Theewaterskloof Country Estate is located on the shore of the lake created by the construction of the Theewaterskloof Dam in the 1980's. It is the 7th largest in South Africa and cover an area of 51 square kilometers when full. The encatchment area is the surrounding Franschhoek mountains. The mountains, water, golf course and surrounding areas contribute to making it one of South Africa's most scenic areas.
Marilyn Honikman, one of the homeowners wrote the following:
A friend who visited us at Theewaterskloof bought a plot the next day because his wife, who is Swiss, said it reminded her of Switzerland.
"But Switzerland has very high mountains,” we protested.
“When you are in the high mountains and beside a lake, what you see of the mountains looks like this,” was the reply.
This is particularly true after snow. Several times a year the mountain tops around the lake are snow-covered, and once we woke to find Theewater completely surrounded by snowy mountains. When the sky cleared we walked to the highest point on the golf-course and photographed, across the green, the blue sky and snowy mountains reflected in the water. In the foreground were Spring flowers! Those photos were our Christmas cards that year.
We drove here, the first time, over the Franschhoek Pass, and saw the great expanse of smooth water from across the tundra-like plain, and then the inlets in the pine trees and the yacht club. My husband went silent.
I knew then that we would buy a plot, build a house and spend weekends and holidays here. What I didn’t realise was that he wasn’t just quietly contemplating the view, he was mentally slalom waterskiing.
The mountains are not often reflected in the lake after eleven in the morning. By then the wind is up and instead of serenity you have the high drama of wild wind on water, often driving rollers on to the beach so that children, and some adults, have been known to boogie board.
A few times a year the wind swirls across the water so wildly that whirlwinds lift the water up into mini-typhoons that race across from the North West.
This is when the extreme sport lovers come out, and from our windows we see kite surfers flying up above the waves.
We retreat inside in those gales or into our courtyard on the East of the house, to a table under the grape vine and our oasis of peace.
“Why do you use the word lake?” some people ask.
The Oxford dictionary says a lake is: an inland body of water. It can be natural, ornamental or a reservoir.
Marilyn Honikman – November 2009