“When governor Willem Adriaan van der Stel established his residence in the Cape in 1700, he named it Vergelegen (literally ‘Far Away’). And with good reason: It was situated a full day’s ride from Cape Town, which, at the close of the 17th century, was little more than a refreshment station for the VOC ships en route to the Far East,” writes Wilma de Bruin in The Heritage Portal.
That article, titled Vergelegen: a perfect blend of past and present, evokes that bygone era, detailing the fascinating history of the estate.
In the special Vergelegen edition of Business Day’s Wanted magazine, Richard Holmes talks about the farm’s long history and its contemporary incarnation.
For those wishing to visit, Vergelegen estate is situated in the leafy town of Somerset West. Going back in history, van der Stel was granted 340ha of land and set about planting fruit orchards and wheat fields. He cleared grazing land for herds of sheep and cattle and, of course, ground to plant vines. But it wasn’t long before he was sent back to the Netherlands – his ambition and “imperious style of governance,” writes Holmes, “didn’t endear him to the local landowners, the free burghers competing with the governor in selling produce to the Dutch East India Company.”