by Inge Triegaardt
In July 2018 I managed to grab a few friends and sort of forced them to be my team for an Amazing Race to raise funds for a 13-year old girl who is attending the South African Indoor Cricket Championships later this year. We managed to win the Amazing Race and our first prize was a breakfast at Oudebosch Farmstall and a Protea Tour at one of the largest Protea farms in the world.
Now, being South African and loving the outdoors, I have a natural love for our national flower and always believed that it is one of the prettiest flowers I have ever seen. I am still convinced that it is the case, but let me share my experience of going on a Protea Tour and learning all about the harvesting and caring of this beautiful flower. I have a new appreciation for all the hard work that is put into getting the flowers ready for our enjoyment.All Posts
At Regyne Nursery in the Eastern Cape the farming of Proteas is done with great care. Firstly, the farm is situated in the beautiful Tsitsikamma on the way to Eersterivier. Upon visiting the farm one gets a true feeling of farm life and the beauty of all the farmland in this extremely sought after part of South Africa. Our guide, Dewald Niemann, met us at Oudebosch farmstall from where the utmost care was taken to make us feel welcome. After having a hearty breakfast at the farmstall, it was time to head out to the farm. There was a scheduled tour the morning, but instead Dewald opted to give us an exclusive tour of the farm and processes as to maximize our experience.
Upon arrival on the farm, one cannot help but immediately be in awe of the rows and rows of Proteas that you drive past when entering the farm. From here you are taken to the nursery where the harvesting of seeds and the planting of cuttings are explained in great detail (I had no idea that these processes are done by hand). Dewald is an extremely informative guide and he has a vast knowledge of all the detail involved in the process from planting to harvesting and getting it onto the market.
From here you head out into the field and that’s where you start appreciating the beauty of these flowers. I thought I knew most of the varieties of the Protea family, but it turns out I know very little. I had no idea that our King Protea comes in more than one colour for instance. We spent some time out in the veld and it was time to channel the inner photographers in us. Photos galore was the result of letting us lose and it paid off. I got the most beautiful photos of the most perfect flowers.
From here it was time to head to the packing warehouse. Now this is where things gets interesting. These people sure know what they are doing. Every flower are carefully examined and sorted according to it’s destination that it is bound for. Now this can include anything from your local farmstall, weddings, supermarkets, to the markets in Europe where bidding takes place and the flowers are delivered to the highest bidder. It is at this point where one realizes just how fortunate we are to have a farm of this calibre right in our midst.
In each and every process there are intensive labour processes involved and you can only stand in awe while Dewald explains to you the timeframes of each of these processes. I am proud to say that I have bought a bunch of flowers from one of the biggest Protea exporters in the world. Freshly picked from their farm by workers that has such a big knowledge of the product. This tour gave me a new appreciation for our beautiful national flower. I vowed never ever to complain about the price of Proteas (and flowers in general) ever again!
- Wear sturdy shoes – on rainy days it can be very muddy (it is a working farm after all)
- Wear a hat or sunscreen – you will be enjoying the African sun in the Tsitsikamma
- Bring loads of questions – your guide is a very knowledgeable man
- MAKE A BOOKING – this is required in advanced as the tour is very popular
- Costs: R180pp at the time we did the tour
- Please respect the guide in big groups, you will be given plenty of photo opportunities (don’t miss any of the information)
- Bring your camera
To make a booking contact Dewald Niemann @ Oudebosch Farmstall on +27 (0)42 285 0562 or +27(0)82 307 2789 or visit the Oudebosch Farmstall website.