Striated Skies No. 52 – Nothing to be scared of

52. Nothing to be scared of

The Banghoek (meaning “scary corner”) valley is located over the Hellshoogte pass and an area in which I will own an estate one day. The picture for this striated sky was taken on the Oldenburg wine estate (in the Banghoek Valley) looking up at the Drakenstein Mountain Range. Banghoek Valley, got its name due to the dense forest, leopards, steep ravines and other dangers encountered by settlers.

Hellshoogte is the oldest pass in South Africa. The original Pass was built in 1692, in order to make ones way to Franschoek (where the Huguenots settled after arriving in 1688).  It was the main road to Franschhoek and for many years was regarded as a dangerous route, especially in the dark. The origins of the name is likely from the steep gullies (“hells”) on the ridge. In 1854 the road was greatly improved and used until being replaced by the new/current road in 1972.

A left turn off the R310 onto Zevenrivieren road will put the Mountains in front of you, the road winds and becomes gravel. The road is well sign posted and finding Oldenburg estate is a cinch. On arrival you are greeted by the spectacular new Cellar Door. The building was designed by architect Simon Beerstecher, and the interior design is by Kelly Hoppen.

Oldenburg is owned and run by Adrian and Vanessa Vanderspuy. Adrian was born on the neighbouring farm but his family left South Africa in the 1960’s. He would return to visit Oldenburg yearly for Christmas. Dorothy Vanrenen, Adrians grandmother, lived at Oldenburg with Helmet Holmann. In fact it is Helmet who named the farm Oldenburg in memory of his German roots in the city of Oldenburg. Visit the Oldenburg Vineyards Website for more history.

It was in 2002 that Adrian decided to pursue the possibility of bringing Oldenburg Vineyards back to life given that the farm had fallen into a parlous state. The vineyards were replanted from 2004-2006 and the maiden vintages of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc were produced in 2007. In 2010 the first whites were produced, the reds were launched (all were included in the SA Top 100 wines)  and in 2011 the cellar door opened.   In 2014 Philip Costandius joined as General Manager and Winemaker, later that year The Homestead was opened.

Visit the Oldenburg Vineyards Website to find out more about this amazing place and the people who make it happen or go one step better and visit them in person, you will not regret it. The views are amazing, the wine terrific and the atmosphere spectacular.  As I said at the beginning, one day I will own a property in this valley.

oldenburg logoI have to end off this blog by saying Thanks to all the peole who have followed me and my 52 Striated Skies Project. My next big step is going to be figuring out how I can exhibit this in 2016. Here is to an awesome 2016!!!

Striated Skies No. 36 – Ou Hoofgebou

36. Ou Hoofgebou

This week we are taken back to Stellenbosch for a striated sky above the Ou Hoofgebou (Old Main Building). The building which is on Ryneveld street, Stellenbosch University Campus was built between 1880 and 1886. The building was designed by Carl Otto Hager. In 1964 the side wings were extended and the west wing added. The building was declared a national monument in 1979.

Carl Otto Hager was born and raised in Germany. We came out to South Africa in December 1838. Mr Hager who studied art/architecture in Germany worked at a portraitist, a tobaconist, photographer and only late in life did he make a success as an architect focussing on church buildings. For more information on Carl Otto Hager click here and here.

This building is absolutely stunning and is one of many national monuments that can be found in Stellenbosch. When you take your trip to Stellenbosch be sure to visit this building.


Striated Skies

Striated Skies No. 33 – Balcony Pondering Perspective

Striated Skies

Back to Stellenbosch we go for this weeks Striated Sky. The building pictured; the Theological Seminary, 171 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch is another of the dozens of heritage buildings that are to be found in the picturesque university town. The current facade of the building was completed in 1905 but this site has a history that is filled with interesting stories and tragedy.

The site on which the Seminary stands was an island in the Eerste River and the spot where Simon van der Stel has camped on the night of 6 November 1679. It is the site of the first building in Stellenbosch, the drosty which was built in 1686/7 and housed the Court and home to the magistrate. It was in fact the magistrate, Samuel Martini de Meurs, who whilst attempting to light his pipe in a howling south-easterly wind, caused the first fire to destroy the building in 1710. The building, which was rebuilt burned down again in 1762 and in 1768 a flood destroyed some of the building.

In 1768 it was converted to an H Shape building and in 1770 due to deepening of the river, the northern branch of the Eerste dried up and was filled in. In 1828, local government was abolished and the building stood empty for 12. In 1853, it was bought by some villagers and ceded to the Church in 1859 with the inauguration of the Theological Seminary. In 1868, Carl Otto Hager added a second storey to the building.

In 1905 additions were added to the Seminary and the façade was changed to the present appearance with a predominantly eclectic approach with strong French influence.

The building is stunning and it would be amazing for someone to build a virtual tour of the changes that have taken place on the land over the years. You must take a look at this building while you walk the streets of Stellenbosch on your next visit. There is so much to learn and I hope that this will wet your appetite.


  2. Stellenbosch Heritage
  3. Stellenbosch University Theology Department
  4. Stellenbosch Connect
  5. Wikipedia list of Heritage Sites in Stellenbosch
Striated Skies

Striated Skies No. 31 – Art School

Striated Skies


The Bloemhof School Building was declared a National Monument in June 1976. As the Government Gazette article says the building is an outstanding example of the “eclectic” style of builScreen Shot 2015-08-09 at 6.16.50 PMding in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. The building opened on June the 2nd 1907.  Bloemhof Girls School moved from this location in 1960, it is currently the only Afrikaans girls high school in the Western Cape and has over 700 pupils. The building is currently home to part of the Stellenbosch University museum and houses the Sasol Art Museum (the rest of the Stellenbosch University museum is housed in the First Lutheran Church building at the corner of Dorp and Bird Streets).

Stellenbosch is the second oldest European settlement in South Africa and thus has a number of buildings that are of historical significance. The list of heritage sites is very long and interestingly enough there are oak trees on the list. As I said there are a number of beautiful buildings and I know that more of them will be part of this collection.

You must take a trip to Stellenbosch when you are in Cape Town. There is so much to do and I am sure that I will explain more with posts to follow.


Striated Skies No. 19 – Life is a Canvas

19. Life is a canvas

The picture inspiring this weeks Striated sky depicts the beautiful Hottentots-Hollands mountains from Delaire Graf Estate. The Estate is on the Helshoogte Road from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek. It is a stunning venue and the wine tasting that we did was spectacular… most definitely worth a visit. The picture which looks like a painting inspires the title which is Life is a Canvas. I have chosen this title as in life you are the artist and can choose the type of picture that you want to paint. Why not paint something beautiful just like the picture above!