The holidays are over, the kids are back at school and now the good men and women of the Swartland wine tribe can go to work. It’s harvest season in the Swartland. Days start in the mottled pink of pre-dawn and continue into the dusk of dusty twilight as everyone works side by side to bring in the grapes that will ultimately be made into the world-renowned vintages that have placed the Swartland on the map in recent years.
This is the countryside at its most authentic. When the festive season vacation crowds have dispersed, the makers and creatives that call the region home can return to doing the thing they love best – getting their hands dirty, tending the land and reaping its rewards. This is the Swartland at its most vital – this is when you should be heading out here on a road trip from Cape Town to enjoy a true, unedited sense of place; to feel the genuine heartbeat of a destination that brims with creative pride and the joy of an honest day’s work.
Sound good? Do it now, before the fleeting moment of magic blows over and you have to wait another year for harvest season to roll around. TOP TIP: The Swartland is such a multi-faceted destination that you should really make a weekend of it to allow yourself plenty of exploration time. Fortunately, there are plenty of wonderful farm stays near Cape Town to choose from. So, whether you’re keen on waking up to a crowing rooster and some freshly brewed boeretroos, or prefer Egyptian cotton sheets and brunch on the veranda, there’s sure to be an accommodation venue that suits your requirements.
Here are our top picks of awesome farm accommodation in the Swartland:
AA BADENHORST FAMILY WINES ACCOMMODATION
The self-catering accommodation on Kalmoesfontein in the Aprilskloof of the Paardeberg region is like something out of a VISI magazine. Counter-intuitively enough, it’s not stuck-up either. So, if you adore truly great design as well as a laid-back, authentic vibe, you’ll get to have your stone-ground bread buttered on both sides when you visit the home of AA Badenhorst Family Wines.
“This is a working wine farm. Plaaslewe goes on around you. Animals get fed, wine gets pumped over, gardens and vineyards get worked in and events might be in set-up or clean up phase. There are also chickens. Lots of chickens and very much free range. Between them and the ever-growing flock of peacocks and wild guinea fowl you are guaranteed a natural wake up call. The stove is gas, the firewood is cabernet, the wine glasses are proper and the rusks and breads were baked right here. That is just how we roll,” says Semma Badenhorst.
Contact: Semma Badenhorst
Tel: 079 652 6101
Fynbos Estate is the ideal getaway destination for families with kids, active folks and couples with pets. Bonus points if you’re vegan – the team at Fynbos Estate are renowned for their epic vegan feasts and ethical approach to farming. The farm also has plenty of MTB tracks and a hiking route or two to keep you active in-between bouts of relaxation. Accommodation is available on a self-catering or B&B basis.
“Fynbos Estate, by all accounts, is a very special and unusual place,” says Diana Simons. “The farm is truly exquisitely beautiful and lies in a granite valley that comprises 270 hectares of nature reserve. Five beautiful houses and three venues are available to the public, who are also welcome to roam our 16-hectare indigenous garden and lovely olive groves. Our on-site winery produces 800 bottles of natural, organic wine per year and we also offer a range of organic olive oils and vinegars for purchase. We also have a 70% guest return rate, which speaks to the quality of our accommodation and the wonderful attention to detail our entire staff brings to the guest experience.”
Contact: Diana Simons
Tel: 022 487 1153
The Kloovenburg Pastorie on the outskirts of Riebeek Kasteel is understated glamour made tangible. The Du Toit family purchased the local Dutch Reformed parsonage property in the 1970s and set to work to restore it 30 years later. Today, this gorgeous Victorian-styled home boasts a flawless combination of French and Victorian decor elements that provide a picture-perfect backdrop for a sumptuous stay. There are three en-suite bedrooms and one luxury suite with a private lounge area – great for wedding parties and bigger groups who want the option of staying in close proximity while still being able to close the door and indulge in some alone time.
“The Pastorie is a stunning private country retreat that allows you to get away from the busy city life. We offer elegant rooms with all the comforts of home, and a delightful view over the Riebeek Valley, that is of course best enjoyed with a glass of Kloovenburg wine in hand,” says Allison Coetzee.
Tel: 022 448 1635
Franki’s Guest Lodge is situated in the heart of the Swartland, between the towns of Malmesbury and Darling. Enjoy magnificent views over the on-site vineyards, Kasteelberg mountains and more. The lodge is located in the original farmhouse, which has been restored to include elements of old and new. There are nine bedrooms, all en-suite and tastefully decorated with modern finishes.
“At Franki’s we offer our guests a relaxed and easy-going place to stay. We guarantee plenty of privacy, but also love to engage by sharing information and stories about the farm and the area if required. If you want to escape city life with your family and friends, our accommodation will definitely meet your needs. Our fully-equipped kitchen allows you to move at your own pace and enjoy each other’s company without staff members underfoot. We offer cleaning services for your comfort, and you also have a selection of kuier areas that range from the pool patio to the lounge with its beautiful views,” says Natasha du Toit.
Contact: Natasha du Toit
Tel: 076 105 3466
These are just a few of the exceptional farm accommodation venues near Cape Town the Swartland has to offer throughout the harvest season and beyond. Feel free to get in touch with the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route team for more information on event destinations in our gorgeous region.