Welcome to Babylonstoren, a hidden gem nestled in the heart of South Africa. If you’re seeking a truly unforgettable travel experience, this enchanting destination is a must-visit. Situated in the Cape Winelands region, Babylonstoren offers a perfect blend of natural beauty, rich history, and tranquil retreats. Steeped in heritage dating back to the late 17th century, this historic Cape Dutch farm has been lovingly restored to its former glory.
With its idyllic location at the foot of the picturesque Drakenstein Mountains, Babylonstoren is a haven for those seeking a peaceful getaway. The farm encompasses an expansive estate, featuring meticulously manicured gardens, charming accommodation, and a plethora of activities to cater to every traveler’s interests.
Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking to unwind and reconnect with yourself, Babylonstoren offers something truly special. Immerse yourself in the beauty of its lush vineyards, meandering pathways, and vibrant gardens, as you embark on a journey of exploration and relaxation.
In this article, we will delve deeper into the fascinating history of Babylonstoren, explore its unique features and experiences, and provide you with all the essential information you need to plan your perfect visit. So pack your bags, and get ready to discover the wonders of Babylonstoren in South Africa.
History of Babylonstoren
The history of Babylonstoren dates back to 1692 when it was established as a farm by Jan van Riebeeck, the founder of Cape Town. Originally known as “Boerenplezier” (Farmers’ Delight), the farm was later renamed Babylonstoren by its then owner, Governor Simon van der Stel, in reference to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
Over the centuries, Babylonstoren went through various transformations and was eventually purchased by Karen Roos and Koos Bekker in 2007. Their vision was to restore the farm to its former glory and showcase its unique historical and botanical treasures to the world.
Today, Babylonstoren is renowned for its beautifully restored Cape Dutch buildings, which are a reflection of the region’s architectural heritage. The farm offers a glimpse into the past, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the rich history of the Cape Winelands.
One of the most notable features of Babylonstoren is its historic Cape Dutch Manor House, which dates back to 1777. This beautifully preserved building is now a luxury hotel, offering guests a chance to experience the charm and elegance of a bygone era.
Throughout its history, Babylonstoren has been a working farm, cultivating a variety of crops, including fruit, vegetables, and vineyards. Today, the farm continues its agricultural traditions, with a focus on organic and sustainable farming practices.
With its fascinating history and commitment to preserving its heritage, Babylonstoren is not just a destination; it’s a living testament to the rich cultural tapestry of South Africa, providing visitors with a true sense of the country’s past.
Unique features of Babylonstoren
Babylonstoren is renowned for its array of unique features that set it apart from other destinations in South Africa. From its remarkable gardens to its immersive experiences, here are some of the highlights that await you at Babylonstoren.
- Historic Cape Dutch architecture: The farm is home to impeccably restored Cape Dutch buildings that showcase the region’s architectural heritage. The beautifully preserved Manor House, barns, and farm cottages transport visitors back in time, providing a glimpse into the farm’s storied past.
- Extraordinary gardens: The gardens of Babylonstoren are a true horticultural wonder. Designed in the classic Cape Dutch style, they feature nine distinct sections, each with its own theme and unique selection of plants. Explore the fragrant Herb Garden, the vibrant Vegetable Garden, and the enchanting Babel Garden, each offering a feast for the senses.
- The Greenhouse: At Babylonstoren, you’ll find an impressive greenhouse filled with a diverse array of exotic plants. Step inside and be transported to a world of botanical wonders as you admire rare species from all corners of the globe.
- Wine cellar: As part of the farm’s rich agricultural heritage, Babylonstoren boasts a stunning wine cellar. Take a tour and indulge in wine tastings, allowing your taste buds to savor the delightful flavors of the region’s finest wines.
- Animal husbandry: Babylonstoren has its own dedicated area for animal husbandry, where visitors can interact with various farm animals, including goats, ducks, and chickens. Learn about sustainable farming practices and gain insight into the integral role animals play in maintaining the harmony of the farm.
- Wellness and spa: For those seeking relaxation and rejuvenation, Babylonstoren offers a tranquil spa nestled amidst the serene beauty of the estate. Indulge in luxurious treatments inspired by the farm’s natural surroundings and let your worries melt away.
