A short drive up the freeway from Cape Town is the area of Klapmuts, and on the farm Babylonstoren a veritable Eden has been created as a working farm retreat.
The organic eight-acre garden feeds the appetites of diners ensconced in the thick, whitewashed walls of Babel, the restaurant reminiscent of a well heeled milking barn. Chef Simone Rossouw has this gorgeous garden for inspiration, creating seasonal food from the daily harvest, including an extraordinary list of edible flowers. Breakfast is a fresh produce banquet buffet of pure health, serving freshly squeezed red juices, orange juices, a typical farm breakfast and the chef’s special, depending on the harvest that morning. Apothecary style vessels with fresh picked flowers, petri dishes filled with sea salt and pepper create a laboratory atmosphere, where an honest menu is enjoyed breakfast, lunch and supper with fresh ingredients. While the vineyards supply the materials for the award-winning cellar, an elegant Viognier and floral Mouverde Rosé are eminent wines for this young vineyard.
If Babel is fully booked, arrive early at the vintage conservatory on the far side of the garden, which serves cakes, artisanal breads, handcrafted cheeses and charcuterie under the oak trees.
Under the fine touch of Karen Roos, existing labourer cottages were rebuilt, updated and transformed into sophisticated, contemporary accommodation steeped in history yet endowed with a simple elegance that belies its luxury. Large fireplaces beckon for a cozy winter’s break while the activities on the farm allow one to imagine they are intimately involved with its functioning.
After a day of exploring the farm on foot, bicycle or kayak, the hammam spa is a welcome treat for the weary.
Accommodation options now include Farmhouse suites: nine one-bedroom units in the main farmhouse, each with access to an outdoor swimming pool, spa salt room and a hot spa area. The owners’ original farmhouse became available to rent for exclusive use in December 2016.