The Bainskloof Ruins & Piet Hugo.

Piet Hugo had long had a dream of building a house for his wife that would “rest against the clouds” and have an amazing view.

It was through a fortune that he made through jam canning in Wellington that allowed him to think about building a house. His factory was in Bain Street surrounded by the mountains he loved, and it was in this setting, that he wanted to build his house.

However, Mr Hugo unfortunately became ill and his dream needed to be realised with more urgency. The land on which he chose to build his house was purchased from Dawid Joubert, which was a land that comprised most of the area of the western bank of the Witte River.

Mr Hugo approached a well-known builder, Mr Charl Marais, to build the house and construction began in early 1940, when Charl Marais and his workers moved in at the site.

They managed to utilise stone and sand, from the Witte River, that flowed close to the house, and donkeys were used for the transport of cement.

Amazingly, within only 9 months, the six bedroomed mansion, complete with marble floors, and beautifully wood-panelled reception rooms was complete.

Wellington Museum reports that, In a tragic twist, this beautiful house was never inhabited, as Piet Hugo died early 1941, he was buried near the house of his dream, and his wife, realising that this house was too far from civilization, had no desire to live in such a large mansion. The tragedy continues when one of Hugo’s sons was killed in World War II, and as such, this beautiful house in the clouds stood empty for 8 years. It was only a caretaker and his wife who lived there

Meanwhile, reports that both Hugo and his wife died in a fire that broke out. This fire might be the one that broke out in 1949 though as reports emerge that in February 1949, a group having a picnic, failed to extinguish the fire they had made at the stream next to Hugo’s house. The fire spread rapidly, and was aided by a gusty wind.

It took the Paarl fire brigade over 20 minutes to reach the house, and when they did arrive, their efforts were all in vain. In only a matter of minutes, all that remained of this remarkable mansion was blackened walls.

For many years afterwards only the ruins of the lonely old house stood. A sad reminder of Piet Hugo’s dream

The ghost of Bainskloof

In 1978, a couple of campers were murdered inside the ruins of the house by, what some reports say was an escaped convict. This is not the only murder associated with the area, one day a couple who had stopped off at the side of the road for sightseeing, were hijacked and shot dead.

Ever since then, there have been multiple reports of a woman on the pass, termed the Ghost of Bainskloof.

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