Rheenendal the History…..
Have you ever visited Rheenendal? Where is Rheenendal you may ask… Rheenendal is situated between Sedgefield and Knysna.
This area is rich with history and where our establishment is found. Forest Edge Nature Lover’s Retreat, in the Knysna woods, is one of the most diverse and spectacular places in South Africa.
Pieter Joseph Vin Van Reenen was born in 1877 and married Florence Eleanor Cross better known as “Tottie” (This is where the famous “Totties Farm Kitchen in Rheenendal gets its name from”
Pieter Van Reenen wanted to farm and Cape Town was too expensive and the prospects were not that great, they even considered Kenya but eventually settled on Roodekraal/Redlands in 1912. They took the train from Cape Town to George where they took a horse-drawn cart and followed the road along the Seven Passes, such a stunning road to just take in the beauty of the area, this is also a National Monument preserving historic buildings and bridges and settled here in our valley. In 1920 the Van Reenen family bought the Rheenendal Farm.
The Van Reenen’s employed people to start their Sawmill Business. They only had Boekenhout (Cape Beechwood) at the time on the farm, BUT this wood was too soft so they ended up making wagon part and ended up selling to merchants in Knysna. The Sawmill industry started in August 1921 in Rheenendal.
In 1920 “Tottie” started her shop it was previously an old storeroom behind the main farmhouse. She added shelving and it later became a butchery too.
The shop moved into its current position many years later and was also the showroom for the Stinkwood Furniture they produced as well as a petrol station and postal service for the area.
Today the legend still goes on. Totties restaurant and shop is run by her Grand Children and well known amongst the local and visitors. They serve lovely homemade meals, and a Sunday Carvery out of this world. This is a great stop for hikers and mountain bikers that frequent our route. They offer great Kids entertainment with a play area and model train track.
Definitely worth a visit when staying with us at Forest Edge Nature Lover’s Retreat or Knysna as a whole. Rheenendal has many hidden gems to explore and the passes are a must.