Santa Rosa is named after the Catholic Saint Rose of Lima, Peru. Saint Rose was known for both her life of asceticism and her care for the needy in the city of Lima. Saint Rose is the patron saint of Peru and all of South America as well as of embroiderers, gardeners and florists.
A Spanish Hacienda in the Zululand bush named after a catholic Saint might seem a little incongruous but it was exactly this oddity that perked the interest of the owners to purchase the property in April of 2019. At the time there was another prospective buyer who had already drawn up plans for a new home to be built on the site, Santa Rosa was to be demolished and buried in a hole in the depression just beyond the coconut palms. Perhaps it was Saint Rose, ‘known for a few miracles’ she might have manipulated the events that led to saving Santa Rosa? Santa Rosa was a dilapidated wreck, overgrown and left to decay it had fallen into disrepair and neglect for more than 20 years. The refurbishment of the property was done with every effort to retain the original integrity of the old hacienda and reopened as a guest house in December 2020.
Santa Rosa was built in the early 1960’s by an eccentric German Catholic by the name of Hein Wicht, born and raised in Cape Town by his English mother and German father he later authored several books from travel memoirs and thrillers to a book on the Palms of Southern Africa. While exploring Buenos Aires in Argentina Hein was inspired by the Spanish architecture and clay tile roofs. Hein built several Spanish homes along the Natal coast during his life and named them all after Saints. Santa Rosa was his swansong, widowed and lonely he chose to establish a hideaway near Lake St Lucia where he penned several books from his study in the tower overlooking the lake that he loved to explore in his boat.
Hein Wicht was a man of the sea, boating was his passion and he captained one of the last square-rigged sailing ships trading in the South Seas. He sailed extensively on the west coast of South Africa where he enjoyed many adventures and like a true pirate some diamond dealing on that treacherous skeleton coast. A tattoo of a sailing ship adorned his chest and he was always immaculately turned out, his evening routine was to dress up correctly with a white shirt, longs and a red cummerbund with a monocle around his neck, ready to enjoy sundowners. When visiting at midday, neat brandy would be served in sherry glasses.
The lure of Africa led Hein in the footsteps of Alan Quartermain along game trodden trails. He explored tropical rivers and visited romantic places like Sofala, the Ophir of the Bible. His wanderlust took him to places far removed from his beloved Africa. He craved palms and sunshine and possessed a fanatical hatred of the cold. Despite the latter his restlessness drove him on a journey through Siberia and a crossing of the southern Andes. He roamed the world from Panang to Papeete, traveling in mailships, tramps, schooners and junks. In the 1960’s Hein was regarded as South Africa’s most traveled writer. He finally found peace among the palms of his own planting right here at Santa Rosa.