At the foot of Simonsberg in the Franschhoek wine valley in South Africa, lies Babylonstoren, one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms. As a working farm visitors and tourists can experience and relish in the wealth of the lands and enjoy the gardens.
This working farm with different gardens producing fruit as well as orchards producing wine, was one of the many outdoor places in the Western Cape we recently visited while in South Africa.
When you arrive at the farm you can start your walk either from the farm shop where the old farm house is or at the entrance building. You then work your way through the many different fruit and vegetable gardens. Just follow the various pathways because the lay out of these gardens are just superb. The accurate map you get at the entrance gives you all the general information and highlights where to go. You can also choose to join a tour of the gardens which is on offer daily.
Apart from the different fruit trees, orchards and gardens, you might also find the wine, olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting very interesting. The scented room where you can blend your own soaps, bath salts and scrubs offers a relaxing environment where you can slow down, unwind and smell the exquisite flowers, herbs and spices.
New to this area is the museum, The Story of Wine. It is an interactive space which depicts a visual documentary of the history and cultivation of wine. Even those in our group who had no interest in wine loved this part. Maybe because the visuals and accompanying audio were all extremely captivating!
Restaurant and more
After you’ve worked up an appetite by walking through the gardens, the puff adder walkway and more, the Greenhouse restaurant at the rear of the garden is a wonderful space to enjoy some food. The setting is informal and more picnic style which really suites the environment. We had a variety of dishes on our table, but the biltong sourdough sandwich with fresh salad was definitely one of the best.
The healing garden behind the restaurant, houses plants that traditionally work for different ailments. A very scenic and tranquil space.
Babylonstoren offers even more including a spa, hotel and more formal restaurant. Also, depending on the season you visit, you might be able to eat some of the fruit that grow in the different gardens. And you can’t walk away without a visit to the farm shop for some fresh produce like bread, jam, chutneys, cheeses and many more.
One thing about South Africans is that they are such a creative and innovative nation. Every time we visit South Africa I’m overwhelmed by this fact. And this time was no different.
Until the next time.