Mystery, romance, and a relationship forged on the slopes of a mountain


Malcolm Randles fell in love on Simonsberg Mountain, but it’s always been close to his heart. Ever since his days as a Stellenbosch University student, he was intrigued by its pull. “The mountain for me holds this mystical, restorative power,” he says. Years later, when Randles returned, he met a woman who lived on the mountainside. She would one day become his wife.

On their first date, the couple climbed the mountain together, taking just half a litre of water between them. That day temperatures soared to 45 degrees; an irrigation dam at the base of the mountain presented an irresistible reprieve. “Coming down, we jumped in and didn’t speak for most of the time we were in the water,” Randles says. “We were too exhausted.” Somewhere between the swim and the scramble down, they fell in love.

Randles returns to Simonsberg to enjoy the sheer beauty of the mountain, which offers views across Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Here, he is reminded of one of the defining moments of his life. “We definitely forged our relationship here and for that I am eternally grateful to the mountain,” Randles says. “It will always hold a great significance to me emotionally.” With thousands of plant varieties, numerous hiking routes and indescribable views, the backdrop to this romance is also one of the Western Cape’s greatest treasures. “I was lucky enough to fall in love here, not just with my wife but definitely South Africa,” Randles says.