Babylonstoren is not your typical Cape Wine Estate. It sits backed by the majestic Simonsberg Mountains looking out over the Drakenstein Valley. This prime location between the towns of Paarl and Franschhoek, and only a 45 minute drive from Cape Town, make it very accessible. Being founded in 1690 makes it one of the oldest farms in the area and the building layout and many of its structures reflect classic Cape Dutch architecture. The owners have sympathetically redeveloped the property, not only to revive and showcase its long history, but also to give it a contemporary edge that appeals to modern travellers. The old barn has been brought back to life with the incorporation of antique working implements found at the homestead during restoration work.
This unassuming, classic Cape vernacular style building has been divided into areas for four different offerings: an on-site bakery with wood-fired oven producing artisan breads, a wine tasting area offering estate wines and others from the area, a variety of aged cheeses and a deli room with the finest cured meats. Other facilities at the estate included a boutique hotel (guests have the run of the farm for cycles or walks in the vineyards or swimming in the dam), a spa to pamper yourself and a gym for fitness fanatics.
The jewel of the estate however is the eight-acre formal fruit and vegetable garden. Produce here reflects a diverse biological spread and most of the fruit and vegetables will be found at some point as ingredients in the delicious, fresh dishes created by the chefs at the Babel Restaurant. The layout of the garden is a formal grid pattern but the way it was constructed and the incorporated details give it a rustic feel. At the end of the garden lies the small Greenhouse Restaurant that serves delicious, freshly baked goods – a great place for afternoon tea under the oak trees.
This sounds like a place you just can’t miss if you have plans to visit Cape Town! Thanks for sharing it with us, Derek. If any travelers are fortunate enough to be headed to South Africa during its summer months, consider getting in touch with Derek to show you all sorts of hidden gems in and around Cape Town.