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Being one of oldest wine estates in the country, Boschendal retains its legacy, its cultural heritage, its grandeur and its charm, with poise. Settled within the revered Franschhoek Valley of the Cape Winelands, the estate is quintessentially South African. Actively conserving the 1800 hectares of the Cape Floral Kingdom it inhabits, cushioned between the rugged Simonsberg and Drakenstein mountain ranges, Boschendal estate dutifully honours the land it occupies. Home to over 600 fynbos plant species, an abundance of indigenous trees and wildlife, acres of Black Angus cattle paddocks, undulant vineyards, flourishing orchards and vegetable gardens, the farm – with sustainability at its core – returns all that it borrows from the soil. This is experienced in their educational and adventurous farm tours through the gardens and into the mountains. It is tasted at the flagship restaurant – Werf Conservatory – at their Friday evening and Saturday morning markets, in the butchery, the bakery, the farm shop and those famous picnic baskets. Lest we forget the fabulous wine tasting.
Completely tucked away from the main homestead and its cottages, down a private lane and resting up against the foot of the mountains, the refined and stylish, six-bedroomed Mountain Villa opens out to the gorgeous flowering gardens and looks out over the valley. Lavishly furnished in quality linens, luxury cottons and richly textured velvets, with each room grasping the magnificent views of the mountain ranges, the fruit trees and the vines. Lovely natural light floods the open spaces of the two large living rooms, dividing the fully-equipped kitchen by a double-sided fireplace. Adding to the ambience of the villa’s ideal-for-family-gatherings statement, the lengthy wrap-around terrace that overlooks the swimming pool, has its own bar and pizza oven, a braai area and seating and sunbathing spots aplenty. Little pockets for peaceful seclusion are around every corner, for those desired solitary moments away from the happy noise and chitter chatter. There’s even a private lake where the wild geese and the squirrels merrily hang out and scurry about, before you take to the natural waters and kayak or paddle-board or simply swim across. Or perhaps just a gentle stroll around the lake, before laying down a blanket and opening up a basket full of market goodies. You’d be earning every lazy opportunity, having partaken on a farm tour of the fynbos and medicinal plants, picked your own fruit and vegetables, and collected your own farm eggs in the morning. Onto one of the hiking, horse riding, mountain biking and running trails after lunch. As the younger crowd joins the outdoor kids experience at the tree house, where educational guides will introduce them to all of the practises of the farm. From an Insect Hotel, in the vegetable garden, to the importance on recycling, how to cook with fire and forage for food. After which they’ll be on to the pump track for a cycle round. Back to the villa for an evening spent around the fireplaces, at the bar, or on the terrace, just as the sun sets and the valley lights up in sync with the night’s sky.
The beauty of Boschendal, and its Mountain Villa, is that with all of its inspiration and vigour, activities and indulgence, you are at liberty do it all, or nothing, on any given day. It becomes your very own oasis on a prestigious wine estate, with access to so many wondrous excursions to experience. And when the days tempt you into a slower mode of poolside or lakeside reading, family feasting and board games around the table, lazing about the lawn beside the lavender hedges and the agapanthus, and letting the hours gently drift through the day, there’s a deliciously stocked delicatessen down the road that’ll satiate your family’s palate throughout the day.
The entire Boschendal experience is a perfect postcard, depicting an idyllic family holiday. It’s a destination that will have you captivated by its beauty and serenity, educated, entertained, and enticed to stay for weeks on end, with your favourite people, in this all encompassing hideaway.
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Reviewed by Colleen Ogilvie
Sleeps 12 in 6 bedrooms
No Pets Allowed