The history and origins of ‘Kloof’ go back nearly four generations. Originally the residential area currently known as Kloof, was a farm. An exciting event in the life of the owners of Richmond Farm, as well as the transport riders who regularly traversed the route from Durban to Pietermaritzburg, was the arrival of the railway line. This was opened through Krantz Kloof (the name by which the area was then known) in March 1879.
The residential area of Kloof was originally called ‘Krantzkloof’ by J C Field the First, after the nearby Kloof Gorge, but this name was later changed to ‘Kloof’ at the special request of the General Manager of the Railways because there had been significant confusion and mis-delivery of goods when the name was confused with Kranskop. Another motivating reason, was the belief that the name Kloof, being shorter, would be more user-friendly. As a result, in 1922, the Railways asked the locals (and especially the Field family), for permission to change the name of the station. The change was made on the 3rd of July, 1922, with the town following suit.
Previously, however, in 1904, an influential group of Durban women, called The Guild of Loyal Women (GLW), had started a convalescent home for British soldiers injured in the Boer War named the Krantzkloof Convalescent Home (Durban was too hot and humid for the troops, who were unused to tropical climates, whereas Kloof’s climate, being 550 metres above sea level, was once voted amongst the five best climates in the World). The GLW bought the land from Apperley’s Estate for the princely sum of 2,250. The Home later went on to care for elderly people, as well as a limited number of children in need. Control of the home later passed to a group of Kloof residents. A further change occurred in 1951, when the Abelia Road property’s name was changed to Kloof Rest Home – the name by which that specific property continues to be known today. The Rotary connection commenced in 1985 and, thus, the ethos of care, which continues today, began.
In an existence of 117 years, Kloof rest Home, now known as Kloof Retirement Villages, has grown from a small convalescent home to a noteworthy organisation comprising of a care facility and four independent-living retirement estates.
The continued inclusion of Kloof in the name, guarantees an invaluable link to both the past, as well as our ancestral facility in Abelia Road – Kloof Rest Home, which now focuses primarily on independent living under the name Krantzkloof Park. (The organisation has developed into one which encompasses much more than just ‘care’ alone; it is now also a leading figure in independent living facilities, as well as ageing-in-place practices, and is generally acknowledged as being the ‘go-to’ people for retirement matters in the Upper Highway area.