The Western Cape is filled with magic, and it seems like all of it comes together at Boschendal. Indeed, this is an estate that offers you everything from the working farm life to the glitz and glamour of luxurious dining, fairytale accommodation, horseback riding, peaceful picnics, and so much more.
I recently visited the Boschendal wine estate for a magical weekend away with my sister, Sabine, for some quality family time. But it seems that Boschendal is the perfect getaway for family, friends, young lovers, and adventurous travellers alike, and it offers something for everyone.
You don’t even have to stay the weekend to explore it all.
Located in a mountainous region near Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and a mere 50 minutes from the Cape Town city centre, Boschendal is easy to access by car.
It’s open to day visitors, and you can try everything on the farm with the same ease and accessibility as when you’re staying over.
But, of course, once I tell you more about the accommodation, you may want to scratch any day-visit plans and book a weekend away.
So let me walk you through all that is Boschendal.
The Working Farm Life
The working farm style of Boschendal influences every aspect of the estate, so it’s important to start with that.
What exactly is a working farm?
Well, in a nutshell, it means that Boschendal doesn’t just look pretty. This is a farm that still produces, and you’re likely to come across tractors trudging along or farm workers heading out for a plum harvest.
Of course, Boschendal is perhaps best known for their wine production but, after having visited the farm and explored it in much detail, I can certainly say that this is the least of what they do.
The Farm Tour
The best way to learn about the working farm life at Boschendal is by going on a guided walking farm tour.
Sabine and I went on an almost two-hour walking tour with two lovely guides called Piwo and Confi.
The two ladies epitomised what you can expect from everyone working at Boschendal – passion and a love for not only the work they do but the farm as a whole.
Such passion and love for your place of work is rare, but every single employee at Boschendal seems to share it. The enthusiasm is contagious, and you’ll undoubtedly leave Boschendal loving it as much as they all do. At least I did.
But I digress.
The guided farm tour gives you a good look at what Boschendal’s sustainable and ethical farming approach is all about.
Many of the herbs, vegetables, and fruits you’ll consume while visiting are also grown on the farm – with the surplus sold at the farm shop and, most recently, through Boschendal’s online shop (more on this in a bit).
Boschendal farms various fruits, including plums, pears, apples, wine grapes, and citrus fruit, depending on the season.
When I visited, it was plum season, and there were plums everywhere – in the dishes at The Werf Restaurant, as free snacks for day visitors, for sale in syrups and jams at the Farm Shop, and, of course, for harvest in a unique harvest experience.
The farm also boasts healthy numbers of Black Angus cattle, Duroc pigs, and layer hens, all of which play their part in restoring the soil through fertilisation, digging up roots or worms, and distributing manure.
We had a bit of an unfortunate incident with one of the slightly larger sows, who had escaped from her pen with her little ones and subsequently scared the living daylights out of our horses while we were enjoying a leisurely morning horseback ride.
I also had the enormous pleasure of being chased by a hundred chickens, which I thought would be quite traumatising until I managed to pet one of them and realised chickens are actually the coolest, softest little creatures around. Now all I think about is going back and visiting them again.
The cool thing about the layer hens at Boschendal is that these are 100% free-range, pasture-raised chickens – so you know that the eggs they provide are truly good for you.
You get to visit them if you do the guided walking tour.
Understanding the working farm life really changes the way you think about everything Boschendal does.
This is a farm with heart and soul. And you can taste it.
So let’s get to the food.
This is I Love Foodies, after all, where all good things start with a happy soul and a full belly.
The Boschendal estate features numerous restaurants and dining adventures, all focusing on the soil-to-fork experience.
These include all of the below.
The Werf Restaurant
The Werf Restaurant is Boschendal’s premier restaurant with a sharing plate menu that features produce from the farm and includes the best local, seasonal, and ethically sourced ingredients.
Expect world-class service, unique dishes, and exceptional views of the Boschendal vegetable gardens and the surrounding mountains.
We visited the Werf Restaurant for an exceptional lunch – review coming soon.
This more casual cafe offers hearty farm meals, delicious breakfasts, and wood-fired pizzas.
This is also the spot we visited for breakfast when we stayed over at Boschendal and got to try the most delicious coffees, fresh juices, and hearty breakfasts.
Sabine enjoyed the highly acclaimed Farmer’s Breakfast (R140), where every single item on the dish is sourced directly from the farm. The breakfast includes two eggs, beef or pork sausage, farm bacon, sautéed garden greens, and pesto potatoes.
