Wine, weddings, wildlife and wellness at Bosjes

Indoor and outdoor public spaces have not been overlooked at Bosjes and the heritage-first design brief extends to décor.

There is something of a sameness about the architecture on the Western Cape’s lovely wine estates – generally a blend of historic Cape Dutch, and functional smoked glass and aluminium – that makes unique touches all the more eye-popping.

The wedding chapel at Bosjes in the Breedekloof Valley between Worcester and Wellington is one such out-of-the-ordinary structure which appears unprepossessing when one arrives at the farm (too small from the side) but assumes a breathtaking beauty when viewed front on against its mountain backdrop.

The glass-walled structure, built on a reflecting pool at the end of an avenue of evergreen Cyprus trees, was designed by South African-born Coetzee Steyn of the Steyn Studio in London.

It is said to be inspired by the shape of the surrounding mountains, the traditional Cape Dutch gable as well as Psalm 36: “How precious is your steadfast love, O God! The children of mankind take refuge in the shadow of your wings.”

My opinion is that it looks like a cross between a hovering spaceship and a Stetson hat, but is none the less gorgeous for that.

Coetzee also designed two other structures on the farm, a coffee and curio-come-produce shop, but these are cunningly hidden in the undulating topography of landscaped gardens so as not to detract from the “main event”.

The Bosjes Trust owners have clearly ploughed a lot of money into the 1 000-hectare property (of which less than half is under cultivation for vines and proteas), the latest significant investment being an upgrading of the Herehuis (Manor House) into a luxurious eight-bedroom guest lodge.

“We realised we needed more accommodation, especially for our wedding parties,” says Carlen Vorster, chief executive for hospitality and marketing at Bosjes.

“With the Herehuis no longer being used as a private residence, we decided to incorporate the original guest house known as Die Skuur (The Shed) with the manor house … along with a newwing of accommodation. The end product will provide Bosjes with 12 rooms and suites.”

The Herehuis currently offers eight spacious suites, including two in the original manor, alongside the six suites in a new wing at the rear of the property.

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The Bosjes Herehuis has stood on the slopes of the Waaihoek Mountains looking across the Breedekloof for more than 200 years. So, in reimagining the property, the owners asked Tiaan Meyer of Meyer and Associates Architects to ensure the graceful building be retained as a focal point and a counterpoint to the altogether more modern chapel.

Indoor and outdoor public spaces have not been overlooked and the heritage-first design brief extends to décor.

The curves of the original gable have been incorporated into the interiors, from the wave of cane furniture in the sun room to the sweep of camelback chairs in the library.

In the en-suite bathrooms, gabled mirror tops and a basket weave tiling pattern – a subtle reference to traditional riempie (cowhide thong) chairs – ensure the past is celebrated in a contemporary manner, says Bosjes.

While guests enjoy easy access to the Bosjes Kombuis and Spensduring the day, come evening residents are well catered for in the newly built Eetkamer, which offers a chalkboard table d’hôte menu each evening.

The wine list centres around cultivars and blends produced on the farm.

Most of the uncultivated land is a private nature reserve and guests are allowed to run, hike and mountain-bike in an unspoiled environment.

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