Lodges

Babylonstoren Farm Hotel

The new farm-to-table experience

Babylonstoren Farm Hotel

Slap bang in the heart of the stunning Cape Winelands, Babylonstoren is one of the oldest working farms in South Africa. With an emphasis on sustainability and organic produce, the owners are bringing an elegant and very contemporary twist to the old adage ‘farm to table’ and boy, do they do it well. From the award-winning restaurant and vineyard to the home-grown spa, every aspect of a stay here is led by the bountiful gardens and hubbub of edible delights within. And then there’s the cottages; white-washed Dutch gables transformed into sanctuaries of graceful simplicity and sophistication, worthy of a visit in themselves.

At the lodge

The hotel

Set amidst 8 acres of fragrant fruit orchards and meticulous vegetable gardens, the original 18th century buildings form the heart of the farm. Exquisitely restored, there’s whitewashed walls, plenty of Cape gables and thatched roofs on the outside and handpicked designer pieces on the inside. An old cow-shed with an edgy facelift is now the home of award-winning Babel restaurant and credits for the very modern and rather beautiful wine-tasting room go to renowned architect Gerard de Villiers. There’s also a reservoir-style swimming pool, Garden Spa and several pretty courtyards to relax in.

The rooms

Dotted along a grand oak-lined avenue, the 13 rooms are the old farm labourer’s cottages. Blending old with new and Scando-chic with African charm, the décor is low-key, minimalist and, quite simply, stunning. Finishing touches include posies of pretty flowers and bookshelves crammed with African literature, whilst on the practical side stone floors keep things cool and fresh in the summer and open hearths help beat the chill in winter. Pick one with a modern, glass-encased kitchen to cook up a DIY farm-to-table storm.

On safari

Experiences

You can’t miss the spectacular gardens but to really make the most of them take a guided tour – which happily ends in the vast cellar for a wine tasting with the knowledgable staff. Sample the seasonal colour specials in Babel at lunch before washing away the dust in the spa. If you’re feeling active, try a hike up Babylonstoren’s kopje, worth it for the views at the top, or hire a canoe for a paddle on the dam.

When to go

Cape Winelands by month

January

Season: Dry
  • The weather is consistent with plenty of sunshine, a handful of rainy days and the potential for stronger winds.
  • Enjoying tastings and pairings with the picturesque vineyard backdrop.
  • The perfect month for outdoor activities, explore the countryside by foot, car, horse or tram in the Franschhoek region.
  • The end of January welcomes the Delheim Start of Harvest Celebration, a unique experience at a working wine farm, with grape stomping and al fresco dining.
  • The outdoor market is on every Saturday amongst the vineyards of Stellenbosch, explore the local artworks, homemade delectables and of course a wide variety of wines.
  • Avoid any disappoint and book restaurants and activities early, during this period.

February

Season: Dry
  • This is the hottest month of the year in the Winelands, with little to no rain expected and occasional winds.
  • A great time of year for eating al fresco with postcard perfect views of the vineyards and surrounding countryside.
  • Take advantage of the clear sunny skies and enjoy a hike through the Winelands hills.
  • The Stellenbosch Wine Festival is a day of music, fresh foods and of course locally produced wines.
  • The Franschhoek Summer Wines Festival takes place on the Leopard's Leap Family Vineyard, a picture perfect setting for wine tasting and some fun in the sun.
  • Avoid any disappoint and book restaurants and activities early, during this period.

March

Season: Dry
  • In this month rain is unlikely with long hours of sunshine and hot weather expected.
  • Enjoy ideal conditions for wine farm explorations, picnicking and al fresco dining.
  • Comfortable conditions make cycling, hiking and horse riding popular outdoor activities.
  • Hot air ballooning provides a unique and beautiful perspective of Paarl's vineyards and countryside.
  • The Eikendal Weintaufe Harvest Celebration in early March is a festive occasion, with grape stomping, leisurely walks among the vines and wine tasting from the barrel.
  • Avoid any disappoint and book restaurants and activities early, during this period.

April

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are comfortable at this time of year, with the first rains of the season falling in the form of occasional showers.
  • The last of the sunny days provide the perfect setting for wine tastings and pairings in the immaculate countryside of the Western Cape.
  • Late April is a staggeringly beautiful time to visit this region, Autumn is setting in and the leaves on the vines turn bright reds, yellows and oranges.
  • The South African Cheese Festival take place on Stellenbosch's Sandringham Farm, an estate transformed with the delights of culinary excellence and wine perfection.

