The RED Route
The Atlantis Dunes is set in the Witzands Aquifer Nature Reserve and it covers 500 hectares of this nature reserve. Containing an abundance of wildlife such as the Steenbok, Cape Grysbok, grey mongoose, Cape dune mole rat and the caracal, it is a nature lover's paradise with unspoilt vegetation of the endangered Cape Flats dune strandveld and critically endangered Atlantis sand fynbos. Below the surface of these dunes run a large aquifer that supplies water to the surrounding residential areas of Mamre, Pella and Atlantis.
The wine estate of Groote Post is owned by the Pentz family and the wine produced takes full advantage of the climate from the Darling Hills. Tastings are done in a relaxed and convivial atmosphere, where you can also walk through the cellars. Hilda's Kitchen, the restaurant set in a beautiful manor house is an attraction in itself, with their market days a definite hit with locals.
WITZANDS AQUIFER NATURE RESERVE
Next Level Service
This Nature Reserve is run by the City of Cape Town, and has become a popular place for the adventure tourist with the attraction of the 50 metre high dunes where operators do sandboarding and offroading. There is a great adrenalin rush when you speed down the dunes on a waxed board! We often spot movie and magazine shoots on the dunes. This reserve might boast the best view of Table Mountain. Nearby is the Koeberg Nature Reserve, known for the nuclear station that supplies much of Cape Town with power.
The reserve itself comprises 32 square kilometres and the moving dunes is a definite feature of the reserve. The dunes serve as a filtration system for the water that runs through the fine white sand. The nearby industrial town of Atlantis has been declared a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), and we see lots of innovative products that are produced in the area.
The MyCiti integrated bus system serves this area and one can easily reach this area by using the T03 or T02 routes that run from the Century City or Cape Town Civic Centre. There is ample secure parking for 150 vehicles at this nature reserve.
MAMRE MISSION STATION
Olof Bergh passed by this area in 1682 - on his way to the Copper Mountains situated further North - and named it Groene Kloof. The area was so fertile that it aroused the interest of the cattle farmers to the potential for grazing their livestock.
Henning Huising was given permission, in 1700, to use "the three springs on this side of Groene Kloof" and to graze his cattle as far as Saldanha Bay. Mentzel reported that there were about 40 elephants (with no tusks, thus not hunted, as they were harmless) were found in this Groene Kloof.
Governor Caledon who was impressed by the work of the German Moravian missionaries in Genadendal, invited them, in 1807, to start up a mission station in Groene Kloof.
They were granted three farms and the mission was formed in 1808 by missionaries Kohrhammer and Schmidt. One of the farms were named Kleine Post, which they changed to the biblical name Mamre, which means "fatness"...
A Plough's Share
The homestead dates from 1808 when the original owners of the farm raised this beautiful building. The indigenous people were said to do cattle raids on the farm and the owners of the time, the Duckitt family then built posts with guards where the cattle raids were most frequent. The largest of these were named the Groote Post!
William Duckitt who owned the farm from 1815 was the Superintendent of Agriculture, and the farm was always associated with the improvement of livestock breeding. The farm is now owned by Peter Pentz of Union Dairy Farms. Duckitt, during his time on the farm invented a plough that broke the earth much easier, and this revolutionised the farming practices of the day.
Lord Charles Somerset who arrived as Governor to the Cape Colony in 1814, dissolved the Board of Agriculture and took direct charge of Groote Post and the surrounding farms. After Somerset left in 1827, the Groote Post was subdivided into seven different farms, and auctioned.
Apart from doing wine tasting, it would be a great idea to also visit the homestead, which now houses Hilda's Kitchen, named after Hilda Duckitt the first owner of this house.