Thomas Earl Skaife bought the estate from the Cape Marine Suburbs in 1911. He sold it to Friedrich Wilhelm Knacke in 1920 who named the estate Earl’s Dyke. Knacke demolished the original house in 1929 and built on it a house to be envied. This house designed by William Grant still remains today.
“The site itself is one to be envied, for the house is built on a spur of the mountain that juts out between two ravines. Each of these ravines has been treated in a natural manner, with paths falling through flowering shrubs and indigenous trees to streams. In one of these is a waterfall, below which has been built an open-air swimming pool, entirely shaded by the tall side of the ravine. It is nature aided by subtleties that pass as Nature’s handiwork.” Cape Argus December 1929
Trude Knacke (Friedrich Wilhelm Knacke’s daughter) inherited Earl’s Dyke in 1945. She recalls many fond childhood memories of the place, especially of the old natural pool which is now known as the ‘meditation pool’. The seventies styled brick pool-house on the terrace (now our Wellness Centre) was built comparatively recently in 1985.
In 2002 Maree Brink, backed by his close business associates, his parents, the late Mr Eugene Brink and Hannetjie Brink, attorney Pierre Le Roux, Johannes Lategan and Roelof Troskie took over custodianship of Earl’s Dyke from Trude.
In 2003, the neighbouring property, 3 Chilworth, was acquired, renovated, renamed Deck House and incorporated into the estate. In contrast with the formal Earl’s Dyke Manor, Deck House has been developed along clean modern lines with plenty of sunlight and large wooden decks. The Deck House has an exclusive pool and all the rooms have private decks.
The Villa, a further neighbouring property, was the latest addition to the estate in 2005.
The vision of the new custodians is to establish a private nature reserve and retreat with extensive gardens, a nursery and a re-established natural forest. The extensive gardens at Camps Bay Retreat have undergone a fair amount of upgrading and development and they will continue to grow and be developed.
In 2004 a hanging bridge that joins the neighbouring properties was constructed. The bridge links the two properties, Earl’s Dyke Manor and the Deck House, to create a unique setting surrounded by nature, sea and utmost natural beauty.