Nearby neighbours (if that is not tautology!) Nipper and Sophie Thompson are still pretty unique in a South African context. I say ‘still’ because just as in the rest of the world, the organic movement is growing here. But for many South Africans ‘organic’ is the equivalent of the ultimate third world horror: ‘unmodern’ and even ‘backward’.

Wisteria at Wegraakbosch

Yesterday they invited me over to see the wisteria outside the dairy, which is in glorious full flower. That surprised me, because my earliest ones are not yet showing colour and my last to flower are still showing no sign of growth at all. Although barely 1 km away, it is much warmer here than we are, but still… It IS a glorious sight, the longest of the racemes nearly 1/2 a meter long and the colour a good strong mauve. It grows over the pergola where the rustic tables stand where people share their cheese platters on a visit. Adjacent, in a neat amphitheatre curve of narrow terraces, is the vegetable garden where the Thompsons raise the organic greens for which they are also famous.1

But what made me decide to write about the dairy, not only on my blog but also at , was the way in which the farm animals welcomed me, as they clearly do all visitors to this local tourist attraction. These geese positively ran up to be photographed – or so it seemed!


And the dogs were as welcoming as only intelligent and well-loved dogs can be. These two sheep dogs are working farm animals, helping to look after the goats and cows that provide the milk for the organic dairy. Even on my short visit I had an overwhelming sense: this is a place where the world is at peace with itself…

Wisteria close-up at Wegraakbosch



  1. thanks for sharing your visit, Jack: wisteriia just THRIVES in Haenertsburg. A mauve profusion to look foward to every spring

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