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Friday, August 7, 2020

Cellars-Hohenort Hotel Camphor Tree Grove

Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(The grove of eight majestic camphor trees)

Camphor Trees (Lauraceae: Cinnamomum camphora
Alternate common name Kanferboom (Afrikaans)

Having witnessed the remarkable 300-year-old champion camphor trees, planted by William Van Der Stel, at the Vergelegen Estate in Somerset West.  Standing in front of the manor house and observing these remarkable trees, they will take your breath away. The trees were planted from seeds imported from Java (then under Dutch control) and lined out in front of the manor house.  

We were excited to learn about a similar elegant grove of champion camphor trees at the Hohenort Estate.  

Refined and distinguished, this impressive grove of beautiful camphor trees more youthful by comparison and only 150 years old, are perfectly placed in this internationally acclaimed garden.

The Cellars Hohenort was initially known as the Klaasenbosch farm, an estate that in 1693 belonged to the chief surgeon of the Duch East India Company, Hendrik ten Damme.  The Cellars building was the original wine cellar on the farm, high up on the slopes of Table Mountain, overlooking the Constantia Valley in Cape Town.  In 1906 the farm was bought by Arnold Spilhaus who constructed the Hohenort buildings.

After the death of Spilhaus in 1947, the farm was split into two sections and sold.  Then in 1991, the cellars building was purchased by Liz McGrath, who wanted to restore its historical beauty and convert the estate into a hotel.
Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(one of the larger trees in the grove)

Peering over the wall, she admired this remarkable grove of eight Camphor Trees with loving and longing despair. It didn't take her long, she purchased the neighbouring Hohenort Hotel in 1993, re-uniting the two buildings and nine acres of surrounding property. 

After winning a string of international awards for its spectacular gardens, the Cellars-Hohenort estate had finally established itself as an international venue of choice.
Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(The Hohenort Estate Hotel surrounded by Champions)

We visited the Cellars-Hohenort estate in winter, the garden was not as well kept as one would have expected, and the path was slippery and uneven. The camphor trees, on the other hand, had us in awe, we spent the morning exploring and appreciating the company of these stunning trees.

In the spring we would love to return in the late afternoon's fading light, with a glass or two of some of Constantias finest wine at hand, watching this magnificent performance, like ballerinas in Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, all in perfect harmony.  
Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(Ballerinas all perfectly in step)
Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(Refined and elegant)
Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(The entrance to the Cellars-Hohenort Estate)
Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(some scale to these 150-year-old majestic trees)
Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(Keanin admiring the size and beauty of the ballerinas)
Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(Wondering through this award-winning international garden, nine acres of splendour)

Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(We will return to replenish our souls)

Cellars-Hohenort, Camphor Tree Grove, Champion Trees, Cape Town, Photo of camphor tree, Alex Aitkenhead, Constantia
(Planted from seeds imported from Java as per the trees in Vergelegen)

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