Let me tell you a story.
When I was six I was sent from our farm to boarding school in the Eastern Cape. There weren’t a lot of girls in my class, so most of my friends were boys. Every break time we tore around that massive playground playing catches and even though I was pretty fast, I wasn’t a match for some of those boys. But I kept trying. And I have such a specific memory of running through this patch of trees chasing after my friend Grant and feeling this huge well of frustration because I couldn’t catch him – he was too damn fast.
Fast forward (see what I did there) about 35 years and Grant and I are still friends. He now lives and works at the wine farm Gabrielskloof with his family, which is a pretty swell gig if you ask me. Recently we reconnected and he asked us to come and stay as guests on the farm in order to review the accommodation there, which is called Landscape Cottage.
Gabrielskloof is that beautiful wine farm you see as you drive down the N2 on your way from Cape Town – on the right just after you pass the turn off to Botrivier. It’s surrounded by canola fields and wheat, bright patches of yellow and green everywhere your eye lands, the landscape dotted with sheep and huge flocks of elegant blue cranes. The farm is particularly special because they are WWF Conservation Champions, meaning that they farm in harmony with nature and continuously try to improve water and energy efficiencies. They also focus on farming ethically and uplifting the local community.
But does the wine taste good? Yes, yes, I can confirm that it most certainly does. In fact, completely unrelated, my friend Sam popped over last week for bookclub and brought a bottle of Gabrielskloof (The Blend) with her, saying it was the red wine they bought most regularly because it was such good value in terms of cost/quality. We also sampled the Rosebud rose (delicious!) and particularly loved the Magdalena, which is a special treat bottle that combines Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc. The farm also produces amazing olive oil, winning a gold medal at the annual SA Olive Awards multiple times in recent years.
One of the bonuses of staying at the Landscape Cottage is that you can pop in to do a wine tasting at the main part of the farm and then have a wonderful lunch there afterwards (the food is knockout). We had a tasting platter of cheeses and meats and then snacked on tempura prawns and the most incredible pork belly. They also have a great kiddies menu, and a lovely courtyard and playground where kids can run around (and fight with each other like mine did). They also serve breakfasts and apparently get loads of foodie visitors from nearby Hermanus.
The cottage itself used to be where the winemaker lives and it was obviously perched on that hill to take in the sweeping views of vineyards, mountains and sea in the distance. The house is just above a dam and we spent loads of time watching the bird life and marvelling at the colourful fynbos around the cottage. It’s super peaceful, sitting by that roaring fire, glass in hand, as you chat and soak up the silence around you. No cars. No sirens. Not even a barking dog. Just tweeting birds and the sound of your own voices.
The cottage has three rooms and sleeps six comfortably, but I imagine if you wanted to squeeze two more kiddies in, you could bring some stretchers and make a plan, as there’s loads of space. We visited with my in-laws and it’s perfect for a family getaway like this, or two groups of friends with kiddies in tow. Sparkling clean with beautiful wooden beams, sumptuous linen, a large stoep and proper farmhouse charm – this an ideal place to plan a weekend getaway from Cape Town (or longer!).
You can book Landscape Cottage through AirBnB here.
Thanks so much to Grant and Gabrielskloof for having us – we’re trying to see as much of SA as we can at the moment, so this was a much appreciated and savoured treat.