Gawie and Gwen Fagan, restoring architects of Boschendal in the late 1970s wrote, “Of all the stately farmsteads in the Drakenstein Valley, Boschendal has the finest setting.”
First granted to French Huguenot, Jean le Long in 1685, the same year in which the King of France repealed the Edict of Nantes that allowed freedom of religion in that country. The title deeds, in the name of Bossendaal
In 1715, Boschendal became the property of Jacques de Villiers and his wife Marguerite Gardiol. It was their grandson Paul de Villiers who built the impressive manor house in 1812 for his bride, Anna Susanna Louw. The de Villiers Family remained on Boschendal until 1879.
After phylloxera, the devastating vineyard louse was discovered in Mowbray, it was not long before 80% of the phylloxera infestation at the Cape was to be found in the Groot Drakenstein Valley.
Farms in the valley were bought up by Lewis Lloyd Michell and signed into the Company Rhodes Fruit Farms, the day before Cecil John Rhodes died.
The Anglo American Corporation was responsible for the major restoration of the Manor House and its outbuildings and the Boschendal Winery until they sold in 2003. There were some short-term owners, until Boschendal was bought by the current owners who have lavished tender love and care on the property. And it shows, it is a real showpiece which today is a modern working farm with a number of farming activities, not the least of which is the growing of grapes for Boschendal Wines. The exteriors of the buildings at Boschendal are much like they were 200 years ago. However it is the interiors that offer much excitement to the visitor today.
The Manor House
The Manor House underwent major restoration forty years ago when the restoration architects, Gawie and Gwen Fagan, were commissioned to oversee the renovations. The Manor House is a classical H shaped house which stands on a raised square overlooking a long narrow rose garden on the east side. The gables are quite exceptionally beautiful especially that over the front door on which the initials of Paul de Villiers and his bride Anna Susanna Louw are emblazoned.
The interior is quiet and peaceful with a large room on the west side for entertaining and a beautiful ‘porte de visite’ screen which cuts off the front of the house from the dining and living quarters at the back. For parties, this screen was opened to make a large room of the front hall and diningroom.
The floral dados, which are found in other great houses, and thought to have been done by an itinerant artist, have all been restored.
Of particular interest is the open hearthed kitchen at the back of the house with its smoking cupboards and baking oven. It would originally have had a clay floor. Interesting paintings and pieces of furniture adorn the rooms.
The Werf Restaurant
The Boschendal Restaurant opened in 1978 and was the place that was visited by many international and local people of note, from Henry Kissinger, Countess Mountbatten of Burma and actors and film stars amongst them.
The restaurant reopened as The Werf Restaurant in April 2015 with an imaginative food offering from Christiaan Campbell, the executive chef, who is a locavore and believes in sustainable foods and knows the route of his ingredients from farm to fork.
You’ll find innovative country-style cuisine using the best of available local, seasonal and ethically-sourced ingredients. This is offered in an eclectic environment of decor and cooking spaces where the kitchen comes out of the shadows and comes alive inside the restaurant. There are wonderful views over the vegetable garden and pear orchards from the restaurant with the Franschhoek Mountains in the background.
Expect fragrant fermented breads, slow-roasted ribs and brisket sourced from the herd of Angus cattle on Boschendal farm, or house-smoked meat and fish, and accomplished desserts.
Freshness, authenticity and artistry characterise each plate and dishes constantly evolve in rhythm with the seasons.
The Deli in the former Coachhouse and Stables offers a family-friendly destination that serves breakfasts, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner with tables both in the cosy restaurant and scattered out under the oak trees.
There is a spread of produce including Boschendal’s own pasture-reared Angus Beef, fresh farm bread, artisanal jams, home-made preserves and local olive oils.
In the farmyard, you will also find The Bakery which offers tastings of the Boschendal Wines, fresh baked breads and a small menu to be enjoyed outside the buildings under the trees.
