Doornbosch History!

In 1912 Johan David Albertyn family purchased Koude Rivier which is one of the three farms of Doornbosch Estate. Two years later Stompjeskloof was purchased and added to Koude Rivier.
SA Meat Merino sheep were introduced, some beef cattle, and small herd of milking cows. Dawie Albertyn senior the grandson, came to live on the farm in 1964. During his stay they introduced more sheep and cattle and ran a small dairy. He also improved the infrastructure of the farm putting in new roads, building dams and irrigation lines, and creating more paddocks for livestock. Dawie was also one of the first farmers to add copper and minerals for his livestock. This was added directly to the water lines and fed into the water troughs.
Large areas were planted to onions and sweet potatoes. For the livestock they planted lucerne, clover and pasture grass under irrigation. In good years the clover was nearly 90cm high, reach above the door of the farm vehicle.
A section of Stompjes Kloof was planted under wheat and won the prize for the best wheat in the district. In the 1960’s this wheat was still threshed by belt-driven thresher until they had enough capital to buy a combine harvester.
The old farmstead was also renovated. It had a beautiful, thatched roof with massive thick teak doors imported from overseas. The wildflowers they harvested were sent down the mountain to the homestead by zipline and packed in the attic to dry before being exported.
Dawie Albertyn stayed on Koude Rivier until 1977 and moved to Nacht Wacht outside Bredasdorp and continued farming. The farms were subsequently sold in 1979. According to Oom Dawie, Koude Rivier was one of the best farms in the district and one of his biggest regrets is that they sold Koude Rivier. Oom Dawie is still living on Nacht Wacht

Will Gant bought the farm from the Albertyns in 1979. He invested large sums of money in turning the farm into a showpiece. He introduced SA Wool Merino sheep and transformed the shed built by the Albertyns into a state-of-the-art shearing facility. Most of the surrounding farmers brought their sheep to Koude Rivier to be sheared. Sheep handling facilities were built on top of the mountains to help with the dipping and handling of the sheep.
His stud of Hereford cattle was brought from his farm Lourensford, in Somerset West to Koude Rivier. He was an enthusiastic exhibitor of his Herefords at agricultural shows across the country.
A big dam was built, and irrigation lines laid, electricity lines put in, and big electrical pumps were installed to irrigate about 200ha of mainly clover and rye grass pastures for his Hereford cattle. Handling facilities and a sales yard were built for the cattle and sheep. These facilities were used regularly when they had livestock sales.
The mountainous areas of the farm were mostly used for picking wildflowers which were dried for the export market.
Will Gant later bought Doornbosch farm and developed it as a cattle farm. The three farms were run as an entity from then on.
When Gant’s health started to decline, he reluctantly decided to sell his farms which he had come to love so much, as his children had no interest in farming.
He passed away not long after the farms were sold.

Fritz Wehner acquired the three farms in 2002. He was a German citizen with a love for South Africa. He obtained is South African citizenship in 1983.
He had a dream of owning a game farm. He put up a game fence around Stompjeskloof and Koude rivier and introduced Eland, Zebra, Fallow Deere and Springbuck. The livestock fences were mostly removed so the game could move freely on the farm. He re-built the Manor House in 2007 on the foundations of the original homestead, which had burnt down in the 1990’s.
Fritz also restored the labour cottages on Doornbosch transforming them and the original homestead into the five spacious, luxury houses which are the guesthouses in use today. The houses extoll the virtues of the man who built them, large, spacious, beautifully appointed, filled with colour and warmth, welcoming guests who come to stay.
The farms now produced beef cattle, game, wildflowers, honey and accommodation. The cattle herd has increased to nearly 400 head. Through good management and buying good quality bulls, mostly Angus.
Fritz loved to show his guests around the farms and used to take regular evening drives to enjoy the game and scenic countryside. He had a larger-than-life personality, being loud, volatile and generous, all in one.
He passed away in January 2018 and his ashes were spread on top of Landmeterskop our biggest mountain and stone lion was erected as memorial. Fritz continues to watch over the farms which he loved so much.

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