A short history of the retreat
It is only after unexpected traumatic experiences such as sickness, accidents or the death of a loved one that most of us reflect on life and only then make the enriched changes to our lives. The beginning of this retreat is the result of such a life-changing experience.
The idea of “thanking those people who care for others” was born while Rob did some charity work. His involvement with a church charity organisation was unfortunately a frustrating experience and it convinced him to start an independent charity drive.
In his days as CEO at Clover the company started the Mama Afrika Project which supported those who were committed to their communities and who looked after the elderly, the children and the sick. The question that Rob asked was ‘but what about those Mamas that work so hard to help others. Do they ever get a break?’ Why not give charity workers an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate in a place like The Waterwheel Country Retreat. And, in this manner, say thanks to them for their unselfish devotion to their cause.
The idea was advanced further and the decision was taken to create facilities for people who do not profit financially from their charity work and who really contribute to people in need.
The 50 hectare farm Onverwacht was acquired in November 2007 specifically for its river-front and the possibility of developing this beautiful piece of God’s creation into a country retreat. After looking around for such a place for quite some time, we stumbled across this magnificent piece of land. But, it was only after slashing away the grass, the shrubs and some trees that we discovered its real unspoiled beauty.
The farm also has a Beautiful Cycad nursery running in relationship with and for the Charity Trust Galasiers the nursery is called the Cycad Specialists
Cycad Specialist business originated in 2015 when the trustees of the Galasiers 5:22-23 Charity Trust were exploring various ways to generate sustainable income for the Trust in order to make it self-sufficient. The Modjadji rain forest, close to the farm, inspired the decision.
With the available land, an abundance of water on the farm and some minor investment in infra structure – the Cycad business was established to support the Galasiers 5: 22-23 Charity Trust.
Cycad Specialists has approximately 1000 plants of various species in the process of being grown.
The trust has a very passionate accumulator, cultivator and purveyor Ian Tucker who also is a family member staying on the farm who personally spends personal quality time on the Cycads. He loves what he does and marvels in the joy of a new or existing collector’s ever increasing collection, and the collector’s new or current are therefore in very good hands when buying or inquiring a plant .
Cycad Specialists grow cycads in tunnels and under netting which protects them from nature’s adversities. The plants are kept in excellent condition to ensure maximum growth and the best possible aesthetic appearance. They are given lots of love and care by our own family staying on the farm.
We are members of the South African Cycad Association and are fully permitted and authorised to trade in Cycads.you can also find us at www.thecycadspecialists.co.za
The farm was registered as a charity trust – Galasiers 5: 22-23, Reg.No. IT915/07. It has three trustees to oversee the development and to ensure that the mandate and objectives of the trust are expedited.
So let us recap. The purpose of the country retreat is to spoil, encourage, empowers and support those people who contribute unselfishly towards the less fortunate in our communities.
The name of the country retreat is derived from the huge waterwheel you’ll find on the farm. It uses the water from the furrow next to the river which is obtained upstream..
Electricity on the retreat is generated by the waterwheel through an integrated gearbox system and a generator. Because water is used and not consumed it is the most environmentally friendly way of generating electricity. Together with the environmentally friendly sewerage system and the way we handle our garbage, the retreat must be one of the most ecologically friendly places in South Africa and for that matter in the world.
The Retreat consists of 6 rooms, a kitchen, bathrooms and a living area. It has all the facilities necessary and visitors will only be required to bring their toiletries, food and drinks. To enjoy the outdoors we provide braai facilities, bomas, camping chairs, tables and other equipment. A lapa is also provided to be able to conduct small brain-storming sessions, braai and cook and to sit around the fire together when it’s rainy or cold. You will have cell phone reception and you can connect your email facilities if you bring along your laptop and the appropriate communication equipment.
Please take care not to damage the environment during your stay. The retreat is a ‘100% green and eco-friendly place’ and will be maintained this way. We use hydro-electricity; offload sewerage in a natural way and dispose of garbage by separating it at source. The many trees grown on the farm are there to enhance the air we breathe. Also, no damage is done to the environment when visitors enjoy the walks, do some fishing or use the retreat’s facilities.
Because visitors and Datya at the retreat are there to relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings taking in God’s beautiful creation a Majestic breakaway beyond your imagination
Rob Wesseloo = owner and sponsor of various Charities and who’s heart is to give to those who gives he lives in Centurion and visits the farm regularly to help productivity as he was the CEO of clover and has knowledge that is paramount for success and is also valued by the family
Family on the Farm
Pieter Wesseloo = brother to Rob and also a trustee of, he is married to Naomi Wesseloo and both of them manages the dailies on the farm Pieter also build and designed the wheel that is generating power as the farm is completely green on electricity he has also build numerous innovative equipment that contributes not only to green living on the farm but privately as well
Naomi Wesseloo = who is phenomenal when it comes finer things such as an eye for detailed cleaning for self-catering units and the barn she also has a massive influence on the layout and upkeep of the gardens
Rolene Tucker =daughter to Naomi and Pieter who is the backbone of the running of finances as she is in charge of all administrative work and together with her husband manages the self-catering units through various platforms
Ian Tucker = husband to Rolene manages the cycad nursery and all the odd’s and ends Pieter needs him for