Le Pique Nique
The tradition of Le Pique Nique at Boschendal started in the early 1980’s when people were looking for an out of doors lunch with space for children and a more casual atmosphere than the restaurant. Generous picnic baskets are packed with delicious dishes to be enjoyed al fresco: think rillettes of local salmon trout to start, followed by succulent pasture-reared chicken and fresh farm salads, with fresh farm berries and a decadent chocolate marshmallow to finish off.
A fine selection of Boschendal wines is available to accompany your gourmet picnic. Tables are laid out in the shade, or simply grab a blanket or beanbag and find a quiet corner in which to relax.
The Winery & Taphuis Tasting Venue at La Rhone
From the early days of modern Boschendal Wines, the Taphuis has been the tasting and sales venue for the wines. The Taphuis is the oldest building on La Rhone, itself older than Boschendal. Here you can sit al fresco to taste your way through the wines before buying a case or two to take home. The Boschendal Winery, the older part of which is named the Ronnie van Rooyen Cellar, after an early wine maker, is a modern state of the art winery, owned and operated by DGB a large national wine and spirits company.
La Rhone is a beautiful old manor house, built in 1795, which sits closer to the Groot Drakenstein Mountains than Boschendal. The Manor House is equipped for functions and meetings and by the end of the year will become a restaurant in its own right.
The Olive Press
The Olive Press is a stunning new wedding and function barn. It has a very traditional roof trussing with exposed natural poplar trunks. There are floor to ceiling glass doors that offer sensational views over meadow gardens to the Groot Drakenstein Mountain.
The Olive Press can seat up to 250 guests inside and a further 100 guests in a covered outdoor area.
The Werf Cottages are in close proximity to The Olive Press.
The historic Rhodes Cottage, was built for Rhodes by the renowned architect, Sir Herbert Baker, also responsible for the Union Buildings in Pretoria. The cottage has been restored and redecorated to give guests a chance to experience a piece of South African history.
Set in the shadow of the majestic Simonsberg mountain, the cottage has stunning views over the Boschendal Estate and the valley.
Rhodes Cottage is about 2 km from the Boschendal and La Rhone Manor Houses. A large verandah, outside dining under the oaks and an eco friendly swimming pool add to the relaxed feel of the property, which is a South African National Heritage Site.
The cottage sleeps 6 people and a further 4 in the garden annex.
There is a housekeeper who looks after the residents needs.
Clarence Cottage was originally called Clarens Cottage after the first residents, who came from Clarens in the Free State in 1977. It has been recently renovated and is within walking distance of the historic werf where the Boschendal The Werf Restaurant and Deli are located. With subtle styling, a generous living area and a big private garden, this cottage is an ideal base from which to explore Boschendal and the Cape winelands. It consists of a large kitchen, fireplace in the sitting room, a porch running the length of the house and sleeps 4 people.
The Orchard Cottage
The Orchard Cottages is a collection of luxury cottages with kitchenettes, outdoor dining areas for braais, a large shared swimming pool and a truly magnificent setting among the Boschendal orchards. The cottages are about 2 km from the main werf. A short drive or cycle through the pastures and fruit orchards brings guests to these stylishly converted houses.
The feeling of the cottages is one of stylish simplicity with a rural yet contemporary character. The atmosphere is carefree and relaxed making the cottages ideal for families or groups of friends.
Bring your mountain bike or walking shoes to explore the farm paths, mountain side trails and single track, bring a costume to swim in the pool or farm dams, or simply enjoy the opportunity to sit and read, relax and generally take in the goodness of life.
The Werf Cottages
The Werf Cottages are situated at the edge of the historic werf of Boschendal with ravishing views of the surrounding countryside and the Groot Drakenstein mountains. The beautifully restored and furnished farm cottages create a virtual village with Cape vernacular style architecture in an idyllic setting.
This is the unspoilt Cape as Arthur Elliott photographed it. Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, they are ideal for historic or wineland getaways and romantic weekends. Each cottage has its own fireplace and small kitchen, while the Boschendal restaurant and Deli are within walking distance. The manor house, garden, farm, estate and mountains are all there for you to enjoy.
The Boschendal Wines
Read more about the Boschendal Wines – CLICK HERE
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