Whilst sipping on my filter coffee, overlooking the expansive gardens with beautifully manicured grass and grappling with the fact that I had just turned forty, the thought occurred to me that this was the epitome of feeling happy and content. My husband had just booked a night away for us at Bartholomeus Klip, a luxury farmhouse nestled in the spectacular Elandsberg mountain range in the Western Cape, just over an hour’s drive away from Cape Town.
Bartholomeus Klip is situated on 10 000 acres of natural Elandsberg Nature Reserve, an area critical to the conservation of the Cape’s indigenous fynbos and renosterveld vegetation. It is also a working wheat and sheep farm and lies in the Riebeek Valley known for its Olive Festival, amazing olive oil, as well as quirky restaurants and coffee shops. It was, in fact, in the attractive town of Riebeek Kasteel (a mere 20 minutes drive away from Bartholomeus Klip) that my husband and I got married 9 years ago. We had the most magical wedding on a perfect sunny winter’s day in October and the reception was held on the rolling lawns of Bartholomeus Klip. It’s also the ideal spot for a romantic honeymoon.
Time seems to stand still in this lovingly restored Victorian farmhouse with its wrap-around verandah and exquisite garden. We stayed in the Orchid Suite (which is located separately outside of the main farmhouse) and has a luxurious Victorian-style bathroom and elegant interior with a private verandah overlooking the surrounding mountains, perfect for couples wanting to reconnect and for lounging around with a glass of champagne.
For small groups of friends and families there is also the Wild Olive House which is self-catering and has its own swimming pool, verandah, garden and braai facilities.
After our arrival and being greeted warmly by the staff (some of which have been working at the farmhouse for over 15 years and still remembered our wedding!) we found ourselves on a sun lounger enjoying the afternoon sun and the peace that is only to be found when you have left your five-year old daughter behind. Time seems to slip away slowly in this magical place, only to be broken by high tea being served in the main house. We feasted on delicious savory and sweet treats, outdoing each other with the amount of delights we could pile onto one plate.
To walk off some calories, we took a wander down to the dam with its Deck House where I last stood in my wedding dress sharing tasty canapés and drinking a glass of bubbly with my friends and family all those years ago. We helped ourselves to a kayak and went paddling in the dam while a fish eagle soared overhead. The dam is also ideal for anyone who enjoys freshwater fishing, windsurfing or bird watching.
We just made it back in time for a quick change before heading off to our afternoon game drive through the reserve. We drove through the reserve and my breath was once again taken away by the sheer beauty of the Elandsberg Mountains and the endless vistas over the renosterveld that seem to go on forever. I can’t remember the last time I felt so relaxed and at one with my beautiful surroundings. Over 600 plains game live on the reserve so you are sure to see something on your game drive. We saw wildebeest, springbok, eland and bontebok, as well as the Burchell’s and Cape mountain zebra. Our game ranger made the trip really enjoyable with her anecdotes and interesting facts about the wildlife and surrounds.
On our arrival back to the homestead, we were warmly greeted with friendly smiles and a glass of champagne. My husband and I took a leisurely stroll down to our suite and had ample time to freshen up before heading back to the farmhouse to enjoy a five course dinner. Bartholomeus Klip has become quite famous for its mouth-watering cuisine which is imaginative and has a knack for combining amazing flavor combinations. I loved the salmon wrapped in a delicious onion mousse and the beautifully paired wines!
Once again Lesley and her team looked after us superbly with the kind of hospitality and attention to detail that is hard to find these days. We loved every minute of this exquisite day and night spent in a home-away-from-home setting, especially the relaxed atmosphere with its understated luxuries.
I feel immensely privileged to have celebrated two great milestone events in this beautiful farmhouse with its incredible setting. For a weekend getaway, anniversary or even if you just want to spend some time with someone special, Bartholomeus Klip is hard to beat.