Foster's Manor: Jewel Of The Little Karoo

Mr. J.A. Foster, M.L.A. (1904), local Oudtshoorn attorney, asked Mr Bullock to design a double storey manor house in 1902. The Municipal valuation in 1907 was £10,500.12.

Mr Foster was a member of the Cape Legislative Assembly and a real high roller.  Rumour had it that he maintained a wife and a mistress, both living in style in separate parts of the mansion.  Entertainment was lavish.  

When the feather boom collapsed in 1914, Foster went bankrupt.  It is rumoured that he hid from his creditors in the cellar, reported himself as dead, and in disguise attended his own funeral, the coffin filled with sandstone fragments.  He was never seen again in the Little Karoo.  The Standard Bank took over the property and sold it to the educational authorities.  The mansion was used as a teacher's training college until 1924 and then as a hostel for girls and offices for the CJ Langenhoven Commercial School.  It became vacant in 1972 and fell into disrepair.

In 1973 the administrator temporarily placed the building on the declaration list.  On 17 May 1991, Foster’s Folly was declared a National Monument and has been restored to its former glory.

Guest House and in-training facility

Today, Foster's Manor is a double storey ostrich Feather Palace, established as a guest house and forming part of the South Cape FET College in- training facility.  

Until 2008, for a period of eight years, it served as practical venue for the Hospitality students studying the Granger Bay Hotel School’s Food and Beverage Management Diploma Course at South Cape College Oudtshoorn Campus.  Although this course is unfortunately not offered anymore, the facility is now being utilized as examination venue by the NCV Hospitality lecturers for the ISAT Practical Examinations of the NCV students studying at South College Oudtshoorn Campus.

The Food and Beverage students received theoretical and practical training at the Manor.  Practical training included preparing and serving breakfast, planning and organizing functions, preparing and serving dinners and conference handling.  Foster’s Manor was an extension of their theoretical training received both at the Oudtshoorn Campus and at Foster’s Manor.

As one will never stop learning and accumulating information about the complexities of wine and food, the multitude of combinations of cuisines and flavours to experiment with and the challenge, and one might say, a tasty one, of finding the best wine to match, a “Food and Wine Pairing” lecture seems fit.  Ms Agnes Fourie, Manager at Foster’s Manor, recently presented such a lecture to the NCV Hospitality level 4 students. She has obtained her Wine Course certificate from the Cape Wine Academy and is currently busy with her diploma studies in this field.

Fourie’s favourate quotation, from Andre Simon, aptly captures her passion for food, wine and hospitality: “Food without wine is a corpse; wine without food is a ghost; united and well matched they are as body and soul, living partners”.

Foster's Manor has excellent potential for serving as a training facility for Hospitality students where they can experience the full spectrum of Hospitality Services (front office, back of house, front of house, kitchen, F&B, conferencing and Housekeeping) provided that all parties concerned focus on achieving this goal.

The topic of wine and food paring is nowadays high on conversation lists, largely attributable to the influence of celebrity chefs, great tasting food and good quality wines.  Combine this with the lighting speed of the Internet and you have a huge number of amateur wine connoisseurs that have access to information we could only have dreamt about not so many years ago.

Accommodation and Conferencing Facilities

The presence of the ostrich, whose feathers turned the farmers into millionaires, takes one back to bygone times. A stay at Foster's Manor is a must and an unforgettable experience. Its lush tranquil garden and 8 spacious rooms will whisk you away to an era gone by. Couple this with the superb meals served in the manor house, the tranquil surroundings and the breath taking surrounding scenery, and you have venue very conducive to either relaxation or high productivity - you choose!

The Manor has two family rooms, two twin rooms, three double rooms and one honeymoon room.  Foster’s Manor presently operates only as a Bed and Breakfast establishment and caters for small conferences for which refreshments are provided. For inquiries and bookings please contact reservations at (044) 279 2677 or info@fostersmanor.co.za.  Alternatively visit our website www.fostersmanor.co.za and book online.

Come enjoy the spirit of yesterday in combination with today’s comforts.

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