Recently our nature club organised a visit to Babylonstoren. Most of the members could not make it but we decided to go anyway and it was a wonderful treat, despite being delayed for about 2 hours due to traffic!
It is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms located in the Drakenstein Valley which was originally inhabited by the Khoisan people. After the arrival of the French Huguenots, and the expansion of the Cape Colony, the farm was granted to the burger Pieter van der Byl in 1692. He laid out the first vineyards on the farm.
Guests are free to stroll around the farm and explore. We explored a tiny part of it, as the farm is 200 hectares. The fruit and vegetable garden (8 hectares) is where we spent most of our time.
I stopped to ask one of the gardeners if they sell the produce and he informed me that the produce is used in the two restaurants on the farm. My little veg garden is so small and produces so little in comparison to this wonderful garden!
I was amazed to see Sunflowers in full bloom as mine have long since been dead and dried out for next years planting. I will certainly sow more seeds later in the season next year.
We caught up with them after they sped off and found them playing hide and seek in the prickly pear orchard.
Water is fed into waterways that run through the garden. This was a great relief for me as my shoes broke not long after we arrived. I could walk in the water channels or on the raised walls, instead of the paths which really hurt my feet!
We stopped to watch some beautiful birds flitting around and the children discovered nests of their own.
I could certainly do with a nest of my own.... a quiet spot to relax in!
The farm shop was a delight to explore too. One can purchase wines from Babylonstoren as well as surrounding wine cellars. Hand-crafted cheeses and delicious cold meats alongside freshly baked artisan breads would be perfect for any picnic! Freshly picked fruit from the farm was available too. Various preserves and handmade soaps and so much more to delight the senses. The kids enjoyed the dried pumpkin sprinkled with castor sugar.
I was thankful to leave with belated birthday gift for my sister (rhubarb and plum preserve and some dried pumpkin) as well as a loaf of bread that had an entire garlic bulb baked into the middle of it. My friend chose the cheese and spring onion bread as well as a Merlot sour dough bread....all delicious!
There is plenty to do at Babylonstoren. One can stay overnight at the farm hotel and guests can make use of the spa, gym and swimming pool. There are daily guided tours of the garden, guided cellar tours that take one through the wine making process from the vineyards to the bottle, and then wine tasting. Guests can canoe on the farm dam, hike up the koppie or cycle through the vineyards. It is also a birdwatchers and photographers paradise. Something I know I would truly enjoy is a return visit to enjoy a meal at one of their restaurants.This is certainly a wonderful piece of paradise worth visiting if you have never been. Linger a little or perhaps a lot longer.....