Elrico Pietersen was born in Pniel on the slopes of the Simonsberg and went to Pniel Primary School and then Kylemore High School, a few kilometres up the road. “I wasn’t one of the lucky ones to go away to school — my mother is a baker with two children,” he says.
Elrico Pietersen and Sonny of Bikes at Boschendal. Elrico is the entrepreneur and Sonny is a bike mechanic/tour guide who has done the Cape Epic and rides for South Africa in MTB cycling.
Elrico ran two businesses while he was in high school, both game shops which sold other necessities in “The Scheme”, the part of Pniel where he lived. “Game shops?” I asked. They offered video games for kids with little else to do. Elrico started identifying opportunities early on.
When CapeInfo was deciding on the most beautiful drive in South Africa, Helshoogte came up tops for every reason — the ever changing views in every season, the dramatic mountain vistas and the things to do on the route. On the Stellenbosch side of the Pass, there are views back to Table Mountain. From the top and on the eastern side, there are views across four mountain ranges (and all the way to the other side of Worcester.) The attractions are anchored by Delaire Graff, Tokara and Thelema on the one side and and Boschendal and Solms-Delta on the other.
And in between there’s Pniël — a delightful little village with a rich history… but little to offer the traveller. Yes, there is the historic church as well as the fascinating Pniël Museum with its peaceful tea garden, but you need to check that they are open if you’re planning to visit — their opening times are erratic.
Pniël Congregational Church — the heart and soul of the village.
I live close to the villages of Pniel, Lanquedoc and Kylemore outside Stellenbosch. Now that’s not an area where you find a booklet advertising local services — which is what I really needed when I arrived there. If there was, the small businesses there are probably so small they probably wouldn’t be able to afford the advertising costs. So, I ended up using services in Paarl and Stellenbosch.
Then, when my bakkie needed new front disk pads and I really didn’t feel like trekking into Stellenbosch, leaving the bakkie while the repairs are done and collecting it later. So I asked the security company on Boschendal which seems to know the local community if they knew of anybody. Continue reading →