About an hour outside of Capetown, Babylonstoren is one of South Africa’s oldest werfs, or farmyards. In 2010, Karen Roos, a former editor at South Africa’s Elle Decoration, reimagined the property as a fantasy farm stay with an eight acre garden that grows 300 varieties of fruits and vegetables. Guests are welcome to help the head gardener prune and plant, and to join the chef in his daily harvest. Some of the 13 laborers’ cottages that have been rebuilt as guestrooms feature kitchens for those who want to pick and prep their own meals.
By Jen Murphy, AFAR Contributor
Babylonstoren in Paarl remains the most immersive wine farm in the region. Spend an afternoon napping in your whitewashed Cape Dutch cottage, grazing through the edible garden, tasting wines in the glass-and-steel tasting room, or figuring out how many jars of melon preserve from the rustic farm shop will fit in your suitcase. The hotel's vegetable-forward restaurant, Babel, is also a stunner.
Farm-to-Table goodness, right on the farm: lunch at Babylonstoren
If "farmer chic" isn't a thing yet, maybe it ought to be. The fabulous farm resort of Babylonstoren, in the Cape Winelands, can lead the charge. This stylish retreat, just a half-hour from Cape Town, is a dazzling treat for the senses and the sensibilities: lush, fragrant, impeccably manicured gardens set against a beautiful mountain backdrop, and on it an incredibly refined and stylish revamp of old farhmands' quarters at a historic 17th-century Cape Dutch farm, courtesy the former editor of Elle Decoration. The food at Babylonstoren's signature restaurant, Babel, and its more casual counterpart, Greenhouse, is beyond fresh — after all, it doesn't get more farm-to-table than when the table is literally in the farm, does it? These scones and carrot cake might be the best I've ever had.
By Sarah Khan, AFAR Contributor
One of the Most Beautiful Vineyards in the World
A about 45 minutes from Cape Town, the 4,000-acre Babylonstoren sits at the foot of Babel mountain. The owners purchased the old Cape Dutch property and turned it into a leisure compound: they added rustic-modern cottages, vineyards along the side of the mountain, and acres and acres of produce that is used by the two on-site restaurants (book far in advance if you aren't staying on property).
By Andrew Richdale, AFAR Contributor
Stay - Babylonstoren - Wine Country South Africa
This relatively new wine country property in South Africa is an incredible place. The high design style mixes with Dutch Cape architecture and it is so well done. The property also sits on acres on organic farm land. Everything providing farm to table fresh food that is tasty. The property was also going to start their own winery when I was there last. Which is a good reason to plan a trip back.
By John Galante, AFAR Staff
Walk the orchards at the Babylonstoren gardens
It's not all vineyards in Franschoek. Babylonstoren is an incredible feat of landscape architecture, created in the grounds of a 17th century manor house by the modern-day owner who wanted to create the ultimate kitchen garden. And what a garden – a veritable cornucopia of fruit trees, berry bushes, herbs and veg, not to mention the more unexpected plantings, such as a cactus maze. If walking around a vegetable garden sounds like rather a quiet activity, well, it's enlivened by the free-roaming roosters and the donkeys, and we even came across an enormous tortoise helping himself to the windfall. There's a rather high-end restaurant and a more affordable farm shop if you want to taste the wares, not to mention a hotel and spa; but we found it worth it just for a peaceful afternoon promenade.
By Emma John, AFAR Local Expert
Garden, farm hotel, farm to table, luxury, South Africa, views, cuisine
Breathtaking views, outstanding service, delicious cuisine, and laid back luxury created a beautiful visit to this former farm turned boutique property, located near Franschhoek. Wander the beautiful gardens, which inspires the seasonal menus on offer at Babel, its gourmet restaurant. One of many food highlights was "pizza night", a bi-weekly event which takes place in the farm bakery!
Babylonstoren: A Must-See Farm in the Cape Winelands
Babylonstoren is a Cape Dutch farm in South Africa's Cape Winelands region. The property, nestled in the Drakenstein Valley, is sprawling. Babylonstoren's perfectly-pruned vineyards and orchards are surrounded by a dramatic mountain range. A casual meal at Babylonstoren's greenhouse restaurant or dinner at the fine dining restaurant Babel is an unforgettable experience.
By Marie Frei, AFAR Local Expert
Simodium Road, Drakenstein, Paarl, South Africa
+27 21 863 3852
Sun - Sat 8am - 5pm