About Hendrik Van Zijl
Van Zijl Guesthouses & Restaurant is owned and managed by your host Hendrik van Zijl.
While living and working as an attorney in Cape Town he developed the biggest indigenous bulb nursery in South Africa with up to 600 items on his catalogue.
At his invitation Barbara Jeppe the botanical artist came to stay with the Van Zijl family in Constantia. Over a period of three years she spent a year with the family illustrating and writing the first book (Spring and Winter Flowering Bulbs of the Cape) ever to be published just on the bulbs of the Cape Floral Kingdom. Of the 420 bulbs (illlustrated on 62 plates) 85% came from Hendrik’s nursery.
In the acknowledgements to this book Barbara Jeppe wrote the followings “this book was the concept of Hendrik and Rhoda Van Zijl. I stayed with them during the two winter seasons and one summer period while writing and painting for this book. It was a long association of co-operation and friendship during which time I became part of the family. Their three daughters Liezl, Adele and Tanya were good companions.”.
In 1991 he bought his first house at Nieuwoudtville and thereafter all the guesthouses listed on this web site. But it was his interest in indigenous flora and particularly bulbs which brought him to Nieuwoudtville.
During 1997 Hendrik translocated to Nieuwoudtville bringing his Clivia collection and his large collection of historical and botanical reference books with him.
The Smidswinkel Restaurant is run as a full on Information Centre with maps, books and Hendrik in attendance to answer what questions you may have about the Flora at Nieuwoudtville and the history of this fascinating area.