The Breede River winds its way through the Robertson wine valley, sustaining those who live and farm in this beautiful stretch of the Cape. It has also become a popular destination for river cruises and several companies operate in the area, each offering a unique river experience. I recently met the Conradie family of Nerina Guest Farm and the Kolgans river boat cruises and was treated to a memorable sunset dinner cruise.
The Kolgans River Restaurant is probably the most uncommercial of all the cruises available, it’s no-frills, no-fuss, down-to-earth hospitality and a whole lot of fun. This is a real family operation; mom, pop (Oompie) and daughter Amanda are all involved from start to finish. They built the boat themselves using what was available to them on the farm. The boat’s woodwork is made from an oak tree that was cut down on the farm in 1995, and the roof is made of scaffolding retrieved from the renovation of the Robertson East community church. It took three months for her to be built, until she made her debut on the water in November 2001.
We got going in the late afternoon, winding our way slowly through the bends of the river; we were all silent, taking in the tranquility of our surroundings and appreciating some of the birdlife and scenery. As the sun began to set, we congregated around a large table and poured a glass of their red table wine called Oompie se Oeps, named after Captain Frans Conradie, affectionately known as Oompie.
Our table was laid with a healthy spread of home-cooked traditional boerekos. Delicious bean soup and homemade bread to start with, followed by steaks grilled to perfection on the open fire, and accompanied by grilled vegetables, spinach quiche, sweet butternut and potatoes. We all got to know each other a bit better over many bottles of Oempie se Oeps, while listening to stories about the Nerina farm and the Conradie family history. By the time the chocolate pudding arrived, I was so full and ready to burst, but who can say no to chocolate pudding?
What a wonderful way to experience the beauty of the valley and the Breede River and sample some traditional South African cuisine. They operate two to three times daily according to the seasons and can be booked for special occasions.
There operational times and prices are:
Breakfast / Brunch 9:30 am – 11:30 am at R130 per person
Lunch 12 noon – 2 pm at R160 per person
Sundowners (1 hour trip) 4:30 pm in Winter, 6 pm in Summer at R120 per person
Dinner (2 hour trip) 4:30 pm in Winter, 6 pm in Summer at R230 per person
To find out more on the latest and greatest wine farms, check out Kim’s blog Boutique Winery Tours.
When Wednesdays – Sundays
Where Nerina Guest Farm, Robertson
Contact +27 82 823 423, [email protected]
Photography courtesy Kim Rabe