Blooming marvellous Vergelegen Manor House

Many people have a newfound enjoyment of the outdoors, and are discovering beautiful local places that they might have been unaware of pre-pandemic.

International Camellia Garden of Excellence at Vergelegen the only one in Africa

One of these lovely natural treasures is the International Camellia Garden of Excellence at Vergelegen wine estate in Somerset West – one of only two in the southern hemisphere, and the only one in Africa. The good news is that these magnificent pink, red and white blooms are at their blooming marvellous best in winter.

Camelia Japonica

While the 321-year-old estate is not planning an annual Camellia Weekend as in previous years, guests can  book for the daily heritage and garden tour, or simply wander through the gardens and view the magnificent camellia display.

Chief horticulturist and gardens manager Richard Arm says that the history of Vergelegen’s camellias goes back decades. The earliest camellia plantings consist of classic, pre-1940s Camellia japonica cultivars, most of which are now mature shrubs reaching up to heights of five metres. Most of these camellias were planted by Cynthia Barlow after her family bought Vergelegen in 1941.

Chief horticulturist and gardens manager Richard Arm

“That initial collection has been expanded through both donations and estate purchases. We now have a  remarkable collection of about 550 camellia cultivars making up a collection of about 1000 specimens. These have been sourced locally and as far afield as France, Japan and America.”

A thing of beauty is a joy forever – Keats

The camellias flower until early spring in three areas: the Barlow camellias at the bottom of the Great Lawn; near the Camphors restaurant; and near the banks of the Lourens River, the only South African river that is officially a Protected Natural Environment.

Vergelegen’s affable Managing Director, Wayne Coetzee

Says Vergelegen MD Wayne Coetzer: “To add to the experience, our Stables restaurant now has a barista station – great for a takeout coffee while you wander among the camellias.”

The Stables Restaurant – home to the Barista Station where you can obtain a coffee to sip at during your walkabout

Visit Vergelegen: The estate is open Monday-Sunday 09h00-17h00 (last entry 16h00). Entrance R10/adults and R5/pensioners and scholars, pensioners free on Mondays.

Heritage and Garden Tour bookings 021 847 2122, email

Stables Restaurant 021 847 2156 |

You can lunch on Gourmet Hot Dogs at The Nguni pop up Restaurant

More information on Vergelegen: and social media, and go and visit for a blooming marvellous time..



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