK’s brand image and online client relations for almost 10 years. It allows him to juggle his formal training in law and philosophy with his creative urges.
Jeroen looks after our website and social media accounts, writes our email newsletters, designs our menus, and manages our advertising campaigns and data protection compliance.
But her absence from the BK public stage is in shrill contrast with the important roles she plays behind the scenes. Born in the UK but raised in Gauteng, Nicola was initially employed in 1999 as a nature conservationist at Elandsberg almost immediately after completing her studies. Since 2012 officially the administration and human resources manager for the farm, reserve and guesthouse, Nicola is the talkative and relentlessly helpful glue that keeps staff and various business interests together.
Nicola flutters between bookkeeping, payroll, and management meetings, helping out with events, assisting with nature conservation projects, managing sheep stud software, and planning Christmas parties for the farm children, to name just a few of her responsibilities. Occasionally she can be found chatting to our farmer while catching a lift on the combine harvester or tasting Louise’s latest creations – someone has to 😉
Born and raised in Wellington, gardener Peter John spends most of his time exactly where he prefers to: in nature, surrounded by plants and flowers and trees. He’s been looking after BK’s garden since 2022. When not at work, the thirty-year old father of three loves to wind down with cricket and pool, or by washing his car. He’s known for his love of a good joke – especially the naughty kind!
Melissa van Wyk was born and raised at Elandsberg Farms, and has stayed on the farm ever since – initially as a young girl that loved dancing and roaming the beautiful lands around BK, today as a mother of two boys and a girl, and as a loving wife to an amazing husband.
Her working life started as a seasonal farm worker, but quickly progressed to a more permanent job at a nearby farm as a housekeeper and butchery assistant. It was here that Melissa learned the skills that prepared her for her job as kitchen assistant at Bartholomeus Klip, where she has been working since 2021.
A lot has changed since Melissa first set foot on Elandsberg Farms, but some things will never change: Melissa still loves to dance to music and spend time in nature with her family!
Trax comes from a long line of working German Shorthaired Pointers – a dog breed that is traditionally renowned for accompanying hunting parties and retrieving game on both land and water. After successfully passing his natural ability test in April 2023, Trax’s training is focused entirely on developing his scent, with the purpose of becoming our very first, very own Elandsberg Geometric Tortoise Detection dog. Woof!
This is of course no coincidence, but due to a resident chef that has made it her life’s mission to challenge, and find new ways to please the palette. Enter Louise Gillett, who together with twin sister Lesley, makes up the power team behind BK’s hospitality.
Louise insists on finding a balance between her South African and Italian roots, and the latest trends and culinary experiences she has picked up along her culinary travels and career – spanning South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Turkey, Thailand and London. She has once, in an uncharacteristically self-indulgent moment of quiet contentment, described her creations as
A certified and well-experienced tracker and guide, Mariske can be found guiding guests in the Elandsberg Nature Reserve, processing admin at the office, and serving drinks at the restaurant – all in a day’s work. You guessed it, that’s Mariske with an “M” for multitasking ;-)
Born in Worcester, Mariske matriculated at Swartland High School in 2011, and started her first job at Buffelsdrift in Oudtshoorn as part of her Nature Site Guide certification in 2013. After this hands-on introduction to safari tourism, Mariske went on to be a private guide and host at Inverdoorn in Ceres, during which time she was given the opportunity to spend a year at Fathala Wildlife Reserve in Senegal.
In 2019, Mariske decided to add Hospitality Management to her formal training, and after a brief position (as temporary relief manager) at Woodbridge Lodge, found her professional home at BK.
After growing up in the forests of Knysna, he attended Grey High School in Port Elizabeth, studied Nature Conservation at Saasveld College in George, and gained his first work experience in the United Arab Emirates, capturing and breeding wildlife at the Sharjah Desert Park. Back in South Africa, Bernard has specialised in black rhino and buffalo capture, relocation and release for National Parks in the Eastern Cape.
After having set up and managed the buffalo breeding programme (until all buffalo were relocated to Lapalala Wilderness in 2019), he is now the Elandsberg Nature Reserve Manager, as well as the Herd Manager and Studbook Keeper for the official Quagga Project and in charge of the Geometric Tortoise Headstart Project. He is also Chairman of the local nature and biodiversity focused Renosterveld Conservancy, where he coordinates alien plant removal and assists with the fighting of fires on and around the Lemietberg mountains which surround Bartholomeus Klip, and he manages the fresh water supply for the Farmhouse from the springs in the mountain, as well as recycling and snake and bee removal.
Born in 1989, Ursula Cloete – or ‘Nona’ as she is known here at BK – attended primary and high schools in Riebeek Kasteel and Malmesbury before she took on a job as a cashier at SPAR, where she worked for four years. She moved to Elandsberg Farms in 2016, and has been living here with her husband and three beautiful children (two boys and a girl) ever since.
Starting out as a housekeeper in 2016, Nona’s curiosity and eagerness to educate herself has enabled her to be promoted to the position of ‘Head of Housekeeping’ she takes up at BK today.
When not at work, Nona likes to dance, and to knit and be creative, and to spend time in her home garden or wherever she can be close to nature. Most of all she enjoys learning from other people – learning from their experiences, or sharing new experiences with them.
After spending most of her younger years in Gauteng, and some of her working years in office management, Jackie decided to settle with husband and dogs in Riebeek Kasteel in 1999. It is where she found her true passion: working with animals, being out in nature. Jackie has been looking after Elandsberg’s tortoise population since 2015 – initially as a volunteer, today as a manager for the Geometric Tortoise Headstart Project, and as a personal trainer for Trax, our very own Geometric Tortoise Detection dog.