Now: I have read about this farm in numerous magazines and blogs. I have seen the beautiful pictures. But the photos and all the words failed. Nothing prepared me for just how astonishing Babylonstoren is.
The farm is situated in the Drakenstein Valley between Franschhoek and Paarl and dates back to 1690. Is has one of the best preserved “werfs” (farm yards) in the Cape Dutch tradition. The old manor house also dates back to 1777. It is now the private estate of Koos Bekker and Karen Roos which, if you have seen her work, goes some way to explaining the sophistication and chicness all around you when you visit the farm.
The main restaurant, called Babel, is in a converted cow shed and is simply beautiful with its floor to ceiling glass walls and white painted bricks. White all around, until you look at the menu. Their juices or salads are ordered according to colour, and you see the staff carrying arms full of fresh, newly picked produce (lots of beetroot on the day we visited) from the garden. An inspiring amount of attention to detail!
The little farm shop opposite the restaurant is just delightful! Aren’t these hats on offer simply beautiful? And just look at those boots!!
But the main event, in my opinion, and the place that took my breath away is their 8-acre garden, inspired by Company’s Gardens in Cape Town. It is beautifully laid-out with more than 300 varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs planted in such a way so as not only to be practical, but also to provide the visitor to the garden with an almost overwhelming visual experience. The farm also has 160 ducks who just add to the charming effect.
More about the hotel on Babylonstoren and the lovely new informal tearoom in their amazing glass conservatory tomorrow –I am not going to overload you further today in the same way we experienced a sensory overload while visiting this gem of a place. I cannot wait to go back. In the meantime, go and see for yourself when you are in the area. It is, notwithstanding the many ones I have used above, beyond words!!
Image credits: Nani Kornelius & Elanie Fourie