Winelands escapes don’t get more convenient than this: only ten minutes from Franschhoek, this architect-designed home is on an equestrian and wine estate neighbouring Solms Delta, one of the Cape’s oldest farms with the original wine cellar dating back to 1740. With ever-changing mountain views over the vineyards and the fruit orchard, Simonsrust is an utterly peaceful sanctuary.
Waking to the sound of horses neighing nearby is bliss… an instant reminder that a weekend of enjoying the wine and gourmet delights of the valley is about to begin, whether it’s here – in what is a dream kitchen for cooks – or in Franschhoek itself. We found it hard to tear ourselves away from the feast of recipe books and were thrilled to discover appliances fit for a chef. This is definitely a house for all seasons: with two fireplaces indoors it’s toasty and warm in winter, while summer’s balmy breezes allow all the double doors to be opened up to the vine-covered stoep and generous-sized pool. Life here is about relaxing alfresco meals and chilling around the pool – the perfect antidote to city life or a great base for exploring the winelands.
The individual design style of Cape architect Wynand Wilsenach is immediately recognizable: all the windows and doors have elegant heritage-style interior wooden shutters, klompje bricks are used decoratively – from the kitchen to the fireplace – and pebbles and stonework add character both inside and out. Lofty thatched interiors, together with fans and air conditioning make this a really cool house in the heat of summer.
What we love!
• the beautiful light that streams in at all times of the day through its gracious high windows and doors, a signature design of architect Wynand Wilsenach.
• the outdoor entertaining areas: a shaded stoep for hot days and a wisteria-covered sala for lunches next to the pool with views of the mountains.
• the sense of history: visit both the Museum van die Caab and Music van die Caab at Solms Delta (a short walk away) for a unique archaeological insight.
What you need to know…
• your nearest bakery and deli (where you can buy organic veggies from the spectacular veggie garden) and butcher (for superb grass-fed beef) is Boschendal, which is literally around the corner.
• there’s a mountain biking and hiking trail at Boschendal: permits acquired at the deli.
• Solms Delta does superb riverside picnics on the Dwars River but if you’re a foodie, some of the top-rated restaurants in the country are in Franschhoek. The house instruction book also has some local favourites in the area that are worth visiting.
• this is an equestrian estate, and flies come with the territory on very hot days in summer.
Reviewed by Michelle Snaddon