Boschendal, South Africa
The Dutch word 'bos-en-dal' translates as the woods and the valleys. While it gives you an inkling as to what to expect on a stay at Boschendal in South Africa's Winelands, the landscapes you'll be greeted with will blow you away. Surrounded by majestic craggy mountains at every turn, Boschendal sits in a valley between the Simonsberg and Drakenstein Mountains, an hour's drive from Cape Town. The wine estate itself is sprawled over 2,000 hectares of glorious sweeping countryside, its Dutch colonial cottages transformed into luxury accommodation for those who seek the finest in farm-to-table living. But Boschendal is more than just 'living off the land'. Everything you eat and drink here is sustainably sourced for an authentic agritourism experience like no other.
The 17th-century Dutch colonial cottages, their whitewashed walls towered over by the spectacular mountain ranges, are eye-catching before you even step inside.
The Werf Garden Suites, named so because they sit in Boschendal's historic 300-year-old werf (farmyard), are pleasantly shaded by oak trees and very spacious. Being on a farmstead, it feels suitably cosy inside, with an open fireplace and a well-equipped kitchenette for when you return from the farm shop and butchery with fresh produce to cook in the comfort of your cottage. Plush fabrics adorn each cottage, which the Victorian-style bathrooms match the bedrooms both for size and luxury.
Alternatively, the Orchard Cottages are, as they suggest, nestled within a magnificent sun-dappled orchard. Former labourers' houses wonderfully reimagined, the cottages also come with a kitchenette, as well as a large outdoor area for cooking your own braai (a South African barbecue)! There's also a large shared swimming pool, along with a network of trails for exploring the farm and wider countryside.
If you fancy something a little different, Boschendal's Tented Camp is for those who want to really envelop themselves within nature. Found on the side of the Greater Simonsberg Range and surrounded by indigenous fynbos and ancient olive trees, this all-inclusive tented camp experience is a delightful disconnect from the daily hustle and bustle. Here, you're invited to really embrace the outdoors, from cooking Boschendal's excellent produce on an open fire to outdoor yoga and guided hikes. Wherever you choose to stay at Boschendal, rest assured you'll be living the good life.
With its history as a former colony, South Africa often served as a welcome pit stop for tired merchants and travellers seeking to refuel and recharge. This heritage of hospitality found its way inland to South Africa's Winelands, so it's no wonder Boschendal is an estate steeped in great service and food.
The Werf Restaurant sits inside the estate's original cellar, with 90% of the menu utilising produce directly from the estate. You pick your meals from the four categories available – Garden, Ocean, Pasture and Sweet – and then your dishes are created depending on the daily harvest, exactly how a working farm should be.
Beyond its flagship eatery, the Rhone Homestead is based in the estate's oldest manor house and serves up beautiful Cape buffet lunches among rolling lawns and rose bushes. The Deli is an excellent spot for hearty breakfasts and bistro-style lunches, served in the former wagon house or under the shade of oak trees. The Deli is also our favourite place for a morning latte in the Winelands – it's bliss.
But Boschendal's own farm shop and butchery means you can pick up farm-fresh produce and retreat to the privacy of your cottage and kitchenette to whip up your own tasty dish to enjoy.
Being a wine estate, there is a broad selection of wine-tasting experiences at Boschendal. The Cellar Door and Manor House both play host to wine-tasting opportunities, but you can also embark on a vineyard adventure, where you take a drive through the estate's working vineyard, encompassed by the epic mountainous landscape. Sip different tipples as you go, accompanied by farm produce, and listen to stories surrounding Boschendal's origins for a multi-dimensional wine-tasting experience.
Beyond the wine, farm and cellar tours allow you to get under the skin of Boschendal through tales and witnessing its farming intiatives. Hearty private picnics allow you to reap the rewards of Boschendal's green-fingered expertise, surrounded by the stunning landscapes of the Winelands. Those wonderful vistas are also begging to be explored and you can do that from Boschendal, whether it's by foot, mountain bike or on horseback. The historic towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are only a 15-minute drive away, too.
Boschendal has many ways in which you can wind down, including swimming (either in the estate's pool or in the farm's dams) and open-air yoga. There's also an excellent spa, located near the Orchard Cottages. But we'd challenge your soul not to be nourished the moment you set eyes on Boschendal and the magnificent countryside and mountains which surround it. It's a place where you can't help but feel good, utterly refreshed and at one with nature.
Where is Boschendal?
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