What’s in a name?

Well we had been warned that it would not be a good idea to change a brand name and that we would be better to live with the name of the property rather than to establish another name. But it soon became obvious that no one actually knew what the name of the property was!

In order to make sure that we were pronouncing it correctly we asked French and Belgian (the previous owners were Belgian) colleagues how to pronounce ‘Les Hauts de Montagu’. So with our best French accent we introduced ourselves as LeO d’ Montagu to find we received completely blank stares – ‘where?’ ‘LeO d’Montagu on the R62, 3kms towards Barrydale’ – ‘Oh you mean Lez Outs’! (or Lays Oats or Lees Hats)

In fact we have heard so many interpretations and pronunciations of the Les Hauts name that at one point we considered reverting back to the original name of the farm Boontjiesrivier as being easier!

Eventually after much discussion and realising that most Klips, Kloofs and Kops had already been taken over we found our new name from a species of ‘Fynbos’ growing on the estate. Hopefully everyone will find it much easier to pronounce Galenia (Ga –len – ear).

When we closed for the season at the end of April we had a respectful removal of the old name on the front entrance walls and for a few weeks it has been left blank – our neighbours and the good people of Montagu must be intrigued, but at last we are proud to reveal to the world our new name.

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Behind these walls is a hive of activity with contractors in the rooms in the main house, creating new staff accommodation, landscaping the gardens and swimming pool and repairing the dam. But by 1st September we expect to be ‘up and running’ and doing our very best to establish our new name as a beacon of hospitality, peace and tranquillity in the Klein Karoo.

Progress on the patio

Over the last few weeks, since we have closed, progress has been in the right direction. Not finished yet, still a fair amount to be done, but everything is beginning to take shape.

 

The Main house’s patio which is being renovated as the new restaurant area, has undergone quite a lot of changes. The floor has been tiled, the two side windows taken out to make provision for the double doors, which then lead you onto the patio. The stairs going down from the patio have been adjusted, due to the height of the floor being increased, and planter boxes have been designed on either side. A company we are using, who are designing and manufacturing the frameless folding doors for the patio have taken their measurements, and hopefully by the end of this month they will be installed. A new lick of paint is now needed, and putting in new lights and electrical plug points, before the furniture gets put in.

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A tiered landscaped garden has been created moving down from the parking area to the reception and main door, with a lot of planting, and a new pathway is being installed linking suite 7 to 1. This also means the swimming pool area is also undergoing a makeover, but this will be left for a later blog.

 

So everything taking shape as the work continues. Still lots to be done, but we will keep you updated, as and when.

A dam fine thing

We love the dam in front of the property but it is not difficult to see that at one time it was MUCH bigger. The cause of the reduction in size is clearly apparent by the missing section in the north western retaining wall. We have been informed that this happened many years ago when the rapidly escaping water not only flooded the lower part of the estate but also took out a section of the R 62 road (connecting Montagu to Barrydale) close to our main gate!!!

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The previous owners of the estate were happy enough with the water being supplied from the kloofs in the Langeberg mountains behind the property and from the Boontjiesrivier and the numerous boreholes on the property and so did not repair the damaged ‘front’ dam. But in our opinion – in Africa one can never have too much water. So work has begun on clearing and compacting the bed of the dam and repairing the missing wall and then we will be praying for rain to fill it up.

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It is estimated that once completed the dam will hold 50 million litres of water – Google confirms that this is equal to TWENTY Olympic sized swimming pools – so in this year of the Olympics when you see them ‘dashing – or rather splashing – for gold’ in Rio you can have some idea as to how much water we are hoping to collect at Galenia.

Naturally Walter is delighted to have this improved and enhanced resource on the estate and is already dreaming of the water fowl and waders it will attract – we suspect that it won’t be long before a bird hide appears on the edge of the dam – perhaps even a webcam – Watch this space!

 

Africa Reps represents Galenia

On a recent visit to South Africa both Joel Crossland (MD of Africa Reps) and Stefania Saporetti (Director for Europe) paid a visit to Galenia to experience the property – even though it is looking a bit like a ‘war zone’ at present – and to sample the delights and potential of the surrounding area.

It was a second visit for Joel who did a reconnaissance visit before the purchase of the property was complete, but this was the first time for Stefania to stay in Montagu even though she is very familiar with the Western Cape. As Africa Reps will be looking after the marketing of Galenia it is important that they are ‘up to speed’ with the developments that are happening in this closed period. It was a good opportunity for us to show them the landscaping project, which is well underway, and the renovations of the main house and the rooms so that they will be able to reliably inform overseas agents and operators about the new Galenia product.

They were able to try out all the facilities on the estate, walking the trails, climbing even the highest mountains (for photographic purposes) and learning about olive harvesting and pressing and even sampling our freshly pressed extra virgin olive oil – being Mediterranean Stefania is used to good quality oil and as we have an Italian cultivar (Frantoio) it was of course her favourite. They also took the opportunity to visit the attractions of the area, visiting the Robertson wine valley estates, boating on the Breede River, and even sampling the tractor experience in the Koo Valley as well as becoming familiar with our picturesque town of Montagu.

They left to go to the Indaba travel show in Durban fired with enthusiasm to meet members of the local and international travel industry and to sing the praises of Galenia, its natural beauty, peace and tranquillity and great location on the alternative Garden Route.

For a first-hand account of their visit why not contact them on joel@africa-reps.com and stefania@africa-reps.com