Located in the premier wine-growing region of the Cape Winelands against the backdrop of the Simonsberg Mountains, Babylonstoren has become a popular destination for visitors from around the world. Dating back to 1692, the historic fruit and wine farm was skilfully reimagined by its current owners ten years ago.
Beloved for its garden that is laid out over 3,5 magnificent hectares (8 acres), the structure divides into 15 sections that include fruit, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, a clivia tunnel and a plethora of trees of historical and botanical import.
The design was inspired by the historic Company's Garden in Cape Town, which for centuries supplied ships sailing between Europe and Asia with vegetables and fruit. It also makes a playful nod to the mythological Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Those were (possibly erroneously) thought to have been created by Nebuchadnezzar in the sixth century BC, for his wife who longed for the mountains and valleys of her youth.
Together with the main garden, there is a Healing Garden with species said to cure an array of ailments (not all medically guaranteed, like those for a pining heart!), a splendid succulent collection and the Spice Garden – which tells the story of the spice trade with the East, and exhibits the main spices.
Along the edge of the garden, a natural stream flows from the Simonsberg mountain to the Berg River. In the shade of wild olives, a collection of more than 7000 Clivia lilies bloom spectacularly every spring.
In early summer the chamomile lawn becomes a soft and aromatic carpet, while 41 rose towers are covered with fragrant heritage varieties.
Diversity is a trademark of the garden, which is the only Royal Horticultural Society Partner in Africa. It features over 300 varieties of trees alone, thousands of plant species. Curiously, everything planted in the formal section has edible or has medicinal value.
Every aspect of Babylonstoren is informed by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden – this includes the contemporary Farm Hotel and Garden Spa, the Farm Shop, Barn, farm-to-fork restaurants and function venues.