Mooiberge – seeing is believing
‘Oh, my gawd!’ I exclaim, as the full impact of the tableau across the road of the intersection with the R44 hits me. ‘We have to, have to stop off a minute and get a good look at that.’
We’re just turning onto the R44 that links Somerset West to Stellenbosch, en route to the Stellenbosch Botanical Garden, with Spier behind us (via a rather circular route, admittedly). Speak about advertising. If the hodge podge arrangement of what appears to be raggedy anne dolls, aeroplanes and very tall giraffe were a billboard, it would be exceedingly large and outrageously bright; virtually incandescent actually. One is drawn like a magnet…
We fall out of the car into the full heat of the day – it must be 40 degrees already, no kidding – to get a closer look. Breakfast, a rather jaunty blackboard placed strategically at the ramp to the farm stall announces, is served ‘die boere manier’ (the farmer’s way), with 2 eggs, 2 bacon, boerewors and 2 toast. And if that doesn’t do it for you, then a ‘healthy start’ is the muesli, yoghurt and fruit alternative or just plain eggs and toast.
Infront of the restaurant, next to the farm stall, which is in reality a rather small shop but stocked to the hilt, is this display that makes the huge strawberry at Lyndoch station at the garage look, well, rather pathetic by comparison. There is what looks like a papier mâché giraffe, the gaudy purple and pink neck of which rises above the little tree next to which it is perched. At its feet lie a bunch of vacant looking scarecrows, tied together with string.
But wait, there’s yet another giraffe, this one light blue, a scarecrow on its back, and what looks like a group of papier mâché figurines behind a wire fence, called the Mooiberg Sexy Star. An entire collection of little aeroplanes, a train engine of note called the strawberry choo-choo, and a real studebaker 1954 model (I think it’s a studebaker, but I wouldn’t know a real one if it jumped up and bit me), in mangled disrepair, but what kid wouldn’t want to clamber all over this?
But that’s where it gets a little difficult, as despite the incredible allure for children, it’s not particularly safe. Out of necessity, I assume, barbed wire has joined the tableau. And more than one child, I would imagine, has found his heel, or worse, nipped in the process of attempting to experiment with the individual characters and obvious rides – the grain fertiliser seed planter is so enmeshed with it that you can’t even get close to it – what a pity! Admittedly, there are rather obvious signs indicating that play in this particular playground is at your own risk, but then every park has one of these (signs). One doesn’t expect barbed wire.
I cast my eye over the sail boat and the windmill and the tower that begs children to scramble, and shepherd my five-year old back to the car. Okay, so it isn’t a playground, but it’s up there with Outsider art for entertainment value, and just about every establishment in the neighbourhood, from wine farms to accommodation venues in Stellenbosch, mention the Mooiberge farm stall. It’s something of a landmark.
But Mooiberge Farm Stall is actually about strawberries, and, at the right time of year – the season usually starts in November and runs through to February – this is where you can experience what it is to pick your own, whilst munching them straight off the plant. The idea is that you pay for what you pick (and what you manage to get into your mouth whilst picking is, well…)
The farm stall is a treat. Aside from the obvious jams and dried fruit, there are nuts, fresh fruit, drinks and any kind of snack you can think of. The place is brimming. But this is only a pitstop and we’re off again. Glad we stopped to have a look.
Useful Stellenbosch Links
- Stellenbosch Attractions
- Things to Do in Stellenbosch
- Stellenbosch Hotels
- Cape Winelands Hotels
- South Africa Hotels