Ryk Neethling.
Ryk Neethling.
Image: Supplied

 What is your personal definition of luxury?

I used to consider time the ultimate luxury, but I have to add electricity. I’ve made sure I am pretty much off-grid and not dependent on the vagaries of Eskom.

The one indulgence you would never forgo?

Physical activity or exercising. It is not only a way for me to keep fit and healthy but also my way of dealing with stress, to recharge and think. I make sure that I always get in some form of physical exercise every day. 

What are your essential lotions and potions?

I really don’t use anything other than soap and shampoo.

What tech gadget couldn’t you live without?

Apple AirPods Pro — they’re great for a busy schedule on the run, and workouts are better.

If you had to choose, what is the single most sentimental object to you?

My Olympic gold medal. It symbolises decades of dedication, determination, and incredible support from so many people along the way. Blood, sweat, and tears. It is a reminder to always be grateful for the opportunities that have come my way. It was a true team effort.

What is your drink of choice?

On special occasions I like to open a bottle of my wine — Val de Vie Ryk Neethling — and, if it gets really festive, a vertical tasting of all the vintages.

Val de Vie Ryk Neethling.
Val de Vie Ryk Neethling.
Image: Supplied

When you eat out, where do you go?

We’ve got some great restaurants at Val de Vie Estate in Paarl, such as Wijn, and the Polo Pavilion by Back’s. I also enjoy Faber at Avondale.

What is the single element of your wardrobe that signifies your individual sense of style?

I love my veldskoene. I’ve got a few pairs and they suit my lifestyle. I can comfortably go from the boardroom to the paddocks or vineyards.

A watch brand that you love?

I own three beautiful Jaeger- LeCoultre handmade Swiss timepieces inspired by polo.

The last place you travelled to that captured your heart?

I’ve travelled across Africa quite a bit over the past three years. Madagascar was very special, but the horseback safari I did across Damaraland in Namibia was unforgettable. About 200km in six days on horseback, sleeping under the stars with your horse, and exploring the rugged and desolate terrain. I felt like I was away from civilisation for months.

A Jaeger-LeCoultre watch.
Supplied A Jaeger-LeCoultre watch.

What are you reading at the moment?

Churchill: Walking with Destiny, by Andrew Roberts.

The last meal that really blew you away?

I had three servings of my Aunt Berena’s oxtail tonight on the farm here in Paarl. Pretty special.

Which musician really appeals to you at the moment?

Gregory Alan Isakov — he is doing really well in the US and I’m looking forward to seeing him live in California soon.

Horseback safari in Damaraland, Namibia.
Horseback safari in Damaraland, Namibia.
Image: Supplied

What’s next on your list of must-haves?

More polo ponies. You can never have too many good horses. 15. What is the first thing you add to your grocery cart and the one thing you’ll always find in your fridge? Always lots of coffee in the cart and cheese in the fridge (for the wine).

The best gift you’ve been given recently?

A special painting capturing the essence of our horseback safari in the Namibian desert.

A gift that you’ve recently bought for someone?

A trip to Klein Jan Restaurant at Tswalu for my parents, for my dad’s 70th birthday.

What place inspires and rejuvenates you?

The Klein Karoo. We recently bought a few farms in the area and will be spending more time there. It is less than three hours from the winelands and the area has so many great little towns and interesting characters.

Gregory Alan Isakov album
Gregory Alan Isakov album
Image: Supplied

A place that’s recently caught your attention?

Karoo Ranching, just outside Graaff- Reinet. You don’t need to be a great rider for this experience to change your life. Just book it!

What was the last item of clothing that you added to your wardrobe?

Some custom-made leather polo boots. You used to have to fly to Argentina to get good-quality polo boots, but I found someone making top quality ones here in Cape Town.

Your favourite city in the world?

The architecture, nightlife, food, people, and beaches of Barcelona are almost as good as Cape Town’s.

This article was originally published in the June 2022 issue of Wanted.

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