Tucked away at the foot of the dramatic Hottentots Holland Mountains in Somerset West, the sprawling Vergelegen estate is a perfect example of a traditional Cape farm that has moved with the times.
The original manor house and surrounding buildings – most of which are open to the public – date back over three hundred years to the very earliest days of the Cape Colony, when it took three days to reach the farm from Cape Town via ox-wagons. Remarkably, the Camphor trees that shade the traditional Cape Dutch buildings are just as old and have been declared National Monuments.
The grounds are a highlight of Vergelegen, with 17 formal gardens laid out around the estate. Don’t miss the remarkable Camellia Garden of Excellence, as well as the historic Octagonal Garden. The story goes that the walls were built to their current height so that they would be too high for a lion to jump over!
Felines aside, there’s good food and wine to be had here too. The estate’s two restaurants cover both ends of the spectrum nicely. Camphors offers modern fine dining, while bistro-style Stables restaurant offers casual food. Stables also overlooks the child-friendly East Garden where you’ll find a sizeable playground to keep young ones entertained.
Cellar master André van Rensburg has a deft touch when it comes to classic winemaking, and his Flagship Range of wines is simply superb. The reserve range, of which the Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon are particularly good, are excellent affordable options, too.