When one thinks about Stilbaai, you see pictures of a turqoise river (the Goukou River) running into the ocean, stretched out sandy beaches, pretty houses from where you can hear the waves breaking and beautiful early morning sunrises or late afternoon sunsets.
Yes, Stilbaai is all of the above – and so much more. It is also about a rich archaeological history and nature reserves, fynbos that is typical to the area and a rich bird life as well as tame eels that have been living in a freshwater spring in the centre of town for many years. There is, however, another business side to Stilbaai – agriculture and one of the various forms of farming, is dairy. About 20 kilometres outside Stilbaai, just off the R305, is the farm Soebattersvlakte that belongs to Kassie and Liesel Kasselman. On the farm is about 500 Merino sheep with Austin, a male Alpaca, ‘herding’ them protectively while a 150 odd jersey cows produce milk for the Kasselshoop Cheese factory. A variety of traditional, handcrafted cheeses including (Gouda and Cheddar, smoked white Gouda, white Cheddar with olives, white Cheddar with nettle, yellow Gouda with chilli, yellow Cheddar with pickled onion and white Cheddar with pepper) are being produced here since 2002 and visitors can enjoy a cheese and wine tasting tour when visiting.
Then there is ‘A Farm Story’, a very special building with special memories and stories that is now being used to accommodate visitors and guests. The Kasselman family has been the owners of this estate for five generations and the homestead, that was established in the early 1800’s, still have the original yellow wood beams and ceilings. The house played an important part in the history of the Cape as the stables were used as a hospital during the most southern skermish in the Anglo- Boer war in 1902. The first ever gravel road between Riversdale and Stilbaai is still, to this day, being used and accesable on the farm and the large surrounding trees, including the 200 year-old dead eucalyptus tree, contribute to the ambience of ‘A Farm Story’.
Antique furniture and decor from the families fill the house and the original yellowwood beams and celings are still in tact. The countryhouse, that was known as ‘Oom Tom se Huis’, can accommodate up to six guests in three en-suite rooms. When listening to the history and stories as told by owner and hostess, Liesel Kasselman, one almost expect to hear the laughter and smell the homecooked food from the kitchen. (Yes, breakfast is included with the accommodation while lunch and dinner have to be arranged.)
Being on a working farm, one gets the opportunity to enjoy the farm life and guests can even make their own cheese while the cheese and wine tasting tour is a must.
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