Ten weekend escapes to experience this autumn: PART 1

A weekend away keeps the doctor at bay! We bring you some of our favourite spots for energy-boosting short breaks from the wealth of wine estates, wilderness destinations and country escapes in the Cape.

Farm bliss weekend at Babylonstoren

Picture courtesy of Babylonstoren

Babylonstoren’s Fynbos Cottages feature much more than glorious vineyard views. Elevated above the farm dam and in tune with nature’s soundtrack, they offer guests a welcome sense of privacy. Here understated elegance is key: oregon pine floors, organic decor tones and textures, and four-poster king-size beds draped in fine linen. Sleek glass extensions present additional views of the mountains and flora. The one- and two-bedroom cottages are newly built in the Cape Dutch style and adjoin vineyards and orchards. “A stay at Babylonstoren’s Fynbos Cottages is one of the best quick getaways this farm girl has ever experienced. With the farm’s five-star hospitality and all-round stylish touch, time stands still. Simply put, Babylonstoren is a piece of heaven,” says Stellenbosch Visio editor Francé Beyers.

Good to know: Enjoy breakfast, lunch or dinner at Babel or a picnic-style feast at Greenhouse or visit the bakery for La Dolce Vita dinner experiences. Visitors can also indulge in spa treatments, farm shop offerings, garden and cellar tours, olive oil and balsamic tours, and wine tastings. Book now or send an email to reservations@babylonstoren.com

Vineyards & mountains

Picture by Erlo Brown

Think vineyard sunsets, incomparable vistas and the scent of fynbos. Add a captivating self-catering cottage tucked away in the Hemel-en-Aarde Ridge region and you’ll have found Creation Wines’ sublime Voormanshuis. Set in the midst of a gentle wilderness, it embodies ethical creativity: an asymmetrical design coupled with sustainably sourced elements such as eucalyptus timber. The owners have created something spectacular: a destination that’s truly in harmony with its natural surroundings. Adventurous overnighters can look forward to various walking and cycling trails. Seasonal rates include accommodation for two, linen and towels, a fully equipped kitchenette, fresh fruit, purified still and sparkling water sourced from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, a selection of Creation wines, firewood, binoculars and two mountain bikes.

Good to know: Creation Wines is a member of the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative (BWI) and one of only nine South African wineries to have received the coveted EnviroWines accreditation. Creation’s tasting room serves breakfast, lunch and renowned food and wine pairings.

Magic at the manor

For larger families or groups of friends, Blaauwklippen Manor is not just ideal as a snapshot-pretty getaway to the idyllic Cape Winelands; the estate also offers the perfect backdrop to make memories. Guests escaping to Blaauwklippen Manor can choose between the Manor House Package (sleeps eight in four double rooms) or the Estate Package (sleeps 20 people in four double rooms in the Manor and six double or twin rooms in Jonkershuis). All rooms are uniquely decorated and styled, each featuring an eclectic fusion of luxurious linen, modern amenities and charming chandeliers. As the estate describes the location’s attraction: “Blaauwklippen Manor is set to become the go-to escape for small groups looking for a historic sense of place and an exclusive sense of space.”

Features and services include a resident manager at your beck and call 24/7, private chef, childminder, behind-the-scenes private wine tastings and more. This autumn, immerse yourself in luxury at one of the oldest wine farms in Stellenbosch. For bookings, call 021 880 0133 or send an email to stay@blaauwklippen.com.

Good to know: Blaauwklippen’s culinary options include farm-to-table elegance at the estate’s restaurant, or head to the farm shop and deli for breakfast, lunch or a variety of local treats.

Unwind in Paternoster

A trip up the West Coast is a chance to adopt nature’s pace and reset your equilibrium. Located in Bekbaai, a quiet cove to the south of Paternoster, Gonana Guest House is situated at the top of the dunes that lead down to the beach and offers uninterrupted views. The guest house is a member of Cape Country Routes and everything about it encourages you to slow down and become aware of the beauty around you. The rooms open onto the indigenous garden and at the front of the house you can sit on your veranda and look out at the sea. Or you can go upstairs and, seated at a long wooden table, enjoy the same sea view. Leather couches and comfy chairs form cosy nooks where you can sit with a book or simply gaze out the window. The aesthetic is very different to the traditional beach look that’s associated with the West Coast.

As you might expect from a Swedish owner, the guest house’s interiors have a Scandinavian feel; blonde wood and neutral colours characterise the airy, light-flooded spaces. And yet, the environment remains wholly African, with woven decorations and handcrafted pots. Owner Jonas Sandström believes in the motto ‘think global, buy local’ and Gonana’s decor is testament to this. The guest house is virtually off the grid, thanks to solar panels, rainwater collection tanks and a greywater recycling system. Gonana’s approach to touching the Earth lightly helps you tune in to nature. It’s a style that Jonas and his partner, Martin, call ‘barefoot luxury’. Call 066 194 1105 or send an email to stay@gonanaguesthouse.com for more information.