- Restaurant and farm-to-table dining: The farm’s restaurant, Babel, is a culinary delight. Enjoy an exquisite farm-to-table dining experience, where the freshest ingredients from Babylonstoren’s gardens are expertly prepared to create delectable dishes.
- Charming accommodation: Stay overnight in one of Babylonstoren’s beautifully appointed farm cottages or in the luxurious Manor House. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the estate, surrounded by breathtaking views of the vineyards and mountains.
Together, these unique features make Babylonstoren a truly one-of-a-kind destination. Immerse yourself in its history, indulge in its natural beauty, and create memories that will last a lifetime.
Gardens at Babylonstoren
The gardens at Babylonstoren are a true masterpiece, meticulously designed to delight and inspire visitors. Spanning over eight acres, these gardens are an oasis of tranquility and beauty, offering a unique sensory experience. Let’s explore some of the highlights that await you in the gardens of Babylonstoren.
Fruit and Vegetable Garden: The heart of Babylonstoren’s gardens is the Fruit and Vegetable Garden. Here, you’ll find an impressive collection of organic and heirloom fruits, vegetables, and herbs. Take a leisurely stroll along the meandering pathways, marveling at the abundance of colors and fragrances. The garden serves as a living pantry, providing fresh and seasonal ingredients for the farm’s renowned restaurant, Babel.
Herb Garden: Discover the healing power of herbs in Babylonstoren’s Herb Garden. This secluded space is a sanctuary of medicinal plants, aromatic herbs, and exotic spices. Wander through the fragrant pathways, learn about the traditional uses of various herbs, and appreciate the therapeutic qualities of nature’s remedies.
Greenhouse: Step inside Babylonstoren’s incredible greenhouse, where you’ll find a captivating collection of rare and exotic plants from around the world. The greenhouse provides a protected environment for delicate species, ensuring their growth and preservation. Marvel at the diversity of plant life and learn about the importance of conservation and biodiversity.
Clivia Tunnel: Be enchanted as you walk through the vibrant Clivia Tunnel. This stunning feature showcases the radiant beauty of Clivia plants in full bloom. The tunnel is a sight to behold, with its vivid colors and delicate flowers creating a magical atmosphere.
Fragrant Garden: Engage your sense of smell in Babylonstoren’s Fragrant Garden, where a symphony of scents awaits. This enchanting oasis is filled with aromatic plants and flowers, perfuming the air with their delightful fragrance. Immerse yourself in this sensory experience and let the fragrant blooms transport you to a state of bliss.
Babel Garden: Inspired by the biblical story of the Tower of Babel, the Babel Garden is a riot of colors and textures. This eclectic mix of plants showcases the beauty of biodiversity, with a harmonious blend of flowers, shrubs, and ornamental grasses. Take a leisurely stroll through this visually captivating garden and appreciate the creativity and vision behind its design.
These are just a few of the remarkable gardens that await you at Babylonstoren. Each one offers a unique and immersive experience, inviting you to connect with nature and appreciate the wonders of the plant kingdom. Whether you’re a gardening enthusiast or simply looking to reconnect with the beauty of the natural world, the gardens at Babylonstoren are sure to leave a lasting impression.
Accommodation options at Babylonstoren
For those seeking a truly immersive experience at Babylonstoren, the farm offers a range of exquisite accommodation options. Whether you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family retreat, or a peaceful solo escape, Babylonstoren has accommodations to suit every traveler’s needs. Let’s explore the accommodation options available at this enchanting destination.
The Manor House: Experience luxury and elegance in the historic Manor House, dating back to 1777. This beautifully restored Cape Dutch building offers a unique blend of old-world charm and modern comfort. With its tastefully decorated rooms, spacious living areas, and private gardens, The Manor House provides an exclusive and intimate experience for guests seeking the utmost in sophistication and relaxation.
Farm Cottages: Nestled amidst the scenic beauty of the estate, Babylonstoren’s farm cottages are the epitome of rustic charm. These self-catering cottages offer a cozy and intimate retreat, providing guests with a peaceful sanctuary surrounded by vineyards and mountains. Each cottage is tastefully decorated and equipped with modern amenities, allowing for a comfortable and memorable stay.
