A weekend road-trip with a stylish destination at the end? An easy day-trip with a few stops en route? However you plan to tackle it, there are plenty of reasons to put Bosjes Estate on the hit list for an autumn escape to the Breedekloof. We’ll start with these five…
1. Exploring the Breedekloof
Once you have Bosjes plugged into the GPS, here’s the first piece of advice: don’t rush. The Breedekloof region is enjoying a renaissance right now, as innovative young winemakers transform the valley’s once-staid reputation.
Vineyards once known for little more than anodyne plonk and brandy production, are today brimming with beguiling bottles. The white wines are particularly good, with some of SA’s most exciting Chenin Blancs emerging from the valley. For Chenin and unusual white varietals, stop in at Opstal or Daschbosch, while Olifantsberg’s Rhône-inspired reds are outstanding.
Peckish along the way? You’ll find generous filled roosterkoek and fresh valley produce at Rietdakkie farm stall on the R43, or pull into the children-friendly Ou Stokery outside Rawsonville for honest country cooking and flame-grilled fare.
2. Glorious gardens
If you’ve been to Bosjes in the past, the good news is that there’s a whole new reason to return. The recent expansion of the estate has included the addition of wonderful new gardens, laid out by Square One Landscape Architects. Spread across three sloping terraces, they offer an arboreal playground for youngsters. Start at the “Boombrug” treetop walkway; while adults soak in the glorious views of the surrounding valley, children will love the clamber-frames, slides and zip-lines. From this young forest the gardens meld into beds of indigenous bulbs, bushes and grasslands, ending with a tract of endangered renosterveld that is well worth the wander.
3. Artful architecture
The gardens also play a central role in subtly absorbing two new buildings into the landscape. Architect Coetzee Steyn, who also created the sweeping wings of the Bosjes Chapel, drew on both ancient history and local vernacular in creating the whorls of wood, glass and concrete that are home to the Bosjes Winkel and Bosjes Spens.
Partially built into the hillside, the buildings appear to corkscrew out of the earth, seamlessly absorbed into the surrounding gardens. Also look out for other subtle landscaping and architectural highlights, from the eye-catching curved trellises of oak to the inspired play areas incorporating playful agricultural cues.
4. Have a bite
Architecture aside, the Bosjes Spens is the latest eatery to open on the estate. Dishing up freshly baked breads, pastries and coffee alongside a menu of lighter café-style fare, it dovetails neatly with the more formal Bosjes Kombuis.
At the Spens, head chef Kim Cox has created almost every plate to be enjoyed either in the café or as an eco-friendly take-away picnic in the gardens. When the weather’s good, a pre-ordered Farm Platter box is a fine way to enjoy lunch in the gardens.
Once you’re well fed, wander across to the Bosjes Winkel, where acclaimed designer Liam Mooney has curated a covetable collection of local homeware, crafts and upcycled décor.
5. Stay the night, or spa
Bosjes is little more than an hour’s drive from Cape Town, making it within easy reach for day tripping, but if you’ve time to spare a longer stay is worthwhile. The cosy farm guesthouse hits just the right note of understated luxury, with five suites — including a duplex family room — clustered around a central courtyard and pool dishing up mountain views.
A few steps away, the historic stables have been converted into an intimate spa destination, with cosseting interiors by Mooney and a collection of treatments using bespoke products incorporating the herbs and botanicals that flourish in the gardens.