An unused portion of farmland on Solms-Delta has been developed into an indigenous culinary garden and fynbos/ renosterveld park, called Dik Delta. Over the last 320 years this neglected piece of land has seen various uses, initially as grazing land, then as a citrus orchard, and finally as a veritable dumping site. Precious little of the original fynbos and renosterveld therefore remained.
Measuring approximately 15 ha, this land is being restored, in phases. The initial focus is a 2 Ha Fynbos culinary garden, representing the traditional pantry of the Khoekhoen who lived on the farm approximately 1000 years ago. The lives of the Khoe, Cape’s first settlers, revolved around some 400 plant species that nourished them and cured their ailments. Most are now under threat of extinction. Under the guidance of Renata Coetzee, a researcher of note, who has spent her retirement years studying and documenting the Khoe food culture, a range of edible flora has been sourced and planted.
The remainder of the land is gradually being developed into an attractive fynbos/ renosterveld park, which will celebrate the many indigenous trees, shrubs and plant species that were utilised by the Khoe and San for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Fat-tailed sheep and Sanga cattle, herded by the Khoe, have already been housed here and plans are underway to incorporate an information centre, tea garden and shop as well as other pre-colonial features, such as matjieshuise, making it an educational experience for both adults and children alike.
Integral in the garden’s design and maintenance is a resident team of Solms-Delta gardeners, lead by Johan O’Rayn. Our chef Shaun Schoeman now has an increasing variety of unusual ingredients to add to his already adventurous menu at Fyndraai restaurant, the culinary side of our heritage being a priority on the farm.