Roger Beach is English born (west country farming family)
and spent his early years growing up in West Africa where his
father was involved in the building of the University in Ibadan,
Nigeria. "I don't
remember wearing a shirt for years when I was dashing about the
bush as a small boy" he declares proudly.
Roger went to school in the West Country of England at
Hazlegrove in Somerset, followed by King's Bruton and graduated
with honours from Durham University reading Economics & Economic
He qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant having started
his business career as a graduate entrant to Cadbury's moving on
to become Chief Accountant of Hertz in the UK. His career path
then turned towards merchant banking in the City of London when he
joined Montagu's - a stepping stone to becoming involved with
various insurance and re-insurance ventures based principally in
New York and Bermuda.
With his diversified and absorbing life and one spent living in
different locations around the world he found it was the Karoo
that drew him back time and again. Indeed it was during
one of his many visits to South Africa in the 1990's when he
met a leading wing shooting expert who alerted him to a Farm for
sale in the high Karoo. He subsequently bought it together with
the adjoining farm allowing him ownership of 13,000 hectares of
the Highlands of the Karoo.
He now spends as
much time as possible on the farm, now known as the
Schanskraal Estate, together with his wife and son.
He met his wife Charlotte, in London in 2003. They shared
a natural curiosity and sense of adventure and had similar
interests. They were married in 2004 in Matjiesfontein in
the Karoo - a tiny Victorian outpost of the British Empire rich
in history. They boarded the elegant Rovos Rail Train at Cape
Town on a Monday morning and at 6.00pm that evening were married
in the Chapel at Matjiesfontein. "It was the most magical time,
it was the most wonderful place to get married" they both
Also English born, Charlotte was educated at Godstowe
Preparatory School and then at Benenden School in Kent.
Following periods spent studying and working in Switzerland and
Rio de Janeiro, she pursued a career in the sale of residential
property in London, becoming a Director of Savills and then
setting up her own business as a London buying agent for
overseas investors in prime residential property.
Like Roger she had a connection to Africa through her parents.
After World War II, during which her father flew 3 tours of ops
as a Lancaster bomber pilot earning a DFC* and her mother a
member of the FANY organisation working for SOE at their
headquarters in London, they flew down to South Africa as
part of a 6 month honeymoon trip in their private plane (Auster
Autocrat) settling in Durban for many years to live.
With their shared passion for the country and outdoor pursuits
Roger and Charlotte spend a great deal of their time and energy
pursuing their plans for Schanskraal.
Since Roger bought the two farms, derelict dwellings
located on the Estate have been refurbished, including two
historic principal buildings, now known as Burgersrust Lodge and the family
home - The Country Manor, and a number of staff houses have been built. He
also built a 1.3 x 1km cross air strip on the property and with
his keen sense for conservation and preservation over the years
has worked on an intensive programme to bring back the land by
introducing planned grazing and cattle together with the
creation of 3 large dams.
In addition to the farming of cattle and sheep, Schanskraal has
many other facets including tourism, bird shooting and
Visitors come from within South Africa and overseas to enjoy its many
outdoor pursuits such as hiking, mountain trails and walks,
canoeing, quadbiking, archery, horse riding, bird watching, fly
fishing and game viewing and from April to July each year
organised shooting parties come for the careful and structured
shooting of the sought after Grey Wing, found on the Estate.
Schanskraal is also home to an equestrian centre, The
Welbech Stud, established in 2003 by Roger Beach in
conjunction with Leanne Wels, the breeder and trainer, where Arab horses are
bred for endurance and where the Schanskraal FEI Endurance Ride
is held each year. Recently they completed the
installation of 3.6km of post and rail fencing to create five
hectares of landscaped paddocks, a 60m
showing arena and covered grandstand and in 2012 will be
in a position of having trained Endurance horses for sale.
Roger and Charlotte have for some while now been pursuing and
planning their latest dream for Schanskraal of creating a "First
Class Sporting Estate in the Karoo".
Further sporting facilities
would be designed and built, including a sporting clay shooting
ground, a golf course and driving range, with the design emphasis
always towards camouflaging them into the natural terrain to
minimise any visual impact on the landscape.
The proposed area for the Sporting Estate and its accompanying
country houses is discreet and occupies only 10% of the total
size of Schanskraal. By offering plots of land for purchasers to
construct a home to enjoy with their family and friends it would
become "A place where like minded individuals can share in a
It is clear Roger and Charlotte feel very strongly about their
beloved Schanksraal. "We are so privileged to be able to wake
each morning in this very special part of the
world, where we can genuinely delight in the opportunities that
we see before us".