This is the story of our African dream, and how Alpha Excelsior – our farm in the Cederberg Mountains – grew to what it is today.
Farming is in Connie’s blood. His father had a farm in Tulbagh, where Connie was born, but unfortunately passed away when Connie was 4 years old. The family were unable to hold onto the Tulbagh farm but Connie always dreamed that he would go back to his family roots and own a farm one day. In 2003, while in England for her mother’s funeral, Lizzie had a dream that she and Connie would buy a farm together, and that this farm would be surrounded by mountains in a valley. The weekend that she returned from England they went looking for farms.
Alpha Farm in the Agter-Pakhuis Valley was the second farm they saw, and as they drove in to the farm they looked at each other and knew in their hearts that this was going to be their new home. Connie’s family farm was called Excelsior so they decided to rename the farm Alpha Excelsior, which translates from Latin to ‘aspiring to something higher’.
The next couple of years was hard work – There was much to do on the farm as it had been somewhat neglected and had no real irrigation system or infrastructure in place. It has taken 18 years to turn Alpha Excelsior into the unique farm it is today, and there is still so much to come.
Connie learned wine making and planted more vines and 6 ha of beautiful Olive trees as well as 15 ha of Rooibos. Lizzie grew the tourism over the years and ran the farm with the staff when Connie was away working as a surveyor in Central Africa to bring needed cash back to the farm to continue the new projects on the farm and build beautiful houses for our staff.
Since 2013 Becky and James have come on board to join the team. James, a nature conservationist, has taken over the Winery & Olive Shed making excellent wine and pressing our own olive oil. He is fast learning all about farming and the running of a Guest Farm. Becky – Lizzie’s daughter – has taken over the running of the tourism and runs The Hen House Coffee shop in climbing season. Emily & Sebastian (James and Becky’s children) are the third generation of family to join the farm and even at a young age are helping with tasting grapes and training of dogs and feeding of chickens and donkeys.
We also have 4 delightful dogs, chickens galore and 3 rescue donkeys. These characters provide much entertainment and are enjoyed by young and old alike.
Alpha Excelsior is a working farm and we support five families who live and work full time on the farm and have a number of seasonal staff who help us during climbing & harvest seasons. We all work as a team to look after the guests, the farm and the environment. With the help of the most amazing team of staff and determination through times of flood, fire, drought and even a pandemic we are still here and are stronger than ever.
We hope you enjoy Alpha Excelsior Farm as much as we do and look forward to welcoming you to our farm.