About the suburb: Bergsig developed on the farm Fairview (originally known as Niepodsdale) as land was offered for development for town expansion toward the east. We are walking distance to Outeniqua High School and a short 5 to 10 minute drive to the Garden Route Mall, restaurants and hospitals. I always recommend a trip to the Railway museum (less than 2km from us) where there is an interesting display of privately owned vintage vehicles as well as a railway collection. George has a proud forestry/timber history and I strongly recommend a trip to our museum to see the Timber Exhibition hall.
In 1994 we moved back to South Africa after a 13 year stay in Namibia. We bought Fairview and took up the challenge to restore this historic George landmark – always bearing in mind that the challenge in restoring and maintaining any old building remains staying true to the authenticity of the structure.
To help with the upkeep of the historic house, I undertook to start a B&B. Desmond is the gardener - a plant collector and passionate about his garden. Our children were all three still in primary school when we moved into Fairview. Within months I received my first paying guest and our children had to learn a new set of rules: ask before you take fruit out of the fruit bowl, tell me when you finish the juice or milk, no sport equipment lying around, no loud music, no loud shouting and the one that drove them to distraction - no telephone calls on my dedicated guest house telephone number!
I believe that growing up in a guest house taught Eckart, Alex, and Nelleke very important life lessons: to be considerate, mind their manners, be hospitable, not to shy away from house chores, It also opened their minds to the big world out there where people have different accents, speak different languages, come from different cultural backgrounds. All three love traveling, cooking and are excellent hosts. We did learn that it was absolutely necessary for us to close down over Decembers (our summer holidays) so that the children could enjoy their home and garden to themselves.
And then came Covid-19. When lockdown was announced in March 2020, two of our children and their families moved in with us for the first six weeks of the pandemic. We had contemplated selling Fairview in 2019 and looking back we are so thankful we did not follow through, as we have a new appreciation of our piece of Eden. The garden has proved to be a lifesaver for three generations of Benkensteins.
We still welcome guests to share in our beautiful home and garden, just on a smaller scale, as I now only offer limited rooms.