Exclusive Mountain Suites: For those seeking seclusion and breathtaking views, Babylonstoren’s Exclusive Mountain Suites are the perfect choice. Located on the slopes of the Drakenstein Mountains, these spacious suites offer unrivaled privacy and panoramic vistas of the surrounding vineyards. Relax on your private terrace, soak in your own plunge pool, and immerse yourself in the tranquility of the natural surroundings.
Guardhouse: If you’re looking for a unique and quirky accommodation option, the Guardhouse fits the bill. This historic building, once used as a guard post, has been transformed into a charming cottage. With its cozy atmosphere and quaint interior, the Guardhouse provides a one-of-a-kind experience for guests seeking a touch of character and nostalgia.
Self-Catering Suites: Babylonstoren also offers self-catering suites, perfect for those seeking flexibility and independence during their stay. These well-appointed suites provide all the comforts of home, with fully equipped kitchens, comfortable living areas, and stylish bedrooms. Enjoy the freedom to prepare your own meals and make the most of your time at Babylonstoren.
Whichever accommodation option you choose, rest assured that Babylonstoren places a strong emphasis on providing a comfortable and memorable stay. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the estate, wake up to breathtaking views, and experience the true essence of luxury in the heart of South Africa.
Activities at Babylonstoren
Babylonstoren offers a wide range of activities to cater to every visitor’s interests. Whether you’re looking for adventure, relaxation, or a cultural experience, there is something for everyone at this enchanting destination. Here are some of the activities you can enjoy during your stay at Babylonstoren:
Garden Tours: Embark on a guided tour of Babylonstoren’s magnificent gardens and immerse yourself in the beauty and serenity of nature. Learn about the different plant species, their historical significance, and their role in the farm’s sustainable practices.
Wine Tastings: Indulge in the exquisite wines produced at Babylonstoren as you participate in wine tastings and cellar tours. Learn about the winemaking process, savor the unique flavors of the region, and discover why South African wines are revered around the world.
Cooking Classes: Delve into the culinary world with hands-on cooking classes led by expert chefs at Babylonstoren’s Farm Kitchen. Learn traditional South African recipes, gather fresh ingredients from the gardens, and master the art of creating delicious farm-to-table dishes.
Outdoor Activities: Explore the picturesque surroundings of Babylonstoren by taking part in outdoor activities such as hiking, cycling, or horseback riding. Experience the beauty of the Cape Winelands as you navigate scenic trails or trot through vineyards.
Animal Encounters: Interact with farm animals and gain insight into sustainable farming practices at the animal husbandry section of Babylonstoren. Feed the goats, collect eggs from the chickens, or simply observe the harmony between animals and nature.
Wellness and Spa: Relax and rejuvenate at Babylonstoren’s tranquil spa, where you can indulge in a variety of spa treatments inspired by the farm’s natural surroundings. Immerse yourself in serenity and allow the trained therapists to pamper you with their holistic approach to wellness.
Artisanal Workshops: Unleash your creativity and learn a new skill at one of Babylonstoren’s artisanal workshops. From pottery and painting to weaving and flower arranging, these workshops provide an opportunity to engage in traditional crafts and connect with your artistic side.
Farm-to-Table Dining: Savor the farm-fresh flavors at Babylonstoren’s restaurant, Babel, where the menu is inspired by the seasonal produce grown in the gardens. Enjoy a memorable dining experience, indulging in inventive dishes that showcase the farm’s bounty.
Cultural Experiences: Immerse yourself in the cultural heritage of Babylonstoren through guided tours of the historic buildings and exhibitions showcasing the farm’s intriguing history. Gain a deeper understanding of the Cape Dutch architecture and the farm’s significance in South African history.
With its array of activities, Babylonstoren ensures that every guest is spoiled for choice. Whether you prefer to relax, explore, or indulge in culinary delights, there is something to captivate every interest. Allow your senses to be dazzled and create lasting memories at this captivating destination.
Dining options at Babylonstoren
When it comes to dining, Babylonstoren offers a culinary experience like no other. With a focus on farm-to-table freshness, the farm’s restaurants provide a delicious exploration of flavors and a celebration of seasonal produce grown in their very own gardens. Here are the dining options available at Babylonstoren:
Babel: Babel is the flagship restaurant at Babylonstoren, renowned for its innovative and creative farm-to-fork dining experience. The menu is a vibrant tapestry of colors, flavors, and textures, showcasing the best of what the farm’s gardens have to offer. Dishes are prepared with the utmost care and precision, allowing the natural flavors of the ingredients to shine. Enjoy a culinary adventure as you savor dishes crafted with fresh, seasonal produce and locally sourced ingredients.
