The original owner of the farm Doornkraal was Hermanus Egbertus Steyn. He was the great-grandson of master builder Douwe Gerbrandt Steyn,
who in 1668 arrived from Leeuwarden in Friesland, to build the Castle of Good Hope.
Douwe Gerbrandt Steyn is the great-great grandfather of the current owner of the De Doornkraal Estate & De Doornkraal Historic Country House boutique hotel, Professor Pieter Gerbrandt Steyn.
The farm Doornkraal was proclaimed a loan farm in 1746, the same year as another historic Riversdale farm Zeekoegat which was declared a National Monument. HermanusEgbertus Steyn, born in 1773 on the farm Groot Vadersbosch between Swellendam and Heidelberg, was the brother of Douw Steyn later of the farm Cloetenburg in the Stellenbosch district, on which the village of Somerset West was established.
In 1838 the Steyn family sold a portion of the farm Doornkraal to the "Godsdienstige Gesticht" to establish Riversdale.
The thatched homestead located at Langstraat 8 was built between 1746 and 1770, and is the original homestead of the farm Doornkraal.
This beautifully restored homestead is today the main dwelling of the De Doornkraal Historic Country House.
Riversdale was named after Civil Commissioner Sir Harry Rivers and proclaimed a town on 30 August 1838 with Long Street (Langstraat) as the focal point.
The first "Lots" stretched all the way from the current Van Riebeeck Street to the Vette River on the eastern boundary. The "Lots" were bisected by a long unproclaimed road running parallel to the Vette River, stretching all the way to where the golf course is today. Hence the name "Langstraat" (which means "long street"). That was the access road to Riversdale from the south-east in the vicinity of the current golf course. The remains of the old "wa-brug" (Wagon Bridge) built in the 1800's are still evident where the Vette and Goukou rivers meet.