In Their Words
Babylonstoren History & Location
Babylonstoren is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in South Africa, set at the foot of the Simonsberg Mountain in the Franschhoek Valley, between Paarl and Franschhoek.
In 1692, Babylonstoren farm was granted to burgher Pieter van der Byl by Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel. It was he who planted the first vineyards on the farm, the fruits of which were sold to other farms for wine production. Some of Babylonstoren’s earliest structures from that time remain today, with the Cape Dutch werf (farmyard) typical of the architectural style popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. As such it is considered to be one of the best preserved farmyards in the Cape today.
Throughout the years the farm changed hands many times and became a mixed farming operation, with fruit orchards, livestock, vineyards, wheat fields, pastures and virgin veld. Its fortunes turned in 2007 when it fell under the gaze of former magazine editor Karen Roos. Her passion for the historic Cape Dutch style led to an authentic yet contemporary restoration that projects the farm into the future. From 2009 onwards, the farm expanded to include formal gardens with more than 300 plants, a farm to fork restaurant, guest suites, a spa, greenhouse and the first vintages of Babylonstoren’s own wines.
At Babylonstoren there are an array of different activities and experiences for everyone. The farm is family-friendly with plenty of space to explore and animals to encounter. Babylonstoren’s organic gardens are majestic, with 12 acres of vegetables and aromatic herbs and the farm makes for a wonderful visit when in the Cape Winelands.
** Please Note **
There is a fee to enter Babylonstoren of R80 per adult, children under 18 enter free. A once-off entrance fee allows you to register for Babylonstoren Garden Membership with the free Babylonstoren app. This will give you unlimited admission to Babylonstoren for 12 months.
As this is a working farm, pathways are often gravel and in some areas are covered in peach pips. Guide dogs only are welcome.
Babylonstoren Operating Hours
Wine Tasting: open daily 10am-6pm (first come, first served).
Cellar Tours: available daily at 10am, 1pm & 4pm. Pre-booking recommended.
Greenhouse Restaurant: open daily, 10am-4pm (first come, first served).
Babel Restaurant: open daily for breakfast 8am-10am, Wed to Sun for lunch 12pm-4pm & daily for dinner 5pm-9pm.
Last orders 30 mins prior to closing, except dinner last orders 60 mins prior. Bookings are essential.
Gardens: open daily, 9am-5pm (last entry 4pm).
Formal Fruit & Vegetable Garden Tour: available daily at 10am. Booking is essential.
Special Collections Garden Tour: available Mon to Fri at 11.30am. Booking is essential.
Farm Shops: open daily, 9am-5pm.
Garden Spa: open daily 9am-5pm. Booking is essential.
Babylonstoren is closed on Christmas Day. All times, prices and facilities listed are subject to change. We recommend checking latest details directly with the farm and pre-booking experiences wherever possible, to avoid disappointment.
Babylonstoren Wine Tasting
Our wines are produced in a state-of-the-art winery, showcasing the soils and climate from where the grapes are grown. We have approximately 94 hectares under vine and produce 13 different grape varieties, with our highest vines – Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – lying against Simonsberg at some 600 metres above sea level.
The Tasting Room sits adjacent to the Wine Cellar, offering views of Babylonstoren hill, plus the Simonsberg and Banghoek Mountains. In addition to wine tasting and food platters, tastings are available of our popular Extra Virgin Olive Oil Blend, made from five olive varietals grown on our farm. For Cellar and Olive Oil tours, please see the Tours section below.
Wine Tasting Prices
The Express Tasting includes 3 wines (Chenin Blanc, Mourvèdre Rosé and our Babel Red) for R50pp, or opt for all 7 wines from the Babylonstoren Range for R90pp. Additional tastings of our Chardonnay, Nebukadnesar red blend or bubbly Sprankel Cap Classique can be added for between R25-R40 per tasting. Bottles of wine are also available.
Should you be feeling peckish, we offer a Winemakers, Fish, Charcuterie or Harvest platter, complete with freshly based artisanal bread, award-winning olive oil, crisp vegetables and juicy fruit, picked from our gardens. Ideal for 2, from R240 per platter. Glasses on wine can also be served, with platters.
Please note all guests are seated on a first-come, first-served basis.
Housed in the old cow shed, Babel Restaurant is a wonderful mix of Cape Dutch and contemporary glass architecture, making for a simple yet edgy environment in which to try our tasty yet often unconventional combinations. We have a farm-to-fork philosophy meaning we like to serve food that is seasonal and reflects our “pick, clean and serve” approach. Reservations are essential.
