Enjoy the real taste of Africa

Come with us, the world's leading rooibos tea estate, on a journey into the rich natural heritage of the 'red bush', from its unique environment through to the distinctive flavours captured in a cup of our signiture African Dawn range.

A Brand Of

The Big five Rooibos Company




The Flagship of the African Dawn Range.

Individually packed tag-and-string envelopes, available in Original and five other flavours, elegantly presented in a hand-crafted wooden tea chest. The chests are available in dark wood or meranti.


As a caffine-free, low- tannin beverage full of natural anti- oxidents, Rooibos reminds us how good a healthy lifestyle can taste. Research in South Africa and America has shown Rooibos may contribute to reducing cancer, heart disease,allergies (eg. Asthma, hayfever, eczema) premature aging and other serious conditions.

From Bush to Bag

Single Origin

Our Single Origin Rooibos collection includes teas that are grown in one specific region around the world. These teas include our certified Rooibos Red Tea. All of our rooibos we pack in blends and flavours in state-of-the-art sealed foil bags so that our customers can taste the freshness of the tea leaves.

Our Estate


Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate was founded in 1956 by Willie Engelbrecht. Over the past six decades, the Estate has successfully grown into a flourishing Rooibos enterprise. Today it is managed by third generation Engelbrecht family members.

The family is steeped in the traditions of tea growing. Every stage of tea growing and tea processing is carefully monitored on site by family members and managers, to ensure the premium quality that has come to be associated with African Dawn products.

Our Factory


Sifting and pasteurisation rooibos has been our core business since 2001. In 2007 we expanded our range of services by adding a packaging facility geared to provide brand owners with a complete range of packaging options.

The Factory


To ensure we achieve the highest quality product possible, we process the rooibos right here on our estate in the beautiful Cederberg. From sifting to pasteurisation to packing, our tea is produced just kilometres from where it was grown in modern facilities. hereby guarantying consistency, quality and sustainability on a long term basis.


The Founder & Teamaker

Willem Engelbrecht BSc Agric, MBA

Our Teamaker

Since I was no taller than the rooibos bushes I played amongst, the red tea has been part of my life. Then and until his death my father and mentor - Oubaas Engelbrecht - taught me everything he knew about farming and producing rooibos.

Dad was one of the most influential people the rooibos industry has seen and numerous systems and equipment currently still in use, were designed by him. Like all visionaries, he was not afraid to swim upstream and challenge the paradigms.

He also taught me that you should never put your name on something that you are not proud of. So when I established The Big Five Rooibos Company quality became our founding philosophy and is why we only put the finest rooibos in our African Dawn range.

The secret to producing a premium rooibos lies in knowing your farm and its attributes. Like wine, terroir - or the earth - plays a major role in the quality and taste of rooibos.

Willem Engelbrecht

About Rooibos


For thousands of years a people known as the indigenous people lived in a rugged, dry, mountaneous region at the southern tip of the African continent - now called the Cederberg Mountains in South Africa. They survived in the beautiful yet unforgiving environment by handing down the secrets of forna and flora from generation to generation.

One of these secrets was a plant later called the Rooiboss bush. A bush that grew nowhere else on earth. And that, like the Indigenous people, had roots so deep it thrived in the harsh environment.


The bush would later be called Aspalathus Linearis and first came to the world's attention when in 1772 botanist Carl Humberg noted the fine, needle-like leaves, when bruised and left to ferment in the African sun by the local Indigenous People created a tasty, thirst quenching red beverage.

In the 1930s DR. P. Le Fras Nortier, a physician and nature lover, discovered that Rooibos possessed exceptional agricultural and medicinal value. Demand grew, prompting farmers turned their attention to commercial production of the bush.

To this day it remains one of South Africa's few endemic wild resources that's succeeded in becoming a commercially cultivated crop.

The Rooibos Process

The superb taste that lovers of African Dawn Rooibos enjoy, celebrates the end of a long journey - a journey that originates in the fertile soil of Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate in the Clanwilliam region, and years later finds completion in the cup. All along this journey, quality travels as a faithful companion.



Rooibos seedlings are cultivated in an outdoor nursery. This is the only stage in its life cycle when the plant is irrigated. Seed is directly sown into the ground during February, and seedlings are transplanted into plantation from July to August. One kilogram of seed yields on average between 10-18 hectares of plantation.

Growth Stages
Growth Stages

Growth Stages

YEAR 1: February - seed is sown into beds. July/August - seedlings from the nursery are transplanted into the tea plantations.

YEAR 2: May - bushes are cut down to 30 cm above ground level to attain a uniform height.

YEAR 3: January - March : only 18 months after the sowing/transplantation phase, the tea is ready to be harvested.



Rooibos is harvested for the first time approximately 18 months after being transplanted from the nursery. During the harvesting process two-thirds of the bush is cut off, either by hand with sickles or with custom-made harvesting machines. Rooibos bushes are harvested once a year during the hot and dry summer months of January until April. A normal rooibos plantation will last for three to four harvests before the plantation is cleared.


Cutting and Drying

After being harvested, the Rooibos are bound into bundles, which are then transported to the drying court. Here high speed cutting machines are used to cut the Rooibos into 2-6 mm lengths. The cut leaves are then fermented, a process which lends the tea its distinctive brick-red colour and aroma. Then the leaves are sundried for five to eight hours. The dried tea is then collected by machines, and eventually stored in bulk bags.


Sifting and Pasteurisation

All Rooibos is sifted to clear it of coarser particles and tea dust,and also to ensure a uniformly cut length. After the product has been sifted, it is pasteurised with pressurised steam to eliminate unwanted bacteria, fungi, yeasts and moulds. After the pasteurisation, warm and dry air is blown over the Rooibos to ensure a stable moisture content before it is packed into 17 - 20 kg bulk bags.



Bulk Rooibos is exported in either 17-18 kg paper bags, or in 20 kg polypropylene bags. The paper bags can be palletised and shrink-wrapped, with a maximum of 50 bags per pallet. Apart from the African Dawn range, The Big Five Rooibos Company is also able to package other costumers' own brands. The packaging facilities on the Estate offers a variety of options: tagless teabags, tag-and-string, loose tea, and many more.

Pour a Cup of our Rooibos,

Sit Back and Enjoy the Real Taste of Africa


The name African Dawn originated from our love for Africa. We blend all that Africa has to offer into one cup of tea. Blend of peacefulness, beauty of the wild and the powerful plant of rooibos. Come and sip our exquisite rooibos teas, as you greet the dawn of a brand new day.

Generations of this family run business have devoted every new harvest to extracting the ultimate Rooibos flavour in an exquisaite blend of soil, sun and water. So no-one knows better what flavours complement their brew. Some are tried and trusted. Some more surprising. But all approved by a family that know harmony when they taste it.











The Big Five Rooibos Company

The Big Five Company

In 1998 The Big Five Rooibos Company founded by Willem Engelbrecht, in association with Oubaas Engelbrecht, leading farmer and pioneer in the rooibos industry and Kobus Coetzee, previous head of marketing and sales for one of South Africa's leading financial institutions. Since 1998 the company has grown into a leading exporter of the finest quality single origin estate Rooibos Tea.

In 2000 The Big Five Rooibos Tea Company's quest for excellence was rewarded with the International Gold Star Award for Quality in Geneva, Switzerland.

As all production, processing and packaging stages are performed on site; the client can be assured of stringent quality control measures throughout the whole supply chain. Rooibos is sold in various packed ranges under The Big Five Rooibos Company's own brand, African Dawn Estate Rooibos.

How We Give Back

Social Responsibility

The Big Five Rooibos Company strives to educate and uplift the workers on the estate to fulfill the potential of the community.

Workers of Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate have the opportunity to participate in courses that enable them to do their work to the best of their ability. These courses include fork lift licenses, safety and first aid and welding. The workers can also obtain drivers licenses. By obtaining these certificates and licenses, the workers qualify for higher post levels and better salaries.

The South African government in combination with Media Works, provides computers and work books to all the farm workers participating in our learn-to-read project. Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate has provided a learning area so that the participants study in an educational friendly environment and the facilitator is provided by The Big Five Rooibos Company.

Enjoy & Learn about Rooibos

Rooibos and Eco Tourism

A trip to the Cedarberg area offers the perfect breakaway for city slickers who long to leave the bright lights behind for the weekend. Only two hours north of Cape Town towers the majestic mountain range with its fascinating rock sculptures, San rock paintings and dazzling wild flower Spring-spectacle. The rugged mountains are complemented by the tranquil waters of the Clanwilliam dam - a watersport enthusiast's paradise where swimming, sailing, water-skiing and canoeing can be enjoyed to hart's delight.

Tucked away in the fertile Olifantsrivier Valley, we are easily accessible to travellers end route to exploring the wild beauty of the West Coast. Situated 22 km west of Clanwilliam on the R364 towards Lamberts Bay, the estate lies a mere 40 minutes' drive from the pristine coastline of the Atlantic Ocean. Besides boasting immense bird colonies, the region prides itself on a unique brand of old fashioned hospitality.

Whether just passing through or on a mission to explore the natural beauty of the Cedarberg area, visitors to Groenkol are welcome to drop their bags, kick up their feet and enjoy the relaxed charm the estate offers:

  • Clean, comfortable accommodation in 3 chalets
  • A rooibos and fynbos tour for the curious nature and tea lover
  • A wild outdoor eating experience at the bush restaurant, "Uilkombuis"
  • Mountain bike and hiking trails for the adventure enthusiast
  • Bushmen paintings and sandstone caves for the historically inclined


TEL: +27 (0) 21 982 8555

Contact Us

Farm & Factory:

Groenkol Rooibos Tea Estate

PO Box 370

Clanwilliam 8135

South Africa

Tel: +27 21 982 8555

Fax: + 27 21 982 7555


Head Office:

African Dawn Estate Rooibos

30-31 Higro Park

Fourie Street



South Africa

Tel: +27 21 982 8555

Fax: +27 21 982 7555