The surrounding Langeberg mountains form a beautiful backdrop of stone cathedrals and rocky peaks, shaped by wind and rain over thousands of years.
The farm is covered with aromatic fynbos, proteas and renosterveld, which in times gone by supported a perfect harmony of birds, fish, reptiles and mammals. This included buffalo, rhino, leopard and lion. Quaggas roamed the open spaces along with numerous antelope, including steenbok, springbok, grysbok, duiker, rhebuck and eland.
Nomadic people shared this paradise too. Their legacy of empty caves and forgotten hand tools bear testimony to their hunting expeditions. The fresh mountain streams and abundant food provided a haven for all.
The structural history of Orange Grove Farm has remained a work in progress, with various families and individuals contributing to the property from as far back as the 1750’s. However, the 250-year-old Manor House at its center has remained steadfast, as the dwelling that anchors the whole farm, a peaceful haven surrounded by vineyards, trees, rolling lawns and rose gardens.
Orange Grove Farm was originally part of the loan farm Norree which was granted to Gerrit Cloeten Jansze by the VOC ( Dutch East India Company ) who left it to his widow Anna Catharina. The first mention of the farm Norree is dated 24 May 1764 in the inventory of the estate of “Anna Catharina Kuuhn huijsvrouw van den landbouwer Gerrit Cloeten Jansze” The farm’s history preceding 1764 is unknown but it is clear that the loan farm Norree was well established before 1764 as it already had a dwelling and outbuildings, according to the estate documents of Anna Catharina.
In 1813 the freehold land tenure under a perpetual quitrent system was introduced. It replaced the old system of loan farms. On 21 November 1823 Norree was granted as quitrent farm to J H Cloete and P J du Plessis. J H Cloete can possibly be a descendant of Gerrit Cloete as the ‘n’ seems to have been dropped from the Cloeten at a later stage.
The farm Orange Grove is portion 3 of the original farm Norree which was awarded in favour of Anna Margaretha Maria Naude on 6 May 1909. The name Orange Grove Farm was first recorded in 1909 and it is the magnificent sunrises and sunsets when the sky turns to a deep orange, that gave the farm its name.
The gabled house dated 1812 was most likely the original farmhouse of the farm Norree because it predates Orange Grove Farm. We know that there was an established homestead on the farm in 1764. This building would have been built with “opgekleide” walls, “misvloer” floors and a thatched roof. If indeed it had a gable it would have been an early 18th century Cape Curvilinear design.
The 1812 homestead seems to be in the centre of the original farm and might have replaced the original building completely or the original building was incorporated into the 1812 structure.
The flour mill at the Old Mill house was turned by the passing mountain stream and supplied wheat flour to the nearby farmers and transport riders. Later, with the collapse of the ostrich feather trade, vines were introduced to the area and a storeroom with underground wine tanks was built on the farm to supply wine to KWV.
The re-awakening of this beautiful farm is an ongoing process enabled by the present owners who since 2010 have completely transformed the farm by restoring the old buildings, adding new cottages and stores, building new dams, introducing olives and completely re-planting all vineyards.
Today the farm stretches over an area of 830 hectares with a further 2400 hectares of pristine mountain catchment area with abundant streams, waterfalls, rock pools and magnificent flora.