At the rear of the garden, tucked away between the oak trees, our Greenhouse offers guests a wonderful refreshment station after their walk through the garden. Seating is offered on a first come, first served basis.
Menus & Pricing
At Babel, our full breakfast menu is charged at R290pp and includes a selection of continental farm fresh items, a hot breakfast, coffee, plus cold-pressed fresh juices. The lunch and dinner menu is ideal for meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans, with a menu guided by what is available in the garden. Starters focus on the visual effect of our salads: a choice of red, yellow or green. Main meals consist of a protein with delicious veggies from the garden and our famous potato wedges. Dessert subscribes to four flavours: salty, bitter, sweet and sour. Main courses from R225.
Food at the Greenhouse reflects the seasons and the daily harvest from the garden. What we don’t grow on the farm, we source locally from the beautiful Drakenstein Valley. Expect light lunches of fresh salads and breads from our wood-fired oven, sandwiches, pies and cakes. Prices from R65 per item.
Babylonstoren Tours & Activities
Set within 4.8 hectares, the Babylonstoren Garden is at the heart of the farm. Visitors are welcome to roam, or we offer a daily Garden Tour at 10am with one of our experienced gardeners, who will encourage you to pick, taste, smell and touch while walking through. We also offer a Special Collections Tour on a Friday and other tours and workshops throughout the year. Please refer to www.babylonstoren.com/visit-our-garden for more information, pre-booking essential.
Should you be interested in a 90 min Cellar Tour, these commence daily at 10am, 1pm and 4pm and cost R325pp. Guests can learn more about the farm’s history and wine heritage and includes a visit to our production cellar, barrel cellar, vineyards, subterranean wine tunnel and tasting room. Includes wine tasting, pre-booking essential.
Our 40 min Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Walking Tour commences on Wednesdays at 11am, 1pm and 3pm and costs R200pp. In a maximum group size of 6, the tour visits our balsamic vinegar cellar and olive press, where guests will gain an insight into the traditional methods and production processes, including tastings. Pre-booking essential.
With a firm grounding in the farm’s rich heritage, yet with an eye to innovation, the shops at Babylonstoren are a reflection of our contemporary, unhurried farm lifestyle. Browse our deli style Farm Shop offering seasonal produce, purchase delicious cheeses from our Cheese Room, buy aged cuts from our Meat Room, nuts from our Lekker Room or baked breads from the Bakery. We also have a captivating Scented Room, with soaps and candles and a Homeware shop for fine living products.
Here at Babylonstoren, we know the value of sharing special moments with loved ones and friends. Whether it’s celebrating a wedding, important anniversary, birthday or simply enjoying a slice of life, we have different venues available to accommodate groups of varying sizes and tailored packages to suit your event. Please contact us for more information.
The Garden Spa is inextricably linked to the garden and the ever-changing seasons. Housed in our pavilion constructed of bamboo, it comprises a hammam, chill room, hot spa and gym. Please contact the estate for more information and booking, (access to the spa is via the gardens where a fee applies).
Want to visit Babylonstoren but don’t want to drive? We are featured on the Franschhoek Wine Tram, allowing you to immerse yourself in the wine culture of the valley without having to worry about your car. Refer to www.winetram.co.za for more details.
Combining the simplicity of our farm buildings with style, our farm hotel is characterised by thick whitewashed walls, elegant gables and hearty fireplaces, emulating an authentic farm stay experience. Showcasing the Cape Dutch style, many of the accommodations also boast contemporary additions such as the ‘glass cubes’, which have been seamlessly added to the buildings to host floor to ceiling glass dining areas.
Accommodations range from Suites and Cottages to Family Houses and the exclusive-use Manor House. For detailed breakdowns of room types, maximum occupancies and inclusions, please refer to www.babylonstoren.com/hotel.
Prices range from R11,500 per night for 2 guests in the Farmhouse Suite. One bedroom cottages are priced from R15,000 per night for 2 guests. Two bedroom cottages R22,500 per night for 4 guests.
The Family House is priced from R73,000 per night for 10 guests on an exclusive use basis. For Manor House rates, please enquire with the farm.
All rates include breakfast and farm activities. Prices are subject to change. We recommend checking latest prices directly with the farm at www.babylonstoren.com/hotel to avoid disappointment.
When Lucy Visited
Lucy has visited this wine farm but hasn't quite finished the review yet. Check back soon for updates!