About Us

The farm (Heideplaas) has been in the family for about 25 years. We farmed with protea and still have plantation, but our aim is to reclaim as much of the fynbos as possible (have already had great success with it). We decided as a family to create Protea Wilds Eco Reserve CC (trading as Protea Wilds Retreat today) on the property more than 10 years ago and we have been showing a steady growth every year.

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My 2 sisters and I are the main shareholders. Leonie lives with her husband Chris, Carli and Divan in Jeffrey’s Bay. Nolien lives in Johannesburg with her husband Emil and two kids Elizmari and Ludwig. Before the lodge, the family also had a successful guesthouse in Randburg for about 10 years, which was finally sold 7 years ago (Both Amanda and Leonie was involved in managing it). The Waterfront Guesthouse is still operational.

The main shareholder of Heideplaas, the farm (together with his 3 daughters), is Sarel de Vos. He is involved in a financial and advisory role (and if there’s a crisis, he is also handyman and plumber!). He is semi-retired since 1995 and lives in Knysna. He is married to Mari. My “attached by marriage” brother Kobus lives with his Mexican wife Sandy in Argentina (soon to return to South Africa!). My “stiefie” Welma, lives with her husband Chris and son Liam in Brisbane, Australia (soon to move to Perth).

I live on the farm with my fiancée Martin, an artist, who also helps me to manage the guest house and farm in-between creating his paintings. I am the hands-on manager of the farm and the lodge – from marketing, to taking bookings to cooking breakfast and dinner. I always try to look after my guests as well as I can without being intrusive. The manager’s house is on a different location on the farm as all the accommodation. My two dogs Bella (small boerboel cross) and Grietjie (lab/daschund cross...) also lives with me on the farm and they are very friendly towards all people - adults and kids alike!

Our 4th "sister" and farm manager for years, Karen, has also always been a big part of the family and business. She was instrumental in creating the gardens and building the guest lodge. After travelling and working around the country and in New Zealand as a horticulturist for the last few years, she is back! She also upgraded her qualifications and did a guiding course last year. With her background and exceptional bird knowledge, we are fortunate to have her with us - she will be doing guided walks for us and other tourism companies.

We are always striving to better our accommodation and customer service. Amanda (yes, another one!) has been our cleaning lady/housekeeper for almost 7 years and Sandi, our general handy man, has been with us for over 15 years. We believe that we also have a responsibility towards the environment and have been going greener by starting to use biodegradable cleaning products and recycling. Our pool is solar heated and we are slowly replacing all bulbs with energy savers. We have great borehole water, and soon we will be catching rain water as well. We chop our own firewood by using our local alien vegetation (wattle and blue gum) and so making an impact for future generations. Our gardens are almost exclusively indigenous and we use plants that can survive with the rain we get, so that we do not have to use extra water to irrigate.