At the heart of the Babylonstoren Farm lies the 3.5-hectare fruit, vegetable and herb garden. The garden draws its inspiration from the historic Company’s Garden in Cape Town which supplied fresh vegetables and fruit to the sailing ships of the Dutch East India Company, during the days when the Cape was a halfway station between Europe and Asia. Rich in history and character, the garden tells many tales about the spice trade during the 16th and 17th century, the mythical hanging gardens of Babylon, and about the simplicity of slow living and the delight in tending a garden.
The garden is comprised of 15 clusters including vegetable areas, stone and pome fruits, nuts, citrus, berries, herbs, honeybees, ducks and chickens, a prickly pear maze, spekboom labyrinth, and so much more. All set against the backdrop of Simonsberg mountain.
More than 300 varieties of plants grow in the garden, each with edible or medicinal value. Fruit and vegetables are harvested year-round for use in the two farm-to-fork restaurants, Wine tasting room and the Farm Shop. A natural stream flows along the edge of the garden, where wild olive trees grow and provide the perfect conditions for more than 12 000 clivias to flourish and explode in a riot of colour early spring.
Clivias under the Wild Olive trees
Tap the profile below to follow Babylonstoren and see what they are up to in the garden.
Due to lockdown restrictions, the garden as a tourist attraction is not open for exploration yet, however, the Farm Shop, Wine Shop, Scented Shop, Spa and Greenhouse restaurant are open. Babel opens on 15 July. Please note that there is no entrance fee or garden tours at the moment. You are however welcome to walk through the garden on your way to the above-mentioned areas, as it is part of our grounds. Guests' temperatures are taken at the entrance and hand-sanitizer is available in all areas. Guests are required to wear masks at all times and adhere to the social distancing regulations by keeping a safe distance between yourself and others.
You can also take a virtual walk through the garden by listening to Babylonstoren's Audio Tour on Candide. There are two audio tours available for your listening-pleasure - the Main Garden and the Healing Garden - both narrated in the soothing voice of master gardener Gundula
To enjoy the audio tours, tap the profile below, scroll down to the 'Audio tours' section and tap the one you'd like to listen to.
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.
Currently in the garden
Brent's Brassicas are producing bountiful harvests and include Purple Savoy Cabbage, Falcon Savoy Cabbage, Parthenon Broccoli, Red Rookie Cabbage and Space Star Cauliflower.
The Babylonstoren team looks forward to welcoming visitors and are doing their absolute best to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.