21 June 2008

Historic Carnarvon Farm for sale

Historic Eastern Cape family farms are being sold off, some for hefty price tags. The 3650 ha Carnarvon Farm, 50km from Queenstown, is on the market with a price tage of R35 million. The National Heritage site is one of the most highly conserved, historically significant game and cattle farms in South Africa. Archaeologists recently discovered a 120 000-year-old stone-age workshop site and San paintings. It also includes one of the oldest landing strips in South Africa, two hunting lodges, a lucrative water source which supplies Sterkstroom and a 1880 farmhouse. The owners are reluctant to sell. Robin Halse (75) is not in good health, and his wife Bertha (64) has taken over the management of the farm with the help of his daughter and son-in-law, who also live on the property. The Halse family has owned Carnarvon since 1854. Robin's father and grandfather watched from the porch as the Anglo-Boer War Battle of the Stormberg on the farm's border in 1902. Now none of the couple's daughters is keen to take it over.