Sunnydale was originally called Poespaskraal - who would ever have thought that! (Roughly translated Poespaskraal means hotchpotch place)
When Governor van Imoff visited the Cape as Governor General of the Netherlands East Indies in 1743, he generously granted two pieces of land in our area. The farm Poespaskraal was granted to Carel Georg Wieser. (@ the time also the owner of Groot Constantia) The farm was substantial - 730 Morgan in size and extended over the Roodeberg mountain and down to the salt pan (now The Lakes). On the same day the good governor granted the land that came to be known as Imhoff’s Gift to Christina Diemar. She also owned Swaaneweide, now named Constantia Uitsig. Between them they were the largest land owners south of Constantia.
Carel Wieser erected a Cape
Dutch homestead on Poespaskraal which became his hunting lodge. – The homestead
was simple. A T-shaped, thatched dwelling, built with clay and local sandstone
rocks and painted with lime wash. The house was built at the foot of the
Roodeberg Mountain next to an
underground spring, which runs to this day. In 1987 the house, which is a fine example of Cape Dutch architecture, was declared a national monument. The building which housed Riocca’s served as a
labourer’s cottage—erected between 1743 and 1752.
In Wieser’s days, the area would have been very different with abundant wildlife, pristine fynbos and forest in all the south facing kloofs of the Roodeberg. One would imagine that Strandloopers crossed the area on their way to Peers Cave and the coast. Hunting parties were held at the Old Homestead and Vaal rhebuck were hunted in abundance. Hunters made the journey on horseback or in wagons on a dust track from Constantia over the mountain to our valley – The original Ou Kaapse Weg!
Mr. Wieser died in 1759 and the farm changed hands repeatedly. Owners were: Mr. Bruyens, who built Klein Vishoek, Mr. Roscher and Mr. Jone - who it is claimed was murdered by a slave! The property has a private cemetery in which three long tombs can be seen. Buried in these tombs are 3 Smit brothers all of which were over 7 foot tall!
The property was acquired by the de Stadler family in the 1800’s.The family were farmers and supplied the surrounding areas with dairy, poultry and vegetable products. The de Stadler family, who have owned the farm through six generations, renamed it Sunnydale Farm. The surrounding area is still called Sunnydale. In 1926 the farm was divided into 5 portions many of which were further subdivided which resulted in small holdings and plots.
Back in the day The Old Homestead, which is still located on the western boundary of Capri adjacent to Solole, played an important role in the valley. It had Christmas parties for all the local children, doubled as a church - one Sunday for Anglican worshipers the next for the Dutch Reformed congregation and had an open door policy where all locals could come for advice, a remedy or simply a cup of sugar. It hosted many a lonely sailor during the war and was the social hub as dances, plays and musical evenings were held there regularly.
It remained thus, until from the late 1960ies onwards when various portions of ground were sold to developers . . . . and so . . . . Sunvalley, Milkwood Park, De Oude Weg, MasiP, Longbeach Shopping Malls, Capri and Solole Game Reserve sprung up.
And such is the history of our sunny dale!
Written by Trish Wood (Please allow latitude as some of this is from memory which was handed down by word of mouth).