Bucolic Banhoek escape

We’re all guilty, both tourists and locals, of not giving the Banhoek Valley enough attention. It’s too easy to slide right past it on our way between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, the twists and turns of Helshoogte Pass keeping our eyes on the road instead of letting us enjoy the glorious views of the mountains that encircle the valley.

Room 1 at De Zeven Guest Lodge has a magical private garden where you can lounge around – or indulge in a bubble bath.

At De Zeven Guest Lodge you’ll have plenty of time to let your gaze linger. Whether it’s for visiting friends or a staycation of your own, this boutique guesthouse offers a charming country bolthole just 10 minutes’ drive from Stellenbosch. Owned by Siobhan and Ace Meyer, who call Limoenkloof farm on the nearby Simonsberg home, the lodge offers 11 individually decorated rooms, the walls filled with the works of local artists. The seven rooms in the Manor House are more classical in style, while the airy Barn Rooms overlooking the pool and courtyard gardens are decorated in a more contemporary aesthetic. Either way, in the warming days of spring you’ll spend plenty of time enjoying the glorious indigenous gardens, the work of acclaimed landscape designer Rentia Hobbs. 

If a surprise cold front rolls in, retreat indoors. The traditional Finnish sauna, installed by Santavi, offers incredible views of the valley and is bound to ward off the chills. Or step upstairs to the spacious lounge, all steel pillars and glass walls, to admire the views with a glass of wine in hand. The wine list includes a selection from Siobhan’s favourite valley cellars as well as De Zeven’s own wines, made by winemaker Van Zyl du Toit using grapes from the vineyards on Limoenkloof. A fine way to toast the arrival of spring.