The Matroosberg Reserve is situated on a fruit, vegetable and protea farm. This tour will take the visitors to the various farming activities.
- Distance: 10km
- Walking: very little
- Vehicle: (1.) Up to 7 visitors – 4x4 VW Syncro (2.) 8 to 75 visitors – 4x4 Bedford ex-military truck
Brief history of farming in this area:
The original farm stretched from here to the farm Tweedside, close to Matjiesfontein – more than 100km! In later years this area was farmed from a farmstead about 20 km from here and this here was used as a livestock outpost for a few months a year. Now we have 130ha of pears and apples, 35ha of onions, 30ha of proteas and very little livestock (only for private use). The limiting factor is water, as you can only farm in the dry summer with the water that is stored during the winter. Places to visit – the order may differ, depending on the current activities.
Management – Smith family:
Father – André is trying to retire, but still plays an active role in tourism on Matroosberg. He loves interacting with the guests and making sure everyone is happy and well.
Mother – Cora rather wants to look after the grand children and do the cooking, however she loves to spoil a guest with a freshly baked bread, straight from the oven.
Daughter – Didi is responsible for tourism marketing, bookings and catering, she is also an abseil and high rope instructor. She does an Edutainment course with the children and has a passion for the children of the farm workers, which she schools in the afternoons. She also runs a project with these kids to teach them to make items they can sell at reception and so earn their pocket money. Each child is saving for something specific and works hard to get to their goal.
Manager – Waldo is responsible for all the maintenance on Matroosberg, new building projects, marketing, abseiling and high ropes, as well as quad bikes and mountain safari’s. Waldo is also responsible for bookings and receiving of guests. He has to know everything and be available all the time… suppose that is why none of the Smith’s did apply for his job… 🙂 We do love him however!
Son – Cordré is the financial manager and he is the one that has to do all the hard work around here, like the farming of apples, pears, onions and potatoes.
Granddaughter – Zilke is responsible for the returning of the key-deposit’s on a Sunday and managing the reception. She loves this job, for then she can play computer games and facebook (she is only 12). Zilke also do a few quad bike trips with families and are very well equipped for this task.
Sheepdog – Lukas (it’s a girl) will stay with you for the weekend or holiday, if you drive a 4x4 or you are the first to arrive. When you enjoy a tranquil weekend, she just might give you up for some more action. She is 6 years of age and has been on TV and on the front page of many newspapers. She also saved the lives of 3 groups of people on different occasions. We will ever be able to replace her – she is one of a kind.
Cat – PTS (put to sleep) was saved from being put down at our local vet and have taken a liking in our guests. She is a very silent but affectionate cat.
Horse – Samurai. What a beauty. He loves the guests feeding him all kinds of treats and responds well to children. But it is always better to stay away from his big feet.
Parrot – Zazu is a very entertaining bird and just loves the children. He normally encourages the kids to jump with him and he will “hello” and “bye” everyone.
All of the above plays an active role in Matroosberg Private Nature Reserve and we would not be complete if we loose one of them. We would like to thank them all for the long hours they put in, the passion they have for the business and the pride they take in what they do. It is a privilege to work with a competent team!
Livestock: Sheep and horses
Onion Fields: Planting in October, harvesting from January to March. Yield: up to 80 tons per ha. We plant 670 000 plants per ha.
Onion Pack Shed: Capacity 3500 pockets (35 tons) per day with a crew of 22.
Apple Orchard: Royal Gala, planted 1954, spacing 20 foot x 20 foot, 269 trees per ha. Reworked to Royal Gala in 1996. Yield = max 30 ton per ha, 700 apples per tree.
Culling: There are about 3500 blossoms/apples per tree, must reduce to 700.
Apple Orchard: Planted 1986, 4.5x2 meter, 1111 trees per ha, 46ha = 51106 trees, Yield: up to 80 tons per ha, 3600 tons for the orchard = 224800 boxes.
Storage Dams: Dam 2: 527 000 cubic meters, Dam 3: 292 000 cubic meters, Dam 4: 397 700 cubic meters.
Total All Dams: 1 937 200 cubic meters to irrigate 130Ha fruit and 35Ha vegetables. Also used for trout (fly-fishing) sport and recreation (water skiing).
Labour Housing: Three bedrooms, kitchen, living room, full bathroom, outside storage room, electricity (subsidised by 60%), hot water.
Labour Force: 20 families (for both farms), all men and most women work. Some families have been with us for more than 20 years. One family have a third generation working here. A primary school is on a neighbouring farm and transport is provided to the school. We supply land where the workers can grow their own potatoes to market at a profit, as well as grazing for their sheep.
R120 per person.