May

Season: Wet
  • Expect some rain over the course of a lengthy stay, with daylight hours shortening and temperatures remaining mild.
  • The mixed weather provides a welcome variation of outdoor activity and fine dining by a crackling wood fire.
  • The onset of autumn presents a picture perfect setting, the leafy vines burst into colour with yellows,oranges and reds, painting the countryside.
  • There are many festivals in and around the Winelands during this month including Hartenberg Estate's annual Feast of Shiraz and Charcuterie, Delheim Wild Mushroom Hunt, the Elgin Cool Wine and Country Festival and Riebeek Valley Olive Festival.

June

Season: Wet
  • The wet season is at its peak with a one in three chance of rain, temperatures are dropping and evenings becoming quite chilly.
  • Take advantage of the low number of tourists and explore the wine paired culinary delights of this region.
  • Early to mid June before the vines have dropped their bright red, yellow and orange leaves, provides a beautiful period to visit the region.
  • The Durbanville Winelands play host to the Soup, Sip and Bread Winter Feast, a festive occasion with broths, chowders, artisanal breads, live entertainment and above all quality wines.
  • Pack warm clothing in this month.

July

Season: Wet
  • The wet season experiences colder temperatures and rainfall on a third of its days.
  • An ideal time of year for foodies, enjoy world class cuisine and wines overlooking the undulating hills of the Winelands region.
  • Indulge in the unique wine and food pairings on offer, including chocolate, cheese and charcuterie.
  • Bastille Day in Franschhoek provides a festive occasion with wine tasting, music and fun for all.
  • Pack warm clothing in this month.

August

Season: Wet
  • It is still the wet season, with high chances of rainfall, lower average temperatures and cold nights.
  • Enjoy the romantic Winelands setting in this month, crackling fires, international cuisine and a mouth watering variety of wines.
  • Day tours provide a great method of exploring the nearby wine regions, enjoying wine tastings and pairings as you go.
  • The Robertson Slow Food and Wine Festival is a unique and intimate event, enjoy slow cooked menus paired with wines by the winemakers themselves, in an idyllic vineyard setting.
  • Pack warm clothing in this month.

September

Season: Dry
  • The weather begins to shift, with less rain falling and a slight rise in average daytime temperatures, evenings still have the potential to be chilly.
  • The mixed weather provides a welcome variation of outdoor activity and fine dining by a glowing wood fire.
  • Day tours are a great way to explore the surrounding wine regions indulging in tastings and pairings as you go.
  • Franschhoek Uncorked Festival is a celebration of local heritage, with traditional braaivleis (barbecued meat) and plenty of locally produced wine.

October

Season: Dry
  • Enjoy the first days of the warm dry summer, temperatures climb and the last of the seasonal rains fall in the form of sporadic afternoon showers.
  • Capitalize on the change in weather dining outside with rolling views of the surrounding farm lands.
  • Outdoor explorations are back on the table, spend your time hiking, cycling and horse riding in the countryside.
  • Get to know South Africa's wines with the Robertson Wine on the River, Wellington's Pinotage on Tap and the Durbanville Wine Valley's Season of Sauvignon festivals, Known for good food, great entertainment and exceptional wine.

November

Season: Dry
  • In this month the days are warm and sunny with periods of wind and little to no chance of rain.
  • One of the best months to visit the Winelands, enjoy all the perks of high season without any of the crowds.
  • Outdoor activities are a must, with hiking and cycling trails through the hills providing expansive views of the countryside.
  • La Paris Festival in the Valley is an annual event based in the Franschhoek Winelands, indulge the senses with an assortment of market stalls and local entertainment before enjoying some of the region's award winning wines and cuisine.
  • Avoid any disappoint and book restaurants and activities early, during this period.

December

Season: Dry
  • Enjoy ideal weather with hot sunny days, very little rain and the potential for short-lived gusty winds.
  • Revel in picture perfect days, venturing from one wine farm to the next.
  • Outdoor activities are a must in this month with hiking and horse riding always popular methods of exploration.
  • Hot air ballooning provides a unique and beautiful perspective of Paarl's vineyards and countryside.
  • Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is a sophisticated affair with high end tastings and cuisine to match.
  • Avoid any disappoint and book restaurants and activities early, during this period.

Map

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