It is not inconceivable to believe, when surrounded by nature in all her glory, that God (whoever or however you believe God to be) would have created it for our pleasure. How fitting then, that a family, acknowledging the natural beauty around them, would, in turn, set about creating something beautiful in return. Such is Bosjes.
As you turn off the R43 direction Ceres and turn into the gravel road approaching the farm, you will find yourself surrounded by the inspiring Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountain ranges. And then, like a mirage, you will see the strikingly modern white curves of the roof of the glass-walled Bosjes chapel. A chapel inspired by Psalm 36:7
And it is at this moment that you will realise that you are about to enter a very special place.
Bosjes, meaning ‘small bushes’ in Dutch is the new name given to the old Bosjesman’s Valley Farm, which produces wine grapes, olives, peaches and proteas just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town.
The farm, which boasts an original Cape Dutch manor house that was built in 1790, has been in the same family since 1831. And it is this family who are now in the final stages of fulfilling a dream that will greatly benefit the local community by attracting more visitors to the area. And so, in mid-March 2017 Bosjes will officially open to guests who will be able to enjoy the impressive landscape as well as the historical architecture and the modern additions that complement them so well.
The farm will be open to both day visitors as well as overnight guests as it is the perfect venue for weddings and other celebratory occasions. Visitors will be able to visit the beautiful avant-garde chapel which appears to rest lightly on the body of water before it and it is quite likely that many, will want to make a pilgrimage of sorts and to stand in the quiet space, look out of the glass walls and take in the magnificence of the mountainous valley surrounding them.
Afterwards, guests will be drawn to the thoughtfully landscaped Chapel Gardens, for some more mindful meditation and inspiration. There are various elements to the gardens and there is a diversity of vegetation that will delight both the knowledgeable and the novice gardener. Plants that are referenced in the bible form the base of it but there are also celebratory lush fruit tree sections and a sculptural water feature. There is a small hill that is designed for a gentle walk (which is also wheelchair accessible) to the top, from where one can get a bird’s eye view of the property and surrounds.
The universal appreciation of the earth and what it produces makes this a sacred space no matter what your religious affiliation. The garden, like the chapel, and the rest of the farm, is an inclusionary space and welcomes all.
Once guests have worked up an appetite they can either enjoy a selection of cakes or savoury sandwiches at the open-air tea garden or head on over to Bosjes Kombuis for lunch. The restaurant, like the chapel, was designed by Coetzee Steyn from Steyn Studio, and is a complementary perfectly contrast to the old manor house next to it. The restaurant boasts high ceilings, glass walls, a wooden terrace, mountain views and a delightfully whimsical historical-and-nature inspired blue and white tiled mural of the Bosjes Tree of Life created by Lucie de Moyencourt and Michael Chandler. Consultant chef Pete Goffe-Wood has designed a contemporary rustic lunch menu and diners will love the robust flavours that have become the signature of Chef Pete.
There is also a children’s playground designed by Leanie van den Vyver, within viewing distance of the restaurant and while it is perfect for play it is also a playful artwork, complete with electric blue Klipspringertjies dotted around.
Overnight guests of will be able to stay in the gorgeous guesthouse, which has been decorated, in muted shades of sand with accents of chartreuse and copper by talented interior designer, Liam Mooney. The house is perfect for a large family or wedding party wanting to enjoy quality time together either at the pool on hot days or around the fire pit on cold ones. But all five rooms, including the family room and the honeymoon suite can be rented individually.
Liam Mooney has also decorated the voorkamer in the original manor house which can be used for small day conferences and private boardroom style meetings.
Guests who can manage to drag themselves away from the vineyards, the chapel, garden, Bosjes Kombuis or children’s playground can go for gentle walks in the surrounding areas while the more active can go on either 5km or 12km hikes in the mountains where they may chance upon a sighting of springbok, zebra or ostrich.
With Chapter 1 of the Bosjes project now complete, work can now start on the second phase which includes the building of a school. The Bosjes Trust has commissioned the architectural firm Meyer and Associates to build a crèche, school and aftercare facilities for the local children, because not only does this family want to create employment for those who live in the valley, it also wants to secure a future for their children.