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Posted on: Monday, 10 August 2009
Eco-Tourism in August

Soekershof – discovering the mystery of all things through plants

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Soekershof (‘seekers garden’) invites an element of ‘seeking'; discovering the mystery of all things through plants that sometimes strikes a chord as we uncover a similar mystery within ourselves.

If you’re looking for unusual and you have a ‘thing’ for fat plants (more commonly known as succulents, and who is not attracted by these water-retaining plants, some of which come equipped with water-saving features, and manage to survive in arid climates?) then Soekershof belongs on your list of things to do …

 

 

Just 10 kilometres east of Robertson, Soekershof lies in Klaas Voogds West – 10 hectares of amazing mazes, a cactus labyrinth, a tree of growing creativity, the world’s largest hedge-maze, a stone-age cinema, a fingerpointing maze, earth sculptures, succulents you didn’t even know existed, and a touch of magic.

As Herman van Bon, the outspoken and sometimes outrageous creator, together with his partner Yvonne de Wit, of this gem on Route 62, says: “no garden stimulates associative minds as much as a succulent garden.”

Essentially Soekershof is a small, private botanical garden that manages to be at once entertaining and educational. It is described by its owners as a sacred enterprise, based on the appreciation of nature, humour, play, creation, expression and respect for the land, and the growth and development of the people and plants that participate.

It is a place of mystery, peace and thrilling interactive discovery. There are over 2 500 different types of succulents, and a nursery too, for those who simply cannot leave without the hope of producing similar somewhere in a patch of their own garden, where you can get personal advice on how best to cultivate your newly acquired organically grown fat plants!

At 11am sharp on days when Soekershof is open – that rules out Monday, Tuesday (unless you’ve prebooked), the last two full weeks of Feb, and in July after the school holidays – there is a maze quest with an introduction by Herman.

 

 

Herman describes the Klaas Voogds maze (one of its kind with a surface area of 13 870) as follows: “this maze is not a maze in the traditional sense of getting lost but is a reflection of life; walking from one story into another, which is represented by objects, as orientating points, towering above the hedges. However there are, as in life, also a few ‘stories’ you can look out for. And… you are invited to add a few of your own.”

With hours of contemplation and exciting discovery, a trip here is ideal for family outings, garden clubs, photo and film shoots, school outings, team building, weddings, or just about anything, really. Picnics can be arranged ahead of time and include a glass of handcrafted local wine, minus the sulphates!

The visitors’ centre is housed in the oldest existing building between Swellendam and Tulbagh, and includes a collection of handcrafted gifts made by local artists. Soekershof is a Fairtrade organisation and as part of its commitmentvest in local communities it sponsors the Klaas Voogds primary school, including teaching pupils basic horticultural knowledge and skills.

To quote Albert Einstein – “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.”

Contact Details: Located in Klaas Voogds West, Robertson. Telephone: +27 (0)23 626 4134

 

Photo Gallery: Click on the thumbnails to view large photographs of what awaits you at Soekershof.

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Wanda Coustas

About 

Wanda Coustas has written in one form or another for 10 years, seven of them as a copyblogger. She has travelled the Western Cape extensively and the rest of the country in protracted road trips that have given her both joy and an ongoing relish for experiencing what she writes about first-hand. She is a trained opera singer, poet, eurythmy dancer, philosopher, and bee whisperer.

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