In 1998, Princess Irene of The Netherlands bought Bergplaas, a 5000 hectare farm in the heart of the South African Karoo. And so began a highly personal, fifteenyear- long journey during which she embarked on the ambitious plan to return the land to its original pristine habitat and to enable people from around the world to rediscover their reconnection with nature.
Princess Irene writes from the heart, beautifully depicting the harsh climate and conditions of the Karoo’s semi-desert while allowing the reader to contemplate our relationship with planet Earth and proffering a hopeful message for a potentially sustainable future. Profoundly insightful, deeply moving and at times hilariously funny, Bergplaas provides an important tool for healing the rift between people and nature and, ultimately, for the reconnection to the inner-self.
"Bergplaas must surely be about the most passionate, most persuasive expression of Biophilia – the love of nature – one might imagine. A powerful tale of reconnection to the Earth, Princess Irene of the Netherlands shares her vision of oneness to all life around us, inviting people from all backgrounds to partake in transcultural communication towards a sustainable future for our planet."
– Dr John M. Anderson, Associate Prof., Africa Earth Observation Network (AEON), palaeontologist
"Princess Irene's passionate memoir is a brave, lyrical song to true Nature rediscovered in her African Eden: it comes at a time when humanity must reconnect to the Earth to find healing. It deeply resonates with what has inspired my own life in Africa. A must read for all who seek life's meaning."
– Kuki Gallmann
"Bergplaas is an open and honest account of Princess Irene and her journey to discover the true meaning of being Homo sapiens – of discovering the soul in all of life. It speaks to the realization that it is not nature that needs healing, but people."
– Werner Myburgh, Chief Executive Officer, Peace Parks Foundation