About

Meet the Owner & Custodians of Red Cederberg Accommodations / Escapes

Johan Van Der Westhuizen

Owner

Keurbosfontein belongs to Johan van der Westhuizen, who grew up on the farm. At a still carefree age of 14,  his grandfather informed him that he might inherit Keurbosfontein one day, and if so, requested him to preserve and care for the farm.

And so it happened that Johan inherited the farm in 1998, where after he set about restoring the Onderhuis farmstead to ensure its future sustainability, while preserving and honouring its earlier history. 

Keurbosfontein started off as a Cape pioneer farm, carved out of the barren soil by hardworking people with calloused hands. They arrived on horseback, with their ox wagons. They didn’t have much and demanded little, except the opportunity to be self-sufficient.

They built with handmade clay and straw bricks, hand carved wood and handmade nails and latches. Nothing was bought readymade. They cultivated the straw for their thatched roofs. They were subsistence farmers who cleared the lands and initially planted vegetables and fruit trees, mostly for their own use only. Oak trees were planted for acorns for fodder for livestock. During times when grain was in short supply, acorns were even milled to bake bread from. Even finely made jackets and trousers from animal skins were not uncommon.

Today the Keurbosfontein and the Onderhuis farmstead have inevitably changed much from its earlier beginnings, but it is still standing solidly on its pioneer foundations. While some of the old ways and traditions might have disappeared over time, it still is an old-world place where we can celebrate the simple things in life. 

Johan’s wish is that Keurbosfontein will withstand the next 300 years and centuries well beyond. He says: ‘’It is a great sense of comfort to have Justin Bonello fulfilling a custodian role at Keurbosfontein. His respect for our history and his vision for our future will ensure that Keurbosfontein can go forward with optimism’’.  

JustinBonello

Justin Bonello

Red Cederberg Custodian

Filmmaker, father, cook, traveller, urban farmer, author and now custodian Justin Bonello (http://justinbonello.com/) has produced, presented and created over 28 television series and delivered more than 240 hours of programming across various genres to broadcasters as diverse as Netflix, BBC International, Sky Network, National Geographic, Discovery, Food Network, Travel Channel and local South African broadcasters MNET, ETV and SABC – to name but a few and has published 7 books with Penguin.

Known as South Africa’s bush cook, he created and presented 7 seasons of South Africa’s award-winning reality show, the Ultimate Braai Master, aired locally on ETV and internationally on Netflix.

He is passionate about wild nature and is in the tentative stages of pre-production for two new series: Ghost focuses on leopards of the Cape Fold Mountains and Bush Cook (link XXXXX) is an extremely personal deep dive into why we cook.

He is the CEO and founder of Neighbourhood Farms NPC, an urban farming Not for Profit that is sowing seeds to fix a broken food system by providing children and community members with real edible education.

Married to Eugenie, father of three children, Daniel, Samuel and Gabriella. He loves his 3 dogs, 3 chickens and two ducks (especially the organic eggs they produce) and is a passionate gardener that believes we can grow a lot of what we eat if we just apply our minds.

He is happiest when he is in the great outdoors travelling through Southern Africa and is thrilled to be the custodian of Keurbosfontein, Bakkrans and Mooiberg. He says, ’becoming the custodian of these historic farms is such a privilege. In my heart of hearts, I imagine that one day, guests will come to the Red Cederberg and take a step back in time, they’ll light candles as night falls, cook their dinner together in the Waenhius Kombuis’s kaggel and break bread under a million stars and in doing so, will help to preserve these farms for future generations to experience.”

DanielSprenger

Daniel Sprenger

Keurbosfontein Farm Custodian

After finishing a BSc in Environmental Sciences in 2020 at the University of Cape Town, Dan has searched for a space worth sinking his roots into. A place where he can effectively improve his impact on the world.

Regenerative Agriculture and Landscape Management concepts have been a long-standing passion for Dan and Keurbosfontein with the surrounding Red Cederberg, provides a wonderful opportunity to implement a wide scope of regenerative agricultutral and conservation projects.

Dan sees this as a space where past efforts and contributions can be used as foundations for further sharing of experiences and knowledge both old and new. An opportunity to build on past traditions while creating some new.

He says, ‘Guess it’s time to get our hands dirty!’

Things to do near

Enjoy wine routes and stargazing while relaxing with us at Red Cederberg.

"Natural Beauty"

Over many years I have travelled more than 200 000 kilometres in and around Africa. I was stunned to find a place like Bakkrans, hidden right here on my doorstep in the Cederberg Karoo – a place with truly spectacular natural beauty and unspoilt serenity, unsurpassed anywhere else around here. My stay at Bakkrans was filled with an overwhelming sense of spirituality and appreciation for the greatness of our creation. Thank you for making it possible for me to share this wonderful place with my family.

