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Weekend lunches at The Kraal – plus a renosterveld farm walk

By Kit Heathcock

I wrote about visiting The Kraal at Joostenberg, a lovely farm walk followed by an al fresco Saturday lunch with my family, for Daily Maverick (The Kraal Story) – so if you want the whole story head over there now. I’ll wait for you to be back to share a few more of the details. I didn’t include all we learned about on our walk about renosterveld conservation. So the renosterveld story follows the food details here below – keep scrolling.

The Kraal at Joostenberg- outside looking in

The Kraal at Joostenberg - our table

The Kraal at Joostenberg - bread

Okay, so now you’ve read the story, you don’t need me to tell you that The Kraal is a laid-back weekend lunch spot on the historic family farm of Joostenberg , where the Myburg family have lived and farmed for five generations. Just telling you anyway for those who skipped the long read.

Each weekend Susan Dehosse and Chef Garth Bedford come up with a new menu based on what’s best from the garden. So it’s all very fresh, seasonal and local. Tables are set under fruit trees in the original farm walled kraal and you’re served a set three course lunch - generous platters filling the middle of the table. Typically you’ll start with freshly baked breads, a herb butter, tapenade and a substantial fresh farm salad - and these are beautiful interesting salads, some of the best I’ve tasted. Ours was laden with beautiful milky buffalo mozzarella. The bread was so good that we finished it between us, and more appeared by magic, but do make sure you keep enough space for the main course!

When we visited this was a rich and fragrant lamb and waterblommetjie bredie, with roast root vegetables and a luscious leek gratin. But I’ve also watered at the mouth looking up the menus from other weekends, you almost have to make lunch at The Kraal a weekend fixture so as not to suffer from menu envy.

Have you ever tasted home-made ice cream flavoured with mint pelargonium? I hadn’t and it was a revelation – intense mintiness that almost had the warm creaminess of a mint humbug, and all from this leafy bush that grows in the gardens established by Susan’s mother here on the farm. With guava and passionfruit purées, plus some creamy naartjie custard, it was a real farm dessert transitioning between winter and spring.

I’d been tasting wine in the vineyards on our farm walk and was driving, as were two more of the family (I know, shocking for our carbon footprint, but it was one of those chaotic days when everyone was coming from somewhere different) so wine with the meal didn’t seem like a good idea, however delicious the selection of Joostenberg wines offered. So we went for a jug of homemade granadilla iced rooibos tea instead and it was so refreshing and delicious that there was no sense of missing out by not drinking wine ...

Kids are welcome – there is no separate kids’ menu but they are sure to find something they enjoy in every course. The way it’s served they can pick and choose, and ask for more of their favourites.

The Kraal at Joostenberg - Salad

The Kraal at Joostenberg - Waterblommetjie Bredie

The Kraal at Joostenberg - dessert

Read my article on The Kraal in The Daily Maverick

Where and when

Joostenberg Wine Estate,
Hoopenberg Road,
Muldersvlei (just off the N1 at R304 Junction)
079 64 11 320



Saturday and Sunday

Lunch Menu

R385 per person
R180 for children 5-12 years old

Our renosterveld farm walk

The Kraal at Joostenberg - sign

The Kraal at Joostenberg - walk

In the morning I joined a local walking group on a tour of Joostenberg farm, strolling with the family up the farm roads, hearing about the organic wine growing from Tyrrel Myburgh, and about their efforts to preserve what is left of the indigenous renosterveld from his sister-in-law Nicky Myburgh. She has made it her mission to learn about it, conserve what is left on the uncultivated corridors of the family farm, and also to establish renosterveld gardens around the homestead.

Fynbos tends to get the sexy spotlight, but renosterveld is actually critically endangered. “Renosterveld needs the same soil that farmers need, it needs fertile soil, as opposed to fynbos which thrives in infertile mountain soil, so that is why we only have 5% left,” Nicky tells us. “Joostenberg is a perfect example of a farm on the urban edge, all the pressures that one has. It’s been under plough for 250 years, and all we can do is try and save what we have left and make people more aware.”

We’re joined by Rupert Koopman from the Botanical Society ( has spent a lot of his career advising on environmental impacts. “Agricultural soil that is good for vineyards, and the places we want to live close to water nice views, those tend to be the most bio-diverse areas, it’s an impossible dilemma.”

He describes what this prime renosterveld terrain would have been like several hundred years ago, pre-agriculture. “This area is a wetland, it’s probably got hippopotamus, rhino, there’re probably some elephant bumbling around. A closed canopy wild olive forest close to the wetland, opening up into a mixed grassy area, in springtime a floral wonderland, the kind of that we have to drive to Darling to see now.”

Renosterveld is named for the rhino, who would have grazed on all the herbaceous plants and bushes. It’s less spectacular to look at than fynbos, and most of the year looks like nothing, but in spring the wetlands and adjoining areas come to vivid life, full of hundreds of different flowering bulbs, some modest, others flamboyant. Once renosterveld goes under plough it’s almost impossible to restore it. All those bulbs are lost.

Rupert says the work of the conservationist is helped hugely by apps such as iNaturalist ( and the nature lovers who use it, “You walk in the veld, take some pictures and upload them, and there’s a community of people that will help you identify it. We as conservationists can harvest that information for conservation prioritisation etc. You can contribute to our knowledge estate.” So if you want to do something to help conservation efforts, download the app and join the community.

The good news is that with greater awareness and action now, from landowners and farmers like the Myburgh family at Joostenberg, as well as the general public, renosterveld can be preserved. “These plants are adapted to live in quite harsh conditions, solid rocks, wetland areas,” Rupert continues. “In summer the ground is baked completely hard and now it’s nice and soggy. It’s a cycle, contingent on consistency of the soil profile and the microorganisms you find. Once you start disturbing that you change the state. You can’t fix it afterwards. But an intact habitat takes care of itself.” It’s a matter of stitching together functional wetland systems, avoiding putting virgin land under the plough, and realising what you’ve got before it’s gone. Let’s not pave paradise and put up a parking lot!

Farm walks and vineyard wine tastings can be booked for small groups of 8-16 people. Otherwise just enjoy the gardens around the Kraal restaurant and the Joostenberg manor house when you visit for wine tastings and weekend lunches.

The Kraal at Joostenberg - guide

The Kraal at Joostenberg - flower

The Kraal at Joostenberg - snacks

The Kraal at Joostenberg - collecting ingredients for lunch