Partners Paul Drews and Marian Cottle have owned and managed Old Joe’s Kaia for the past 10 years. Marian’s grandparents, Johannes and Johanna Boers started the establishment as Schoemanskloof Rest Camp back in 1954 when weary travellers knocked on the door for a place to sleep and relax. Soon enough Oupie built rondavels (round African thatched huts) to accommodate these random guests, while Oumie cooked a pot of soup to sustain them through the night. Some 30 years later the guest house had developed into a fully fletched participant in the tourism trade and was registered (in 1984) as ‘Old Joe’s Kaia’ by the owners Willie and Spies.
‘Kaia’ (also spelt Khaya and Kaya) means ‘Haven’ and ‘Home’ in various African languages.Thus, the name ‘Old Joe's Kaia’ means ‘The home of Old Joe’ – a complete story in itself!
‘Old Joe’ actually refers to a rock that was excavated during the construction of the main road through the valley back in 1927. This rock resembles a man with a pot belly and was aptly named after Joe Barbas, the well liked construction supervisor at the time. The rock was erected next to the road.
Over the years the tradition began to give the rock a coat of paint by anyone with a cause for celebration or the promotion of an event. Although the rock was moved further up the road to the start of Patatanek in 2000, Joe has stayed a prominent feature, landmark and mascot for Old Joe’s Kaia.
Five cats and two dogs are also part of the family, keeping guard and delighting many animal lovers.