Thursday, April 17, 2014

The charm of Bonnievale and Riggton River Farm

Small country towns have a charm of their own and there are many in the Western Cape for one to explore - either on a daytrip or for a weekend.  Bonnievale is no exception.  The beauty of Bonnievale was rediscovered recently on a weekend camping trip at Riggton River Farm, right on the edge of the Breede River.  

Not being a regular camper and not knowing what to expect, I was pretty impressed by a neat campsite, well maintained with clean ablutions with hot water (most of the time) which was heated by solar panels. The setting could not have been more perfect and picturesque. We arrived in the semi-dark and I was so pleased for the willing and accomplished camping friends who helped to erect the tent before I could think about going to look for a Bed and Breakfast.  (Did I mention that I hadn't camped in 39 years?)  Someone asked for our braaimeat and while we were sort of unpacking a few things - more kind friends whisked our meat away onto a willing fire. 

A camping bed and a mattrass provided reasonable comfort and I quite enjoyed drifting off to sleep to the muted sounds of the other campers, an owl, crickets (lots of crickets) and the gentle muttering of the river.  

An early morning stroll was so worth it.  Take a look.  I have difficulty in choosing a favourite photo.  I have so much to learn about photography and did not do much to capture these images - this is nature obliging kindly for some great photo's (in my opinion anyway).    

Mist on the Breede River


Sparkling light 

Bonnievale trapped in ahazy mist at sunrise

Mirrored boats

Just love the colours so early in the morning

And there were cows 

I hadn't been so close to a cow in years, thanks to some thin electrified fencing between us

Cows having breakfast

Hazy Bonnievale

Early morning fisherman

Fish for breakfast?

Coffee time

Fence, trees and clouds
The tranquil Breede River 
After breakfast a little exploring took me into town where I discovered a quaint shop on the outskirts,  Fine Old Things and Gallery.   And they had coffee and freshly baked scones!  The merry mix of things reminded me of my own little shop - Bella Rosa - a long time ago.
Splendid mix of lovely 'stuff'

Notice horse saddle in foreground

yes please

More lovely stuff

Cheery kettle and mugs

Retired boat

Add caption

I wondered what these were

View from the little cute shop


Eventually ventured inside where more treasures were scattered around

Old books, a camera and a radiogram

Happy looking chappy ain't he

The kind of thing I would have had in my shop too

A collection of some really old toys were in the one room.  Adorable very cute little red truck

Various treasures in another room

On the verandah 

I have a weakness for a blue shutter and should have bought these.  (Perhaps the owner will see this
article of their little shop (no I don't get paid) and bring me these when next they come
 to Somerset West) just because they are tickled pink with surprise

Crated lavender

Such a lovely place

Front view 

Splashes of friendly colour
And so my morning was over and time to head back to Riggton.

I love stories.  Other interesting info about Bonnievale is the true story of Riggton's little girl's dying wish that her father build a church in her memory is probably one that many of us didn't know about.  I regret only reading about this on my return as I would have made an effort to go see the church.  The Mary Myrtle Rigg Church is apparently the only church in the world known to be built at a request of a child.  

Read more about Riggton River Farm, the fascinating history of Bonnievale, the Riggton family as well as the water canals that you see snaking through the valleys here.

Below two images of the Church mentioned and the little girl Mary Myrtle Rigg.  
(photo's from the Internet)

A picture depicting the Myrtle Rigg Church soon after it was built.A portrait of Myrtle Rigg. Daughter of Christopher Forest Rigg.


  1. Ag Karin dis so mooi!!Dankie dat jy my op reise vat met jou pragtige kiekies+woorde..


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