It started like a horror film.
A convoy of media folk were racing the sun trying to get to Bartholomeus Klip in Wellington from Paarl. We spent the day discovering Paarl and left later than we intended. Once the sun set, we were thrown into complete darkness. Foolish me had just started watching Stranger Things on Netflix, and the trees looked an awful lot like the woods were something evil lurked. I sped up my car so I wouldn’t lose the tail lights ahead of me, and just when I thought it was the end I saw the welcoming flicker of the farm.
Bartholomeus Klip is a farm steeped in history, biodiversity and luxury. At the beginning of the 18th century, a man named Franz Joosten owned the farm. Unfortunately, as the story goes, old Franz was a wife beater. So one Day, his wife Maria had enough and asked two slaves to kill her hubby. They hid Franz’s body in a porcupine hole, but soon the jig was up, and Maria became the first white woman in the Cape to be condemned to the death penalty.
Today, the farm boasts a private nature reserve, holds part of the largest intact section of fynbos in the country, and hosts breeding programmes for buffalo and geometric tortoise. It also features a few quagga – a thought-to-be extinct species of zebra that scientists have bought back. It also has an incredible guest house and self-catering units making it a great place to unwind. It offers the best of country living with the highest comfort.
After our long day out (and my fear of being abducted by a faceless inter-dimensional monster) it was such a pleasure to sit back by the roaring fire and sip on some bubbly. The farmhouse is filled with interesting art, gorgeous antique furniture and the smell of wild rosemary.
We were treated to an exquisite five course dinner that lasted hours in the quaint little restaurant that offers an incredible set menu. I stayed in a charming self-catering unit, which, like the main farmhouse, is the height of luxe farm living. It has everything a family could want, including bunk beds for the kids, a pool and bikes for exploring. Fresh air, soft pillows and proper silence meant I slept like a queen.
We woke early to go on a game drive to see all the endemic fauna and flora. We did not get to see any quagga, but we did spot some bontebok and got to see some incredible fynbos. When the weather is warmer, you can enjoy a day out at the exquisite lake, go for a hike or ride your bike on one of the farm’s various trials. But the best part of my stay was the breakfast.
Oh, the breakfast! Fresh fruit and juice, honey-soaked nuts and pears, every kind of cereal you can think of, cold meats, pancakes, honeycombs dripping with golden nectar – and that’s just to start! You can also order a hot breakfast with all your favourites.
Whether you are looking for a unwind or to explore, Bartholomues Klip is the perfect place to go, particularly if you enjoy the finer things in life.
Photography courtesy Bartholomeus Klip