Greenhouse Tea Garden: Tucked away within the lush sanctuary of the greenhouse, the Greenhouse Tea Garden offers a delightful respite for tea enthusiasts. Here, you can sip on a selection of specially crafted herbal infusions, accompanied by freshly baked treats. Indulge in a moment of tranquility as you bask in the serene ambiance and lush surroundings.
The Bakery: At the heart of Babylonstoren’s culinary offerings, you’ll find The Bakery. This charming spot serves up a delectable array of artisanal bread, pastries, and sweets. Situated in a quaint Cape Dutch building, The Bakery is the perfect spot to indulge in freshly baked goods and enjoy a relaxed breakfast or lunch.
Wine Tastings: For wine enthusiasts, Babylonstoren offers the opportunity to experience their exceptional wines through wine tastings. Discover the unique flavors and aromas of their handcrafted wines as knowledgeable staff guide you through the tasting process. Learn about the winemaking techniques and the characteristics that make South African wines so distinctive.
Picnics and Lunch Boxes: Enjoy a lazy afternoon picnic or a scenic hike with the convenience of Babylonstoren’s picnic and lunch box offerings. Choose from a selection of delectable picnic baskets filled with gourmet treats, or opt for a wholesome lunch box filled with delicious goodies to fuel your adventure.
At Babylonstoren, dining is not just about the food; it’s a celebration of the farm’s commitment to sustainable, farm-to-table practices. Every meal is an opportunity to connect with nature, appreciate the flavors of the season, and experience the joy of truly fresh ingredients.
Whether you’re indulging in a multi-course feast at Babel, sipping tea in the greenhouse, or enjoying a picnic in the sprawling gardens, dining at Babylonstoren is an experience to be savored and remembered.
Local attractions near Babylonstoren
While Babylonstoren itself offers a wealth of experiences, there are also plenty of intriguing attractions to explore in the surrounding area. From historic towns to breathtaking natural wonders, here are some local attractions near Babylonstoren that you won’t want to miss:
Franschhoek: Just a short drive away from Babylonstoren, the charming town of Franschhoek is a must-visit destination for food and wine lovers. Known as the “Food and Wine Capital of South Africa,” Franschhoek is home to award-winning restaurants, world-class wine estates, and a rich cultural heritage. Take a stroll along the main street, explore the local shops and galleries, and indulge in a wine tasting or two at one of the many vineyards in the area.
Stellenbosch: Another nearby town that should be on your itinerary is Stellenbosch. This historic university town is famous for its Cape Dutch architecture, picturesque streets, and renowned wine estates. Visit the Stellenbosch Wine Route to sample exceptional wines, explore art galleries and museums, and savor the vibrant energy of this lively town.
Paarl: Explore the scenic town of Paarl, known for its majestic granite mountains and world-class wineries. Take a drive along the famous Paarl Rock Route, visit the Taal Monument, and enjoy wine tastings at some of the region’s oldest and most prestigious estates.
Table Mountain National Park: A visit to Cape Town wouldn’t be complete without experiencing the natural wonder of Table Mountain. Take a cable car ride to the top and enjoy panoramic views of the city, the Atlantic Ocean, and the surrounding landscapes. Hike one of the many trails, spot unique flora and fauna, and soak in the awe-inspiring beauty of this iconic landmark.
Cape Point: Located within the Table Mountain National Park, Cape Point is a must-see attraction. Take a scenic drive along the Cape Peninsula and visit this dramatic headland where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. Explore the nature reserve, hike to the famous Cape Point lighthouse, and witness the breathtaking coastal scenery.
Bainskloof Pass: For outdoor enthusiasts, a drive through Bainskloof Pass is a must-do. This scenic mountain pass offers spectacular views as you wind your way through rugged terrain, past waterfalls, and across breathtaking landscapes. Pack a picnic and stop at one of the many picnic spots along the way to fully soak in the beauty of the surrounding nature.
These are just a few of the local attractions near Babylonstoren. Whether you’re exploring historic towns, tasting world-class wines, or immersing yourself in breathtaking natural beauty, the surrounding area offers a multitude of experiences to complement your stay at Babylonstoren.
