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Africa Travel To Babylonstoren Luxury Farm Hotel in the Cape Winelands

I grew up in Harare, the Sunshine city with a spacious yard to run around in with not a care in the world and taking for granted the ‘comforts’ that come with city living i.e. TV and electricity. My paternal Grandmother, now late, lived a traditional way of life in the rural areas i.e. no TV and no electricity, calling for visits throughout the year, prompting anxieties in my ten year old mind over how to cope without seeing favourite shows or the trappings of city life for the week or so that we would be away; however upon arrival a few hours of getting over the inevitable ‘culture shock’ would soon see us running around and exploring to our hearts content and off course chasing chickens under the vast open skies with the sun on our backs; and later as the sun set sitting around a fire growing sleepy, and as much as I would whinge it’s experiences like these that have shaped me, beginning to fully appreciate the visits as I grew older and the sense of bliss that comes with being in the countryside; although the ‘culture shock’ still hits- I am after all a city girl! This said the thought of spending a vacation on a farm isn’t exactly at the top of my list, let alone being synonymous with luxury. In my mind farms equate mud, noisy tractors and way too early mornings. But I am however a person who relishes peace and quiet, and the space to think things through, so whilst doing some online research stumbled across the idyllic images of Babylonstoren, a luxury farm hotel situated in the heart of South Africa’s Cape Winelands, that has changed my perceptions.

[Image source: Babylonstoren, the Hot List 2011 – Conde Nast Traveller]

A former fruit farm, Babylonstoren was taken over a decade ago by fashion journalist, author and former magazine editor Karen Roos, who has transformed it into getaway that defines chic Africa travel and has become a foodie’s delight, captivating the imagination of travel enthusiasts the world over. The mountains of the Drakenstein Valley provide a dramatic backdrop to the farm which is one of the longest standing examples of a Cape Dutch farm that has a history dating back to 1690. Babylonstoren has a well preserved farmyard and and buildings displaying the architectural details of the period; from whitewashed walls with ornate gables to the thatched roofs and thick walls that keep the interiors cool in the summer with large fireplaces to provide the warmth when the weather gets colder. Accommodation comprises the main house, and fourteen former worker cottages dotted along the garden and vineyards that have been modelled on the Cape Dutch style.
[Image credits: Babylonstoren]
Babylonstoren is very much a working farm surrounded by vineyards, orchards and a garden spanning eight acres that is said to be the heart of the farm, and home to over 300 edible plant varieties that includes trees, flowers, herbs, fruit and vegetables along with bees, geese and chickens. The original inspiration for the garden came from the fabled garden of Babylon and the fresh seasonal produce supplies Babel, the hotel’s restaurant which was once a disused cowshed.
[Image credit: Babylonstoren]
The Babylonstoren gardens are open from Wednesday to Sunday for day visitors and everyday of the week for staying guests, who have access to the entire farm which includes a spa and a gym. Days at the farm are designed to be carefree and languid; stroll around the farm, pick your salads or just take time to get back to nature lazing by the pool; and if you feel like activity that’s a bit more strenuous you can join in the harvesting, pruning, planting or take a guided walk of the gardens. Beyond the farm, guests can visit the surrounding wine farms, go whale watching or enjoy a round of golf.

…looks like the kind of place I need to be at right now as I work out my business plans

Additional details:
Current rates on the website are shown at: ZAR4270 per room per night
For further information about Babylonstoren visit:
www.babylonstoren.com

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