From Cape Town, a seasoned traveller writes

"Freedom"

We have just returned from our third visit to Bakkrans. Thanks again, for sharing this very special place with us. We so much enjoy the freedom and clean air. What we find most pleasant, is that there is no need at all for us to get into our vehicles at any time to explore this beautifully sculptured landscape. The klipspringer family spent a lot of time amongst the houses and we were amazed at how nonchalant they were. The youngster can only be a few weeks old but is already an expert on the rocks. Please let us know when next the black eagles are nesting in the waterfall as we would love to witness that.

From Camps Bay, Cape Town

"Fantasties!"

Ons ry al vir jare deur die Cederberg en kon nie glo dat ‘n plek soos Bakkrans al die tyd daar weggesteek is nie. Die aardsheid en eenvoud is fantasties om te ervaar. Komende vanaf Springbok, was ons aangenaam verras om al die blomme op Bakkrans te sien. Wat ‘n fonds! Ons kom definitief weer!

Vanaf Springbok

"Spectacular Views"

Thank you, we had a lovely time at Mooi Werf. We cycled on the back road right up to Groot Swartkrans, as well as the Wupperthal road and were amazed by the abundance of spring flowers along these routes. One morning we hiked up the Tierhoksberg and encountered a group of six ribboks lower down and then later two groups of klipspringers near the Keurbosfontein beacon. We found some spoor of the Bakkrans mountain zebras at this border fence where it runs along the plateau. The views from the top towards the Roggeveld mountains in the Karoo are spectacular. We took some unusual pictures of the Cederberg from up there.

A letter from Cape Town

"Karoo-Plaas"

Ek het op ‘n Karoo-plaas met ‘n watervoor grootgeword. Die afgelope naweek toe dit so warm was, het ek my skoene uitgetrek en met my voete in Keurbosfontein se koel watervoor onder die akkerbome gaan sit. Vir ‘n oomblik het ek weer soos ‘n kind gevoel. Oom Arrie-hulle het lusern ingery toe ons daar was. Ai, hoe wens ek, ek kon ‘n bietjie van daardie lusern-reuk in ‘n botteltjie opvang en met my saamneem stad toe”. (Translated into English: A woman from Cape Town writes: “I grew up on a Karoo farm, which had a water furrow. This past weekend when it was very warm, I took off my shoes and sat under the oak trees with my feet in Keurbosfontein’s cool water furrow. For a moment I felt like a kid again. Oom Arrie and his men were harvesting lucerne while we were there. Oh, how I wish I could put a little bit of that lucerne smell into a bottle and take with me to the city”).

n Vrou vanaf Kaapstad skryf

"Peace & Quiet"

Thank you, we have enjoyed our stay at Keurbosfontein very much. Just as promised on your website, the cottage is spacious and was spotlessly clean. And the farmyard and gardens are neat and beautiful. I was glad to learn that you use only organic fertilizer in your gardens and also no pesticides - very important if you do not want to kill essential insects such as bees, moths, butterflies and so many others! We appreciated the peace and quiet, which made our visit extra special. Please thank Paul and Emmie from us for their care and friendliness.

A letter from from Switzerland

"Hidden Gem!"

What a hidden gem Bakkrans Reserve turned out to be for us, an earthy place, fortunately not spoilt by offerings of excessive luxury. We all enjoyed the opportunity to explore this beautiful landscape at a gentle pace, setting our own timetables. We particularly enjoyed walking the Leopard Trail, and the stars at night were absolutely amazing! We have to commend you for allowing the local craftsmen the freedom to express their “hand-made” mastery when building and restoring the houses. Their unpretentious styling, together with the sensitive layout, allowed Bakkrans to evolve into something very special indeed. Your light footprint is an example of responsible tourism to many in the industry. Well done!

Visitors from an outdoor magazine wrote

"Fantastic Place!"

Bakkrans is such a fantastic place, we so enjoyed every aspect of it. The attention to detail is so subtle and so appropriate to the site. I took many photos of the wonderful landscape, the cottages, even the catches on the windows. It was also amazing to be able to have exclusivity. We enjoyed also the information book and the style in which it is written. The modesty of the way you have done things is outstanding.

A letter from Cape Town

"Comfortable Cottage"

Just to let you know how much our family enjoyed our stay in your comfortable cottage. We found Keurbosfontein to be a perfect base from where to explore the greater Cederberg, and yet it is nicely hidden away from the busy tourist spots. Our kids enjoyed joining Paul when he tended the sheep. I was fascinated to hear from him that those fat-tailed sheep are descendants of the old Khoi sheep?

From Hermanus

Secluded Retreat

Mooi Werf was exactly what we were looking for. A secluded retreat, near to all the Cederberg tourist attractions, but nicely tucked away from all the busy routes. We found the Mooi Werf setting to be very neat and tidy. And the bathroom facilities were spotless. The stonework of the cottages is beautiful. Our visit to the Wolfberg Arch was a highlight, especially for our elderly parents who had always wanted to go there.

A letter from Kimberley