Galenia africana

Galenia is a genus of plant, occurring within the Fynbos and Karoo biomes, but has a wide distribution, from Northern Cape through the Western Cape into the Karoo. The species found on the estate is called, Galenia africana, which can be easily overlooked, as there are several similar looking shrubs. However, it has quite a bright narrow, aromatic, greenish-yellow leaf, and same coloured inconspicuous flowers appearing from October to December. After two days of good unexpected rainfall in January, everything started shooting out and green returned to a lot of the drab wilted looking plants, which hadn’t received enough rain in the last year. This included the Galenia on the property, which were quite drab looking, and suddenly burst into life again, revealing itself all over the estate.


As you know Les Hauts De Montagu, went through a name change to Galenia – see blog of 27th June 2016 – but why Galenia?


The decision to change the name came about as not many people around the Montagu and surrounding areas, including our own guests who weren’t French speaking, could pronounce it correctly. This led us to play around with several name ideas, possibly Boontjiesrivier? The name of the stream originating and flowing through the property, but Boontjiesrivier is no easier to pronounce than Les Hauts De Montagu. It took us a long time and a lot of pondering to come up with the name, but in fact the name already existed on the property. Whilst out on a walk around the property, we stopped and looked at an old, historical staff cottage called, “Galenia cottage”.

That is when the name came to us, Galenia, it is pronounced exactly as you read it, (Ga-len-ear) without any silent letters, or guttural sounds.


The name Galenia, has Spanish origins and means, “small intelligent one” and is used medicinally for the treatment of wounds, eye and skin infections, whereby it is made into an aqueous infusion and then applied. In the Montagu region, this infusion is also drunk, to help with bladder infections and prostrate problems, however, in all pharmaceutical trials no evidence was determined that this is indeed a successful treatment against any of these ailments. So perhaps Galenia africana is still holding on to its secret, but whatever it is – we have plenty of it here on Galenia Estate.


Welcome to Galenia

Galenia – a new name on the South African hospitality scene – is a rebranding of the estate and four star, bed and breakfast guest lodge previously known as Les Hauts de Montagu. The property closes for business on 30th April 2016 when it will undergo a four month programme of refurbishment and renovation reopening on 1st September 2016 with a new name – Galenia -and an enhanced style of hospitality product.


The Galenia Estate, named for the Galenia africana species of fynbos to be found there, is thought to be more easily pronounced by the majority of visitors, and the local community, and to emphasise the focus of the estate on the preservation of the natural environment to be found there. The new Galenia hospitality product lifts the property from its previous bed and breakfast category by offering lunches and dinners to its resident guests and also to increase the interaction between the guests and the natural unspoilt beauty of the estate itself.


The eight walking trails on the estate, of varying levels of complexity, amongst the fynbos and renosterbos allow guests to visit the five dams (one complete with bird hide), the Eastern and Western boundaries, the source and the forested banks of the Boontjierivier (Little Bean River) which flows through the property and the lower slopes of the Langeberg Mountains that protect the estate on its Southern boundary and its adjoining Twistniet Nature Reserve. Guests are free to explore the estate at will, but if they wish to know more about the estate and the bountiful nature to be found there then they can join the daily escorted nature walk which takes place before breakfast each morning.


During the closed period all the ten suites will undergo an intensive programme of refurbishment and redecoration to upgrade the accommodation to a uniform superior offering. To create additional privacy each suite will be soundproofed and the individual stoeps will be modified and roofed to give protection from the weather and to allow them to be used more as outside lounge areas. The bedrooms will be given a new cosier look by adding rugs to cover the bare terracotta tile floors, new soft furnishings, lighting and décor. Blackout curtains and high specification bed linen, duvets and pillows will increase the comfort factor. A full guest house ‘bouquet’ of TV channels will be introduced to all suites whilst the amazingly efficient log burning open fire places still remain for those chillier evenings. By popular demand the outdoor showers and the free standing baths will be retained together with the underfloor heating in the bathrooms. Ample designated parking to the rear of each suite also remains a very attractive feature of the property.


Changes are also planned for the main house to enable it to become more of a social centre where residents can relax in comfort to enjoy drinks and refreshments of the appropriate time of day. By enclosing the extensive stoep with sliding glass panels it will allow this area to be used as a permanent dining veranda, not as at present being ‘weather dependent’. Breakfast can be taken whilst overlooking the olive grove and the lake in the foreground whilst also enjoying the far flung horizons of the Klein Karoo, whilst dinner will become a more cosy and sophisticated candlelit event where guests can linger and enjoy the excellent wines of the neighbouring wine farms.

The main agricultural emphasis of the estate is on the olive grove of one thousand mature olive trees which produces the ‘estate pressed’ extra virgin olive oil and both green and black table olives. Guests can attend a daily late afternoon olive familiarisation and tasting during their stay to learn more about the various cultivars and the complete process from tree to bottle.


The Galenia experience combines the natural beauty of this 1300 acre (550 hectare) estate, with its private and peaceful setting sheltered by the majestic Langeberg Mountains and enjoying magnificent views, with a hospitality offering that is designed to complement and connect to the surroundings, providing a caring and comfortable base from which guests can explore the estate and the neighbouring attractions of the Robertson wine valley and the Klein Karoo.


If you wish to be kept informed of the progress of the renovations,  please register to receive our blog by email. For further information contact the Managing Directors of the estate Walter and Karin Jubber on