The owners of Beho Beho and The Oyster Bay in Tanzania have expanded their operation into South Africa with the purchase of a 550 hectare (1300 acre) estate in the Western Cape region. Managing Directors of the new operation are Walter and Karin Jubber known to many from their previous role as Camp Managers of Beho Beho for the last five years. The purchase was completed in September 2015 and Walter and Karin have been running the property since then – but now it is time for a change – of name and also of concept.
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 closed for business on 30th April 2016 in order to 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. For those not familiar with the Robertson wine valley area, the Klein Karoo and the scenic Route 62 alternative to the Garden Route, Les Hauts de Montagu (now Galenia) is located just three kilometres east of the picturesque up-country town of Montagu in the Western Cape – an easy two hour drive from Cape Town
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 the 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, as the new website is being constructed, please register on blog.galenia.co.za for further information contact:
Joel Crossland Stefania Saporetti
Joel and Stefania have recently visited the property to view the current programme of renovations and to visit the local area and activities so are fully informed and able to discuss the potential and possibilities of including Galena into Western Cape itineraries.