Situated at the foot of the Simonsberg mountain, this working farm sprawls across acres of beautiful gardens, a spa, multiple accommodation units, a winery, two restaurants, a farm shop and more!
One of those magical places where you can spend an entire weekend, entertained with an array of different pastimes without ever having to leave – this encapsulates the experience at Babylonstoren.
Situated at the foot of the Simonsberg mountain, this working farm sprawls across acres of beautiful gardens, a spa, multiple accommodation units, a winery, two restaurants, a farm shop and more! A day visit does not do the farm justice when exploring all that it has to offer, and being lucky enough to spend a long weekend here (on two separate occasions) I think we have gotten a good flavour of all that Babylonstoren has to offer.
Whilst it is difficult to select a single favourite activity, the expansive gardens with their luscious fruits and different floral scents are possibly the single biggest drawcard to most visitors – particularly those who visit for just a day. It’s the second most visited garden in South Africa (after the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens), with different areas of the garden having distinct characters, from the more arid cactus maze to a green forest footpath. The healing garden offers a quiet reprieve from the crowds and the greenhouse can also be booked out for private functions.
There are several choices of accommodation to choose from – we stayed in the Fynbos Cottages which are about 1km from the farm and offer a secluded getaway from the daily hustle and bustle. The cottages draw on the old Cape Dutch style, with neutral tones and tasteful styling. Whether it’s the soft goose-down feather duvets or the crackling fireplace in winter, we spent hours just relishing in the luxury. A large part of that was spent soaking in the luxurious bathtub, with some bath herbs freshly picked from the garden.
When we did decide to wander out and about, our first choice was the heated pool and jacuzzi situated at the Fynbos Cottages, equipped with its own self-service bar. The pool and sauna by the spa also offer you the option to break a sweat, but not in the traditional sense. We did get to take the bikes out for a ride every morning to get our daily dose of exercise, and also enjoyed rowing on the dam. There are also fishing rods if you want to try your hand at fishing, but that would have been a bit of a stretch for us both. In the afternoon, we also got to enjoy a sunset drive up to one of the highest points on the estate, enjoying a birds-eye view of the farm below.
The breakfasts are served at the main restaurant, Babel, and are a multi-course indulgence beginning with some cold meat, fruit and yogurt followed by a hot breakfast. Most of the food is produced and harvested on the farm, which echoes Babylonstoren’s farm-to-fork approach to dining. A freshly picked fruit basket was also delivered to our cottage every afternoon.
Babylonstoren also has it’s own farm shop, butchery and bakery. We did a bread-making course at the bakery – where we learned to bake delicious sourdough. Linsen made a long cheese and spring onion loaf while I made a garlic bread. The lovely ladies at the bakery even gave me some of their starter to take home – unfortunately my inattentiveness meant it didn’t last very long. I tried to get the recipe for their delicious croissants as well, but that is kept under lock and key.
On our second visit, we did the wine cellar tour, which takes you through the vineyards into the wine cellars and finally underground, where all the barrels are stored. The experience culminates in a wine tasting, where we got to taste a total of 10 wines and food pairings to match – needless to say we stumbled away a bit light-footed after it was over.
All in all it was a truly wonderful escape on a farm filled with beauty and magic. We can’t wait for our next visit. Babylonstoren.com