How to plan your visit to Babylonstoren
Planning a visit to Babylonstoren is an exciting endeavor, as it promises a unique and memorable experience. To ensure a smooth and enjoyable trip, here are some tips to help you plan your visit:
1. Choose the right time to visit: Consider the time of year and weather conditions when planning your visit to Babylonstoren. The Cape Winelands region experiences a Mediterranean climate, with warm summers and mild winters. Spring (September to November) and autumn (March to May) are particularly delightful, with pleasant temperatures and lush landscapes.
2. Book your accommodation in advance: As Babylonstoren is a popular destination, it’s advisable to book your accommodation well in advance to secure your preferred dates and room type. Whether you choose to stay in the luxurious Manor House, a cozy farm cottage, or one of the exclusive mountain suites, having your accommodation sorted will give you peace of mind and allow you to fully immerse yourself in the experience.
3. Plan your activities: Take some time to review the activities available at Babylonstoren and decide which ones you’d like to participate in. Whether it’s a garden tour, a wine tasting, a cooking class, or exploring the surrounding attractions, having an idea of what you’d like to do will help you make the most of your time at the farm.
4. Consider dining reservations: If you plan to experience the culinary delights of Babylonstoren’s restaurants, it’s advisable to make dining reservations in advance, especially for popular times and special events. This will ensure that you secure a table and guarantee a delightful dining experience.
5. Pack appropriately: Depending on the time of year and the activities you have planned, pack accordingly. Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, a hat, and layers of clothing are generally recommended. Don’t forget your camera to capture the stunning scenery and memorable moments during your visit.
6. Consider transportation: If you’re not planning to have your own vehicle, consider arranging transportation to and from Babylonstoren. The farm is easily accessible by car, and there are also shuttle services available from nearby towns. Having transportation arranged in advance will ensure a hassle-free journey.
7. Leave time for relaxation: While there are plenty of activities to keep you busy at Babylonstoren, don’t forget to leave some time for relaxation and simply enjoying the tranquil beauty of the farm. Take a leisurely stroll through the gardens, enjoy a spa treatment, or simply unwind with a book in one of the peaceful outdoor spaces.
By planning your visit to Babylonstoren in advance, you’ll have the opportunity to make the most of your time and create cherished memories. Soak in the natural beauty, indulge in the farm’s culinary delights, and embrace the spirit of relaxation and rejuvenation that awaits you at Babylonstoren.
Babylonstoren is a true gem in the heart of South Africa’s Cape Winelands, offering a unique and unforgettable travel experience. With its rich history, breathtaking gardens, charming accommodation, and a plethora of activities, this enchanting destination has something to capture the hearts of every visitor.
Immerse yourself in the captivating history of Babylonstoren, as you explore the beautifully restored Cape Dutch buildings and learn about the farm’s agricultural heritage. Discover the wonder of the remarkable gardens, where each section tells its own story and invites you to revel in the beauty of nature.
Indulge in the luxury and charm of the accommodations, from the historic Manor House to the cozy farm cottages, offering a perfect blend of comfort and elegance. Engage in activities that cater to your interests, whether it’s wine tastings, garden tours, outdoor adventures, or culinary experiences.
At Babylonstoren, dining is a celebration of freshness and sustainability, as the farm’s restaurants create culinary wonders using the season’s best produce. Enjoy farm-to-table meals that tantalize your taste buds and showcase the wonderful flavors unique to the Cape Winelands region.
While at Babylonstoren, take the time to explore the local attractions, such as the neighboring towns of Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, renowned for their wine cultures and cultural heritage. Venture out to nature’s wonders, like Table Mountain National Park and Cape Point, to witness the breathtaking landscapes that define this region.
Whether you’re seeking relaxation, adventure, or a cultural experience, Babylonstoren offers it all. Plan your visit carefully, making sure to secure your accommodation and dining reservations in advance, and consider the time of year that best suits your preferences.
In conclusion, Babylonstoren is a destination that truly captivates the senses and leaves a lasting impression. From the rich history to the stunning gardens, the delightful cuisine to the surrounding attractions, this hidden gem invites you to immerse yourself in its beauty, tranquility, and charm. Embrace the spirit of Babylonstoren and create memories that will stay with you long after your visit.