Tag Archives: babylonstoren

Exploring the Food Garden of Babylonstoren in Simondium (2017-02-04) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 08 NOV 2017

Dating back to 1692 and boasting one of the best preserved farmyards the Cape, the historic Babylonstoren stands as one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms currently accessible in the Cape Winelands.

As a thriving hub of commercial activity these days, Babylonstoren (situated in Simondium – just outside Paarl) is home to a hotel, a spa, multiple restaurants, a cellar (naturally), and a farm shop, not to mention the fact that it also hosts a variety of functions and workshops.

However, if you need one reason, and only one reason, to visit Babylonstoren then it should most definitely be to wander through their amazing food garden.

Inspired by the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town, which supplied sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company with fresh vegetables and fruit during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia, the Babylonstoren garden was commissioned in 2007 and handed over to French architect Patrice Taravella to bring to this 3.5 hectare marvel to life.

The resulting, carefully crafted garden consists of 15 clusters covering things like vegetables, stone and pome fruits, citrus, berries and even a prickly pear maze. Dispersed in among the grid layout is a variety of mosaic and other art pieces, and the fruit and vegetable garden as a whole is kept watered by a series of lotus, lily and waterblommetjie covered streams and channels that are fed via gravity from the nearby stream.

Although you are welcome to wander about the huge garden on  your own (and if you’re any good, identify the multitude of plants being grown while you are at it), but given that there are over 300 varieties of plants (all either edible or of medicinal value), a guided tour is by far the best option if you want to get the most out of the experience!

Given the beautiful weather on the day of our particular visit, we opted to grab some light refreshments from the popular outdoor Greenhouse restaurant, but as I mentioned at the start of the piece there are other options available, like the Babel restaurant (housed in a re-purposed old cow shed) or The Bakery perhaps.

In addition to the food garden, Babylonstoren also sports an unexpected Cycad section, featuring a large selection of these ancient, digitally chipped fossil plants, as well as a tranquil river walk that is home to an immense number of clivia plants (best viewed in September).

There is also the visually interesting, shaded walk known as The Puff Adder to wander through, with this slatted tunnel often playing home to an interesting plant exhibition or two – in our case its was succulents (and an impressive bonsai!).

We had the girls with us on our visit, but truthfully this is a place best enjoyed by adults, and more importantly, by adults with a keen interest in either gardening or food preparation.

In other words, Chantelle can’t wait to make a return without the kids in tow! ;)

Definitely worth a visit or two.

Related Link: Babylonstoren

Manning the Stall, the Avengers and the Hillcrest Berry Orchards My Life 12 MAY 2012

Wow, for a change I got to pretty much spend the entirety of last weekend in Chantelle’s company, something which probably hasn’t happened in literally months! :)

After working from home on Friday (official office move was still in progress, meaning I was getting more done from here than what I could achieve over there), the evening was pretty much dominated by me rolling up my sleeves and getting stuck in with helping Chantelle finish off all the preparations for the Willowbridge Market the next day.

Saturday kicked off like most market Saturdays, with Chantelle bolting out in the wee early hours of the morning, leaving me to take care of Jess until early afternoon before joining up with the family in Bellville, though this one took a sharp twist as instead of taking Jessie with to visit mommy at her stall as per usual, I dropped her off in the capable hands of Rob and Monty and headed out solo to the market, where I joined up with Cheryl and Chantelle in their stall, muscling my way to the front before donning my gleaming salesman demeanour as I worked the available foot traffic and in the process, managed to net quite a number of sales as well as the incredulous stares from a rather astonished pair of Chantelle and her mom!

After closing up shop following a now rather successful market, next on the weekend stop list was a spot of shopping at Ackermans in Tygervalley in the hopes of finding some replacement pyjamas and long sleeve tops for Jessie, following the accidental permanent disposal of some of her clothes by Rob the previous week.

As it turned out Ackermans once again didn’t let us down, meaning that the next item on the agenda was to drop Jessica off back with her Ouma and Oupa and Chantelle and I prepared to head out to meet up with the posse Evan had managed to round up in order to catch the awesome Avengers movie at Cape Gate.

A quick round of McDonald’s before the start (well, he had the group of 12 assembled an hour before the screening just to be safe!), and after a lengthy queue to grab some popcorn and drinks, it was into the cinema where we proceeded to all marvel at the fantastic Joss Whedon spectacular that is the Avengers movie (in 3D!).

Jaw-droppingly satisfying comic book action film is perhaps the only way I can explain it – truly Avengers cannot be criticised on any level, bringing with it an intensely enjoyable mix of fine actors, awesome visuals, action, humour and a great story. (To be quite frank, I haven’t stopped gushing about the film and it has been a week now!)

Being parents now for the most of us meant no hanging around to chat after the group filed out of the cinema, but it did mean that Chantelle and I got a good night’s sleep in, unexpected and rather pleasing considering that two weeks ago Jessica had made it almost impossible to sleep with whatever was paining her so on the night!

Refreshed, we tackled Sunday morning by getting stuck in to the packing up adventure, before heading out in convoy (Chantelle was driving her Dad’s car, Monty and Cheryl were in the Tucson, Mom and Dad were in their Lexus SUV and I of course was in the Getz), winding our way out into the Cape Winelands region, targeting the interesting sounding Babylonstoren Farm for an afternoon out and about.

Of course, we should have picked up something fishy when GPS revealed a POI named Backsberg/Babylonstoren, as it first lead us to Backsberg wine estate, before allowing us to reach a closed due to over capacity Babylonstoren farm. Not wanting to waste time by sitting around and doing nothing, the Lotter/Montgomery convoy opted to continue the journey out to Pniel, targeting the always fabulous Hillcrest Berry Orchard, where in the end we feasted on some of the most delectable scones, cream and jam you’ll find anywhere in the Cape!

After an enjoyable kuier, it was time to part ways, meaning a trip back to Gordon’s Bay for Chantelle, Jessie and I, which really brings me to the end of this little weekend update post.

Nifty.

Photo Gallery: Scones and Jam at Hillcrest Berry Farm (2012-05-06) My Life | Photo Gallery 06 MAY 2012

Although the original plan was to visit the Babylonstoren farm on Sunday, they were too full to accommodate the combined might of the Lotter and Montgomery clans, and so instead we continued on with our journey through the Cape Winelands, ending up at the always popular Hillcrest Berry Orchards in Stellenbosch, for some scrumptious scones with cream and jam.

Most certainly a delightful way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon.