About Bella Vista Farm

Short Bio: Le Roux family & Farm

Gerhard le Roux grew up on a farm in the Bronkhorstspruit district. As he really enjoyed and cherished his childhood life on the farm, he made a decision at an early age that he would make sure his children also grew up on a farm. After finishing his studies as a Civil Engineer at the then Rand Afrikaans University he started working in Pretoria as a junior Engineer for the government. He immediately started looking for a suitable piece of ground which he could call his farm.

Bella Vista farm, registered as portion 121 of the farm Doornkraal, was the first farm he went to look at, and he immediately fell in love with the place because of the beautiful scenery and its natural landscape. The position of the residence was marked on topographical map as Bella Vista (meaning Beautiful View).

After marrying in December 1990, Gerhard and Maryna stayed in the house on the farm for about six months, using a generator and candles, before Eskom power were installed on the farm. The initial fridge still ran on paraffin and water had to be pumped from a borehole with an old Wolesley engine, which was started on petrol and switched over to paraffin as soon as it heated up.

Gerhard dreamed (a dream shared by Maryna) that his two daughters (Ginie and Marli) would be raised on a farm just like he was and Bella Vista made this possible. When it was time for the oldest (Ginie) to go to nursery school Maryna decided to open a nursery school on the farm as she was not satisfied with the quality of the nursing schools in the area. This was the beginning of the Kekkel & Kraai nursing school, which was eventually closed after 20 years at the end of 2018. At its peak Kekkel and Kraai catered for around 50 children and several achiever and leaders started their schooling at this farm nursery school. The kids were allowed to play a lot, herd cattle, ride horse, swim in the river and do whatever could get them dirty. Gerhard quickly realized that although the farm was situated in beautiful nature, there was not enough water, and the soil was just not fertile enough to do cash crops. He then started established grazing on the arable portions of the farm and farmed with cattle.

About 10 years ago Gerhard became aware of Boerperde, he grew up with and always loved horse, but he always though the term “Boerperd” meant that the horse was a “Boer se perd”. He then learned that the SA Boerperd is a registered breed which emanated from the time before the Anglo Boer war from a number of breeds (including amongst other the Arab, Frizian, Basoeto pony and several other breeds). This horse breed was eventually shaped by the environment and events like the Anglo Boer war into a well-tempered, tough and versatile South African horse. He bought his first horses from the Roemryk stud in the free State.

Gerhard’s passion for the SA Boerperd grew to such an extent that when Maryna closed Kekkel & Kraai he handed the cattle herd to her with the intention to apply all his focus on the development of the Boerperd stud. Maryna then also acquired some pigs and chickens to extend her “boerdery”. Maryna keeps Leghorn chickens specifically for egg production while Gerhard keeps “Bosvelder” chickens at the stables. The Bosvelders at the stables makes sure that no horse feed which falls on the ground when feeding the horses gets wasted. They also scratch in the horse manure, eating fly larvae’s and thereby limiting the fly population. The pigs also range free and together with the Bosvelders they make sure that the horses are properly de -sensitized and doesn’t easily spook

There are gates along the river which provides access to the neighbouring farms where horse riding and hiking can take place. This basically helps to transform Bella Vista from a 40 ha to a 500-ha farm. Friends visiting the farm enjoyed the free – range farm style very much and this led to the idea to develop the farm as a working guest farm.