Vrede Vallei in Route 60, Swellendam, South Africa
We bought this farm in Swellendam 3 years ago in 2009. The land was bare. No buildings, no inner fences. My husband Ben has built it up. We now have a lovely home with long, cool verandahs. Thestructure is rustic but charming. Antiques, richly coloured persians and tapestries give the home a feeling of warmth and comfort. When we bought the farm 3 years ago, we had the choice of threeproperties bordering on each other. We bought the property on which the dam was built. The dam was built and for the first months, it was a gaping hole in the ground. It looked like a constructionsite. A small pool of water collected in the first months. When winter came it rained in earnest. The water levels rose until one glorious day, it overflowed for the first time. However, it stilltook the better part of 2 years for the dam to blend into its surroundings. Slowly but surely, natural veld started to cover the constructed sides and the dam wall. ?Now 3 years later, the dam blendsbeautifully with its surroundings. The depth of the dam is 5 meters. During our winter rainfall, the dam overflows for more than 2 months. In summer, our dry months, it drops with at least1+1/2metres. The surrounding hills and clouds reflect on the water's surface. Swallows fly low and graceful over the water. Yellow - billed ducks weave in and out of the reeds. Others swim in largecircles of eight. A grey winged Heron keeps a watchful eye on the shallow muddy edge. Two years ago my sons stocked the dam with black bass. They have adapted well and have increased in numbers andsize. A white breasted cormorant hangs its wings out to dry after diving into the deep water. A malachite kingfisher, the most beautiful of all the inland water birds, sits patiently on a nearbybranch. ? We have a four year old tabby called Mishka. Tom our year old Jack Russell and Mishka give us great pleasure with their antics. Mishka hunts, and at times, much to Toms delight brings herpoor captor's home. While I run for the broom, Tom and Mishka let the mouse go, only to catch it again, and again. Some have escaped with my help! Tom though young, is turning into a great companionand guard dog. ? At the end of last year I decided to have guests stay over on our farm. Some spend the night while on their travels. Others spend a few days on the farm. We have been blessed withwonderful folk and when they leave I always hope that someday we will see them again. We renovated a small shed and the French country look suits it well. The now cottage also runs on solar and has agas fridge, stove and geyser. There is no TV or microwave. However, it is a delight. A place to talk and to laugh. To read or play cards…..Above all, to enjoy the beautiful views and peace thatsurrounds you. Our guests never fail to mention a star studded sky, a rising moon, a setting sun.