One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms has been converted into something out of a mythological dream. While walking the gardens of Babylonstoren, I found a happy place. You can wonder the world of carefully curated foliage and flora in the Franschhoek Wine Valley for hours, so there are a few things to know before you visit Babylonstoren:
EARLY BIRD CATCHES THE WORM
Gates to the farm open at 9am daily, so try get there as early as you can. Being in the Paarl/Fanschhoek area, the summer temperatures skyrocket during the day so you’ll want to be seated in one of the shaded restaurants or in the cool wine tasting areas midday rather than strolling around the gardens in the heat. Take your time to see everything – there is SO much garden to explore! Give yourself at least two hours at the venue. There is more than enough parking available, although, it’s never fun walking too far to start your walk, if you get what I’m saying. So get there early.
Also remember, if you’re wanting to have lunch or dinner at Babel, you will need to make a booking. The bookings open two months in advance, and spots fill up fairly quickly.
FOUR SEASONS IN ONE DAY
Don’t forget that you are in Cape Town, so while you need to be sun-ready, there’s always a chance that you could be freezing cold too! Bring sun-cream, sunglasses and a pretty little sunhat. But have a jacket in your bag, just in case. If you’re heading through during winter, don’t be fooled by those clear skies – pack an umbrella, and a positive attitude! The gardens are incredible after a splash of rain.
The farm is pretty flat, so no need to wear hiking boots, although, most of the walkways are gravel or peach pips so stiletto heels aren’t really the right choice either. The venue suggests wearing wellies during the rainy seasons, so I’d go with that tip too. Don’t let our foot wear hinder your experience – keep it simple and you’ll be able to spend the whole day on your feet exploring.
WE ARE ALL EXPLORERS
They offer great guided garden tours with the super experienced gardeners – but booking is essential! Daily tours begin at 10:00am from the Farm Shop and take you on a sensory tour of the farm, where you feel, smell, touch and taste what Babylonstoren is all about.
Not feeling like mingling with the tourists? No problem! Take your map and go an enjoy! Just remember that you’re in a shared space, so please keep your noise levels down. The venue is 100% kid friendly, so take them along. For little ones, pack in the stroller as it can be a long day for little legs. Sadly, as it’s a working farm, no pets are allowed on the property (you can show them the pictures later!).
Nobody can enjoy beauty in chaos so PLEASE don’t litter. Take your mess home with you, or drop it in a bin at a restaurant or the exit.
Whether you spend your time in the gardens taking a thousand photographs, or sitting at a stream, listening to the sounds of the birds in the trees, you are in a magical place – so take it all in and embrace the scenery!
PICTURES OR IT DIDN’T HAPPEN
Before visiting, have a look at some pictures other explorers have taken, and posted on Instagram, so you have a good idea of what to expect. I always like to check out the venue before getting there. There are so many ‘picture-perfect’ spots in the garden, it really depends on what you find inspiring. Don’t forget to share your experience with them by tagging Babylonstoren in your pictures.
Read #thesocialneediareviews post about our visit to the venue here: Walking the Gardens of Babylonstoren
Follow them on social: Website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram for updates or to follow the conversation. Don’t forget to tag them in your posts. The farm is situated on Klapmuts/Simondium Road just outside of Paarl. Entrance fees, which are R20 per adult, R10 per child, are payable at the gate, and go towards the Babylonstoren Trust for the education of the local children. The garden is open between 9:00am – 5:00pm daily, with the last entry in a 4:00pm.
Call +27 (0)21 863 3852 to book your table at Babel restaurant. Bookings open two months in advance and is essential. Should you prefer a lighter lunch, or enjoy a tea-time under the oaks, The Greenhouse Restaurant is a lovely alternative, although guests are seated ‘first come first serve’. Kids welcome, but pets must stay at home.