The Steinbergs from 1989…
Nico and Ané are Afrikaans speaking.
Nico and Ané started the farm on a shoestring in 1989. At that time the region was known for cattle, sheep, maize and dry bean production. For about 10 years Nico tried his hand at these activities, with marginal successes. He then started to look into the cultivated berry market and decided to do it the organic way, both unheard of at that time in that area. It was not easy. The learning curve was steep and the school fees high.
Nico comes from an industrial engineering background, when he got the opportunity in 1988 to start a part time flying career doing firefighting in the area for FFA he grabed it with both hands. Nico became a spotter pilot for the FFA during the bush fire season, and he did it for 22 years while farming. but his first love remains organic farming.
In 2012 The Wedding Venue opened and changed the farm and farming forever. Nico now enjoy his Nguni farming and both are full time working at the Guest House and Venue.
The Steinberg family has three children Wilhelm (born in 1987), Helene (born in 1988) and Jana (born in 1990). The fourth child is Toffie the Border Collie
Ane’s background is that of a domestic science teacher. Being a very creative person, she comes up with new ideas every day. In 1990 Ané started to renovate the old sandstone farmhouse, without knowing that in 10 years time she would again make some changes to convert it into a Guest House. She bought an old sandstone building (for R1 000!) in Chrissiesmeer . This was the ruins of the old Simmer and Jack shop on the Carolina Road. Heavily pregnant with her youngest child, she and the farm labourers took six weeks to take down the building and transport the sandstone blocks by tractor and trailer back to the farm.
With her children starting school, Ané just sold all the lambs from her feedlot and began to wonder what she was going to do next. Guest Houses were becoming popular and she believed there is a future in tourism. It all began with lots of passion, enthusiasm and a bag of cement!
With the help of the Mpumalanga Tourism Association and Professor Leon Hugo of the Department of Eco-Tourism at the University of Pretoria she opened up her guest house in October 1997.
In 1997 she started the Matotoland Eco-tourism Association in Chrissiesmeer. Read more about this dynamic association at www.chrissiesmeer.co.za. She inspired many people in Chrissiesmeer to start tourism driven businesses, and along with her own Guest House, she won the Mpumalanga Business Woman of the Year Award in 1999.