Life on the Klip

F&HE wine and travel editor INGRID CASSON visits Bartholomeus Klip

WHERE IS IT? Tucked beneath the mountains near Hermon, about an hour from Cape Town, just off the R44.

THE FARMHOUSE… The romantic Edwardian farmstead is situated on a wheat and sheep farm with a staggering backdrop of mountains weeping with waterfalls. The house is surrounded by a wrap-around veranda dressed with wisteria and roses. Beautiful flowering gardens surround the property and deckchairs dot the lush lawns. Inside, the house is decorated with antiques and soft leather chairs.

THE HISTORY… Bartholomeus Klip was named after the rocky ‘klip’ that the farmer would use to scout for ships stocking up on supplies in Cape Town, as well as the St Bartholomew’s Day massacre of the French Huguenots. It was established in 1705 by Frantz Joosten van der Lubstadt and his French wife Maria Mouton. Maria and three slaves were arrested and imprisoned for the murder of Joosten, with Maria accused as a witch and burnt at the stake. She was the first white woman to be condemned to death in the Cape colony.

BEST-KEPT SECRET? The 4 046-hectare Elandsberg Nature Reserve, which is rich in plant species, particularly renosterveld and fynbos. The endangered geometric tortoise calls the reserve home, as does a herd of mountain zebra that is part of a quagga breeding project. Clean mountain streams run throughout the reserve, some of which meet up with the farmhouse dam. Game drives are offered twice a day.

ROOMS ARE… spacious and comfortable. The four bedrooms and one suite have garden views and roomy bathrooms complete with ball and claw baths. The separate Wild Olive house offers self-catering for families or groups, with four bedrooms, a swimming pool and veranda. In the garden there is a cottage with a double bedroom, sitting room and veranda.

FOOD IS… ample and hearty, enjoyed in the sunny, glass-encased dining room. Dinner options change daily and are paired with interesting wines, often from boutique producers in the area. Expect dishes like roasted butternut ravioli with brown butter, crayfish chowder and rooibos-smoked salmon. The homemade breads are particularly good. Brunch is a highlight with items like warm fruit compote crumble, vanilla-poached pears, hunks of honeycomb and sweetcorn fritters with bacon. Afternoon tea is also served.

ACTIVITIES… If you don’t feel like slothing around, there are plenty of seasonal things to do on the reserve, including mountain biking, walks, canoe trips in the dam, windsurfing, trout fishing and bird watching. And, of course, wine country is right on your doorstep.

WHO GOES THERE? The farmhouse is best suited to couples looking for a romantic breakaway. For larger groups opt for the Wild Olive guest house.

HOW MUCH?
From R2 465 per person per night (accommodation, all meals and activities) for a room in the farmhouse.

CONTACT: Call 022-448-1087 or visit www.bartholomeusklip.com.

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