Two immediate questions come to mind when the words ?Rheendendal Ramble? are spoken namely, ?Why has the Rheenendal Ramble been established? and ?what is the purpose of the Rheenendal Ramble??
Seen a branch of one of the original pioneering families of the Cape colony establish themselves in a virgin area and laboriously build up a worthy asset. The characters of this family may be described by their determination and an ability to have a strong vision of the future.
Hence the birth of the ?Rheenendal Ramble?. It felt necessary to share with others the beauty of this area and what it has to offer. To present the historical value and expose the hidden talents along the way. Our aim is to see visitors to the area come and enjoy the day with all that is on offer or to spend a night or two in one of the many accommodation choices.
A route designed to share with you the history and tales of the Knysna forest, the Knysna woodcutters, the Millwood Gold rush and of course the Knysna elephants. Very recent sightings of these magnificent animals in front of the Bendigo mine up in the Millwood area and separate sightings of fresh dung and twisted trees.
To offer activities for both the young and the old. Some of many include:
Walking trails through the indigenous Knysna forest, informative guided tours, overnight hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, birding, bee keeping courses, guided mine tours, picnics, kloofing, swimming and simply just relaxing. 2012 marked the centenary of the arrival of the Van Reenen family in the Barrington & Rheenendal district.
It was in 1920 that the Van Reenen Family purchased the Rheenendal farm. Registration of the farm was due to be made at the Deeds Office in Cape Town, as it was necessary for the farm to have its own name. For some obscure reason the solicitors must have decided on their own initiative to name the farm ?Fescue Meadows?, fescue being the name of a particular species of fodder. Why they should have chosen this name is unknown. There certainly was no fescue grass on the property. It is remembered that a telegram had arrived in the post bag from the George Post Office, which handled the mail in those days, to the effect that the property was about to be registered and that the name Fescue Meadows was suggested. The Van Reenens did not approve of this inappropriate name, and it was Florence Eleanor Van Reenen (Tottie), who suggested that the farm be named ?Rheenendal?, and so have some connection with the family name, and also with the place Rheenen in Holland which had family connections with her husband?s forebears.
And so it was that ?Rheenendal? became the name of the farm, and, accordingly, a telegram was hurriedly despatched to the attorneys in Cape Town, which, fortunately, arrived in time for them to do the necessary registration in that name at the Deeds Office.
When Mr PJ Van Reenen snr was able to take occupation of the farm he started farming operations there and commuted between Redlands and Rheenendal, sometimes on horseback, other times by bicycle but mostly on foot. He claimed that this slower mode of transport as compared with using a Cape cart enabled him to think and try to sort out the many problems that
confronted him at that time. The story is told that once, when using the bicycle, he was so deep in thought that when he got to the Klein Homtini he dismounted and went towards the water, thinking for a moment that he was on horseback, to give his ?horse? a drink.
We invite you to come take a slow drive and Explore...Discover... and Experience!
What the Ramble can do for YOU
Eat: A plethora of restaurants and tea gardens await you offering a cornucopia of food dishes, teas and coffees as well as decadent treats. The ?ramble? offers this in a tranquil environment that distances itself from the hustle, bustle and noise so often that infiltrates our daily lives.
Sleep: With a list as long as one?s arm, there are not only a multitude of top rated establishments along the the Rheenendal main route, but those tucked away alongside or close to the indigenous Millwood forest off the beaten track ranging from self-catering accommodation, to bed and breakfasts. And with a number of opportunities on the ?ramble? to host an event, conference or business workshop, there is plenty of accommodation around. Endulge yourself for a weekend away right on your doorstep - it?s a whole new world.
Play: Play in the forest; enjoy a swim at Drupkelders in the natural rock pools surrounded by nature at its best, or picnic at Jubilee Creek while family and children re-energize themselves. Explore the forest with a guided walk or visit the Millwood Mine. Browse the many different local craft and artists that ply their various talents from clothing to soaps, paintings to doll making, photography to cheese making and more.
Release some energy mountainbiking through the fynbos of the forest, or a leisurely stroll around the ?big tree? of Dalene Mathee and Circles in the forest. And if it?s mind, body and soul you?re looking for, the ?ramble? has this too.
So, Explore... Discover... and Experience! It?s a whole New World out there.