I enjoyed the Bacon Benedict (R90), with farm bacon, sourdough toast, garlic emulsion, spinach, and hollandaise.
Our breakfast was a little rushed as we had a next appointment to get to, but sitting under the giant trees in the Werf area to enjoy a good meal is priceless. There really is nothing quite like the rustling of leaves and soil-to-fork food to get you in tune with nature.
You can enjoy nature even more with a picnic in the Rose Garden at the Rhone Homestead (near the wine tastings and horse paddocks) or a picnic at the Werf Gardens, which is closer to the hustle and bustle of the farm’s other activities.
Both picnics are available at an average of R300 per person and feature a basket filled with wholesome food, using ingredients from either Boschendal itself or sourced from within the more immediate area.
The Rose Garden picnics are the “summer version” of the Boschendal picnics, open until the end of April, while the Werf Garden picnics are the “winter version” and open up from 1 May.
We experienced the Rose Garden picnic, and you can read more about this specific picnic and some of the general aspects of it all in our Boschendal picnic review.
Cellar Door Wine Tasting
Wine tastings and platters are available on Saturdays at the Cellar Door.
This venue is located near the Rhone Homestead and looks out over the Heritage Rose Garden, in the same location where you can try the summer Rose Garden picnics.
Farm Shop & Butchery
The farm shop allows you to purchase some of Boschendal’s farm goodies to take home with you.
You’ll find a range of garden produce, artisanal products like conserves, oils, and juices, and meats for sale. You can also enjoy some fresh coffee and tasty pastries – to eat while you’re there or purchase to enjoy at home.
Boschendal Online Farm Shop
Of course, visiting Boschendal is the number one goal so that you can truly experience this spectacular farm.
But, if you can’t make it out there and still want to enjoy the fantastic Boschendal produce, then you can order directly from the brand-new Boschendal Online Farm Shop!
The shop includes a wide range of homeware, food, bakery goodies, fresh produce, deli & pantry goods, items from the butchery, and eggs and dairy products.
I Love Foodies actually just tried the online shop – and the offering is fantastic!
Here are some of the goodies we tried:
- Boschendal Extra Virgin Olive Oil (R105)
- Star Plums in Syrup (R80)
- Salted Butter (R45)
- Sliced Pastrami (R33)
- Boschendal Ciabatta (R35)
- Boschendal Pastei de Nata (R20)
- Rosemary Seed Crackers (R25)
Obviously, there’s tons more in the shop – and everything with the same Boschendal quality you’ve come to love and expect.
Delivery costs are also pretty reasonable:
- Free delivery for orders over R750.
- R50 delivery fee for orders under R750 and within the Paarl, Stellenbosch, and Franschhoek area.
- R100 delivery fee for orders under R750 and within the Cape Town metro area (including Somerset West, Southern Suburbs, Northern Suburbs, and the City Centre).
I’m already planning my next shop.
Eating and drinking are obviously two of my favourite things to do, but this is certainly not all that’s on offer at Boschendal.
The estate offers a wide range of activities for young and old alike, all catering to different levels of leisure, adventure, and fitness.
Some options include:
- Mountain bike, running, and hiking trails
- Farm tours
- Horse riding
- Workshops and markets
- Drive-in cinema
It’s impossible to do it all. Ok, not impossible – I don’t believe in impossibility – but it’ll take far more time than I had to do everything that Boschendal offers.
I already spoke about the guided farm tour, which was exceptional. Jump back to the section on the Working Farm Life to read more about that.
We also tried out the drive-in cinema and the horse riding experience.
The Drive-in Cinema Experience
I’m not sure how much of a comeback drive-in cinemas made before the Covid-19 pandemic hit at the start of 2020, but they’re definitely the way to go for now.
If you remember the original drive-in cinemas, you’ll have fond (or not so fond) memories of crackling speakers and larger-than-life screens.
Things are certainly much more modern these days, and you can expect exceptional sound quality by tuning in via your car radio.
You can purchase a selection of farm treats, including burgers, sandwiches, soft drinks, coffees, wine, and pastries before the movie starts, and then snuggle up to enjoy some good on-screen entertainment.
The Boschendal drive-in takes place every Saturday, weather permitting, at the Werf Helicopter Pad and costs R250 per vehicle for a maximum of 4 people (R100 per additional person). You have to book in advance, and you can do that here.
