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  In the town of: Robertson:

Soekershof Walkabout - Mazes & Botanical Gardens - Klaas Voogds

   By Soekershof on Monday, September 22, 2003 - 08:29 pm: Edit Post

Soekershof Walkabout is not only about walking in gardens and mazes: it's about Passion for Life.

Besides unique restored and extended succulent gardens, which attracts botanists and researchers from around the globe, Soekershof consists a.o. of several mazes of which the Klaas Voogds Maze with a net surface of 13870 sqm is regarded as the largest hedge-maze in the world.

Soekershof is also a place with many stories; some of them visualized with objects in the Klaas Voogds Maze but most of them told by one of the guides during a guided tour.

In the Philosophers Garden visitors can find wisdom; written on concrete tablets scattered around along the pathways and sometimes more or less hidden away behind of under plants.

The Botterboom Trail is about the shortest hiking trail in the Western Cape.

The succulent gardens are originally created by Maarten Malherbe and his wife Molly in 1965. Malherbe is the pioneer of the South African cactus trade and founder of the cactus nursery nextdoors. In the beginning of the seventhies the garden was reveiwed as the most beautiful succulent garden in the Southern Hemisphere. Since Malherbe's dead in 1976 the gardens were fully neglected until the present owners started to restore it in April 2000. The restoration works took two and a half years and the gardens have grown again into their beauty of the past.
Nowadays there are almost 2000 different succulents, cacti included, from different climate zones and habitats in the unprotected open air.
Surviving members of the Malherbe family are very satisfied with the manor the gardens have been brought back to the glory of the past.

More about Soekershof: http://soekershof.com

   By Soekershof Walkabout on Tuesday, November 15, 2005 - 01:17 pm: Edit Post

Many people ask: what is Soekershof Walkabout all about? Easy question but the answer is a bit more complex. In fact: we do not know ourselves; except that it is great fun. Not only for us but also our guests who, in general, consider their visit as a real personal experience.

One thing is for sure: Soekershof Walkabout is a Primary Unusual Destination; a globally unique concept which developes itself in time. Our guests are everything from 'poor to rich', from 'white to black' and from 0 to 98 yrs old. However they all have one thing in common: they are 'somebody different' always looking for 'something different'. Soekershof is NOT a place for mass tourism so big touroperators; please stay away unless you have difficulties in handling a group with pure individuals (we will handle these personalities and they will never be the same again).

The best comprehensive descriptions until so far are the ones in our brochure:

1) The place where Klaas Voogds, James Bond
and Albert Einstein meet.

2) Everything you always wanted to know about
sex ……….. between plants but never dared
to ask

3) Beware of your “weird but
passionate” host, a bit of magic
and good stories!

4) A plethora of fantastical South African history, artistic creativity and botanical
delights await the adventuresome traveler at Soekershof Walkabout.

In 2000 the Dutch couple Yvonne de Wit & Herman van Bon acquired the farm Soekershof in the historic Klaas Voogds region between Robertson and Ashton.
The farm was neglected for 24 years. The initial intend was to clean and restore the premises but fate had other ideas.

The Soekershof concept came about within a week of happy discoveries and fascinating local folklore.

First of all there was the historical weed-overgrown succulent garden which was created in 1965 by Marthinus Malherbe (pioneer of the South African cactustrade and founder of the cactus nursery next-door) and reviewed as ‘the most beautiful succulent garden in the Southern Hemisphere’ (Royal British Horticultural Society, 1971).

Secondly: Soekershof is Afrikaans for ‘Seekers Court’ and it thus seemed logical to create a landscape of mazes.

The 13870 m2 Klaas Voogds Maze incorporates a 260 m classical 5-circuit Cacti-Labyrinth.
The Klaas Voogds Maze is not a Maze in the traditional perception. This Maze is as life; you walk from one story into another. The objects towering above the hedges serve as orientating points and as a reliquary of amusing local history and fables. You are invited to fulfill a quest and earn a memorable reward.

Other Mazes on the farm include a.o. the Butterfly Maze and the indigenous Langeberg Maze; the latter one still ‘under construction’ for its unique character.

The original succulent garden has been restored and extended. Nowadays the garden consists of over 2400 different succulents including cacti and other exotics that are uniquely kept in the unprotected open air very much unlike nurseries with most of the collection under a roof or a shade-net. The garden is recognised as one of the finest collections of specimen plants worldwide (American Horticultural society, 2005). Visitors may have a peep into the wonderful world of camouflage, self defense mechanisms and survival strategies. Follow the trail and discover plants like horse’s teeth, baba-boudjies, elephant’s feet and lots more.

The Visitors Centre contains exclusive handcrafted gifts by local artists. In this tatched cottage there is also a photo-and video-presentation of the developments from April 2000 onwards.

‘Our little nursery’ sells waterwise plants with landscaping and consultancy on offer.

Other options include a Full Moon Walk and Corporate Teambuilding (for groups of at least 10 participants and only pre-booked). Group visits can be customized.

To experience Soekershof in full: take your time and relax!!!

On request light homemade meals are served (only for visitors).

The website http://soekershof.com contains a wealth of information including various accommodation details, information on other local activities and numerous links to Maze/Labyrinth and succulent related websites.

Enjoy Life and ..........
merry greetings from a wonderful and imaginative Soekershof,

Yvonne de Wit, Herman van Bon & dedicated staff of Soekershof Walkabout.
Klaas Voogds West, Robertson.
Tel.: 023-6264134
e-mail: soekershof@lando.co.za

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