Sculpture gardens: Art with an outside perspective

While known for its wide range of art galleries, Stellenbosch’s outdoor art scene invites you to appreciate sculpture while feeling the sunbeams on your skin.

Tokara features sculptures by Wilma Cruise, who mainly works with fired clay in her renderings of life-sized human and animal figures. Photo: Pierre van der Spuy

Art on rolling hills

At Tokara Wine Estate, design is focused on enhancing the natural riches of the surrounding Stellenbosch landscape. As such, the family-owned vineyard brings you a sculpture garden where can enjoy both the scenery and the artistry of famed sculptors.

Nestled between rolling hills of vineyards and olive groves, Tokara’s sculpture garden features works that range from smaller pieces to sculptures on a monumental scale. Take a wander along the pathways that lead from the winery to the deli and you’ll encounter sculptures by a Who’s Who of local artists: Wilma Cruise, Guy du Toit, Egon Tania and Ruhan Janse van Vuuren, among others.

After strolling through the gardens, you can enjoy a delectable bistro-style meal at the deli. Keep an eye out for the occasional prideful peacock in the garden, living works of art.

Entry is free.

Widely recognised as one of the world’s primary sculptors of the animal form, Dylan Lewis initially focused on the big cats. In recent years, however, he has used the human figure to explore our relationship with our inner wilderness. Photo: Supplied

Sculptured pathways

Dylan Lewis is surely Africa’s most internationally renowned living figurative sculptor.  At his studio in Paradyskloof he’s created a sculpted indigenous garden that explores the Jungian notion of “the wilderness within”.

The Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden features more than 60 sculptures along 4km of pathways.  The extent of it encourages you to embark on a journey and explore the garden’s central theme: the personal quest for the unknowable and the impossible.

Sculptures vary between bird, animal, half-human-half-animal, and fully human figures, asking you to open your mind and perceive the works as metaphors for feeling and being.

Although all visits are by appointment, you can opt to either enjoy the garden on your own with a complimentary detailed map or book a privately guided tour.

Standard entry fee for self-guided visits: R200 per person

Fee for private guided tours for 1-20 guests: R1500 per group

Contact reservations@dylanart.co.za

Spectacularly in bloom every day of the year, Delaire Graff acts as an incredible backdrop for art and sculpture. Photo: Supplied

Tranquillity between the mountains

The garden at Delaire Graff is planted to reflect tranquillity and includes over 350 indigenous plants and rippling water features. Nestled in this serene landscape are sculptures from renowned artists like Debora Bell, Dylan Lewis, Anton Smit and Lionel Smit.

Each of the featured artists adds a different sense of motion and emotion to the garden. While walking through the landscape, you will come across some sculptures that give a life-like impression, as if ready to reach out and whisper to you. Others will invite you to touch their textures and feel the ancient rhythms of African landscapes beating through.

After a stroll through the garden, enjoy a wine tasting experience on the terrace. This is an idyllic vantage point for soaking in the beauty of the Winelands.

Entry is free.

Spier’s Elemental Garden is open daily until sunset, welcoming young guests to enjoy art and have fun doing it. Photo: Supplied

Exploring among sculpted seasons

Near the Spier Farm Café and Vadas Smokehouse & Bakery, you’ll find Spier’s Elemental Play Garden, a work of art in its own right. Designed by landscape architects Ed Brooks and Danielle Croly, the garden is laid out in four quadrants representing the four elements; water, air, fire and earth.

The garden is known for its child-friendly attributes, as it features a slide landscaped into earth mounds, a tunnel to crawl through, a diverting wind sculpture, and a swing bridge. The garden also includes a water quadrant with treated water, making it safe to splash and play in.

Elsewhere on the extensive grounds, you’ll find even more outdoor sculptures, some 30 large-scale pieces in all. You can admire some of these on a self-guided art walk – simply download the VoiceMap app. The 20-minute audio tour will guide you past 20 locations, providing insight into the art works and the hands and minds that crafted them.

As the afternoon reaches its end, make time for Vadas’ famous Pastéis de Nata, the Portuguese custard tart, before making your way home.

Entry is free.