I thoroughly enjoyed the drive-in cinema experience. This is such a great way to bring back a Covid-safe alternative to the big screen!
I briefly alluded to my horse riding experience above when I mentioned our horses were scared to death by an escaped Duroc pig.
I think I was probably more scared than my horse, though, because this was my very first time horse riding, and I really had no idea what I was doing!
Sabine has had a little more experience, but we were both lucky in that our horses – Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria – were gentle creatures and took good care of us.
The only downside was that they loved to eat – true I Love Foodies horses! – and we only found out afterwards that you’re not supposed to let them eat at all; otherwise, they won’t stop.
This made for some pretty entertaining scenarios – and tons of stops along the way.
An experience definitely worth trying
We did the 2-hour horse ride, which is available for sunrise or sunset, but you can also book 1-hour horse rides throughout the day (at R450 per person per hour).
I only became more comfortable on my horse about an hour and a half into the trip, though I still think I need to put my swashbuckling cowboy dreams on hold. There will be no jumps and gallops any time soon in this girl’s horse-riding journey.
Still, this was an exceptional experience. Seeing the farm from horseback provides a completely different view, and you’ll get to experience aspects of the farm you wouldn’t normally get to see.
You can go further out and see more if you’re a more experienced rider, but if you’re a novice like myself and let your horse eat more than walk, you’re likely to stick to the immediate area around the paddocks and the Werf.
It’s certainly a fun way to be a little more adventurous – in a pretty safe environment.
They also have pony rides for kids – maybe I’ll do that one next!
Of course, if you’ve spent your whole day galavanting around, eating, drinking, and experiencing all the estate has to offer, you’re very likely to want to drop into bed and snooze the night away.
Luckily, Boschendal offers exceptional accommodation.
I spent one night and am ready to book a whole week to experience more of this genuine relaxation.
There are numerous cottages and accommodation options at Boschendal, including the Mountain Villa, Cottage, Orchard Cottages, Werf Garden Suites, Trout Cottage, and Bertha’s Retreat. These are all situated at different locations on the farm and are available at different price points, ranging from R850 per person for Bertha’s Retreat cottages (min 2 guests) to R20,000 per night for the Mountain Villa (12 guests).
We slept in one of the Werf Garden Suite cottages, situated behind and adjacent to the historic Werf area.
Werf Garden Suites
The Werf Garden Suite cottages are ideally located within walking distance from reception and the Werf area, which houses The Werf Restaurant, The Deli, Farm Shop, and more.
Each one-bedroom cottage features a Cape-farm design with luxurious finishes, a large Victorian-style en-suite bathroom with locally-made amenities, a kitchenette with a complimentary mini-bar, including a bottle of Boschendal wine, lounge area, fireplace, and private patio.
Your cottage is also equipped with fresh milk, seasonal fruits, delicious snacks and pantry items (such as chai-spice cookies, sweet potato crips, and regular potato crisps), coffee, and more.
Breakfast and select farm activities, like the guided walking tour, are included as well.
The Views and Relaxation
Staying in one of these cottages is an absolute dream. You’re right next to the bustling Werf area, but the cottages themselves are quaint and peaceful – relaxation pure.
Everything is within walking distance, but you’re largely left on your own and can choose to stay in or head out as you please.
The private patio features breathtaking mountain views, with a small garden at your doorstep to enjoy your morning coffee. If it’s a warm day, you can go for a walk through the garden and hop into the pool. Or, if it’s cold, you can snuggle up in front of the fireplace and read a book.
My favourite part? Stargazing.
Living in the Cape Town city centre, I rarely get to see the stars. But I’m from Namibia, where nightly star gazing is a pretty normal thing to do. Staying over at Boschendal was the first time in I-don’t-know-how-long that I could take a break and stare up at the pitch-black night sky, relishing in the millions upon millions of bright stars.
There’s nothing quite like it.
If I’d describe Boschendal in one word, it would be magical. Because it truly is.
From the kindness and enthusiasm of the staff to the breathtaking views, delectable food, and luxurious yet homely cottages, every part of this estate is worth writing home about.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
You’ll find all of Boschendal’s contact details, links, and social accounts below.
Boschendal Wine Estate
Address: Boschendal Wine Estate, Franschhoek (turn-off from the R310)
(each section has different contact details; listed)
Article Date: April 2021
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