The old homestead at Cape Point, now called Buffelsfontein Visitor Centre, used to be a restaurant when I was a kid - a restaurant that served a pretty good blueberry tart. How well I remember these trees and the whole "feel" of it from those exciting holiday visits! Even further back the homestead belonged to a chap called John McKellar from 1855-1886 and it was during his ownership of the farms Buffelsfontein and Uiterstehoek that (the display states) Charles Dickens paid a visit and stayed at this very homestead. (Ooops, sorry, Charles Dickens never set foot in South Africa - it was Charles Darwin. Maybe I need specs!) George Smith bought the farm from McKellar in 1886 and it became known as "Smith's Farm". Apparently they made a livelihood from keeping stock, ostriches, producing and selling lime from the calcareous travetine outcrops along the coast, fishing and whaling. When the Smiths eventually had to sell the land, it was very nearly sold to a company that wanted to develop it as a holiday destination, but thanks to the efforts of Norman and George Smith who were anxious that their land should become a nature reserve, and some forward thinking Capetonians - including the architect Brian Mansergh, the Hare family, Cape Divisional Councillor C.W.T Duminy and the naturalist S.H. Skaife - the land was eventually - and after a long struggle - declared a nature reserve by the Cape Divisional Council in 1939. It was incorporated into the Cape Peninsula National Park in 1998; which then became the Table Mountain National Park in 2004.
But visit the Buffelsfontein Centre and its classy displays, and learn all about this amazing place for yourself.
2 years ago