Woman in Tourism – Van Reenen/Swinburne
We continue our way along the N3 Gateway, stopping in at the quaint village of Van Reenen, where we meet Caroline of Oaklands Country Manor and the owner of The Cultured Whey.
Oaklands Country Manor is set just 30 minutes south of Harrismith, near the village of Van Reenen. One can enjoy hiking, fishing, horse riding, bird watching, good food and even learn the art of polo. Your hosts are the Tully siblings, who have poured their hearts into Oaklands and their local community, allowing for guests to feel ‘at home’ and returning relaxed.
Caroline offered us a few insights into Oaklands Country Manor and what you can find there.
“I live in the Van Reenen area, Oaklands Country Manor is 7km from the town and is based on a farm. Oaklands is a family friendly farm with a strong emphasis on regenerative farming. We employ 20 full time ladies at Oaklands.”
“Our long affiliation to the region and a strong sense of family values form the core of the Oaklands ethos, and it’s one that extends to the nearby community as well. A primary employer in the area, Oaklands is deeply committed to local skills development and providing opportunities for social and economic upliftment. Johnson Ndluvu used to spend his school holidays working in the gardens on the estate. After he expressed an interest in cooking, he joined the Oaklands kitchen – his dedication and talent paid off and he now holds the key position of chef. All our staff come from the surrounding area and form part of our community.”
We asked Caroline which lady has inspired her over the years.
“There are so many incredible woman in our community its really hard to single one out. However Ida Mabizela truly stands out for me as a great, gracious and incredibly capable woman. She has a beautiful home with the best permaculture gardens, which produce beautiful vegetables for her family, Community and for Oaklands. Ida is an incredible grower!
Ida also has four wonderful daughters, three of whom work at Oaklands and are all heads of their departments. These ladies are like their mother- strong, intelligent and committed women. We are blessed by them all. I could write a book on the Women of Oaklands, including my own sisters Annie and Kathy.”
What motivated you to create The Cultured Whey?
My long-held suspicion that our food over the last 100 years, since the post-war, industrialisation of the food industry and the shift from small family-run farming to industrialised farming practices, is deeply effecting our core health. More specifically, our immune systems are being fundamentally compromised. Industrialised farming practices that use genetically modified seeds, synthetic fertilisers, glysophates, as well as a myriad of other herbicides and pesticides have not only threatened our food security but also our health.
Take a look at The Cultured Whey website to read more on which products you can purchase and where.
And finally we leave you with Caroline’s insight into what you can enjoy whilst visiting the area.
The scenery & countryside is just gorgeous, the best way to explore the countryside is on horse back or if you enjoy hiking you can meander & take your time to absorb the beauty.