Your Weekend Getaway Sorted.

Bosjes, a new guesthouse in the Breede River Valley, offers a remarkable spirit of place.

Published: May 2017
Video/Photos: SUPPLIED

You need to give people a reason to get out of their cars once they’re on the road and you need to give them a reason to get into their cars in the first place. The thing that does both is a destination. There’s a little bit of magic that makes a destination, that gives a place a sense of identity to make it somewhere.

 

A new guesthouse in the Breede River Valley, about an hour-and-a-bit’s drive from Cape Town, has become the reason to visit Bosjesman’s Valley Farm (now known as Bosjes).


Breede-River-Valley

Bosjes is nestled in the Breede River Valley, a cradle of tranquility surrounded by the spectacular Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountain ranges.

 

You’d be driving along the R43 in the direction of Ceres, probably having taken the scenic route over the Bainskloof or Du Toitskloof Pass. But, until now, you wouldn’t have had much reason to turn off the road onto a gravel track leading to the farm.

 

The farm, which produces wine grapes, olives, peaches and proteas, has been in the Botha/Stofberg family since 1831. Its gabled Cape Dutch manor house dates back to 1790. It has no shortage of natural beauty. Surrounded by the inspiring Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountain ranges, it is a cradle of tranquillity and awe-inspiring views. But to fulfil their dream of making the area a destination, the family knew they needed something extra – something more than a place to sleep.

Breede-River-Valley

Bosjes is nestled in the Breede River Valley, a cradle of tranquility surrounded by the spectacular Slanghoek and Waaihoek mountain ranges.
 
The sinuous curves of the futuristic chapel are a modern interpretation of the traditional “holbol” gables of the historic Cape Dutch architecture found in the area.

Now, when you approach the farm, something spectacular floats into your view: the swooping, undulating form of the roof of the glass-walled Bosjes chapel. It has given the area identity, making Bosjes (the new name for the farm) a place of pilgrimage. South African-born architect Coetzee Steyn, who operates Steyn Studio in London, designed it. Its sinuous curves are inspired by mountain ranges surrounding the valley and are a modern interpretation of the traditional “holbol” gables that characterise the historic regional architecture.

 

The chapel is, of course, a sign that Bosjes can host weddings. But you don’t have to be a wedding guest (or engaged) to go there. It is open to both day visitors and overnight guests. A tearoom and a spectacular restaurant, Bosjes Kombuis, has been added. The voorkamer (front room) of the main house has been converted into a venue in which small conferences and boardroom meetings can be hosted.

 


The sinuous curves of the futuristic chapel are a modern interpretation of the traditional “holbol” gables of the historic Cape Dutch architecture found in the area.

The old barn has been converted into a guesthouse with five luxury suites. Cape Town-based interior designer Liam Mooney decorated it in muted shades of sand with accents of chartreuse and copper. It is perfect for a large family or wedding party, but all five rooms, including the family room and the honeymoon suite, can be rented individually.

Interior designer Liam Mooney's scheme for the gorgeous Bosjes guesthouse is clean and contemporary, and includes earthy oak furnishings with natural accents and brass details.

The honeymoon suite is decorated in muted shades of sand with accents of chartreuse and copper, which is sustained throughout the guesthouse.
Bosjes guesthouse is perfect for a large family or wedding party, but all five rooms, including the family room and honeymoon suite, can be rented individually.
The loft of the family room sleeps three and includes a bunk bed and single bed, plus its own shower.
The main bathroom of the family room in the guesthouse is an opulent affair, deftly combining traditional detailing and modern touches for an old-fashioned ambiance with all the comfort and convenience of modern facilities.
The guesthouse is perfect for a large party wanting to enjoy quality time together either at the pool on hot days or around the fire pit on cold ones.

The restaurant, Bosjes Kombuis, which was also designed by Coetzee Steyn, is a complementary contrast to the old manor house next to it.

 

It is a contemporary, light-filled space with high ceilings, glass walls and exposed trusses. Timber and brass provide warmth and skylights reveal deep-blue skies etched above mountain peaks. It retains the ambience of a rustic farmhouse kitchen, or kombuis.

 

Liam Mooney also decorated the interior of the restaurant. Custom-made timber furniture, Lee Broom-designed chandeliers and mature trees in enormous pots bring the outdoors in, while tables spill outdoors onto a wooden terrace.

 


Liam Mooney is responsible for the interiors of the guesthouse, Bosjes Kombuis, the chapel and the voorkamer in the original manor house, which can be used for small day conferences and private boardroom-style meetings.

Outside, a whimsical tree mural by artists Michael Chandler and Lucie de Moyencourt covers the whole of one exterior wall. It was created from 366 blue-and-white hand-painted tiles, and inspired by shards of porcelain dug up on the farm. There are more than 100 species of fauna and flora depicted in the work, which represents Bosjes’s very own “Tree of Life”.

 

There is also a children’s playground, designed by Leanie van den Vyver, within view of the restaurant. While it is perfect for play, its design elevates it to the level of a playful artwork.

 

Liam Mooney is responsible for the interiors of the guesthouse, Bosjes Kombuis, the chapel and the voorkamer in the original manor house, which can be used for small day conferences and private boardroom-style meetings.

Kim-Cox

Executive chef Kim Cox peeps through a window in the blue-and-white tiled mural by Lucie de Moyencourt and Michael Chandler, inspired by shards of porcelain dug up on the farm.

 
fish-dish

Consultant chef Pete Goffe-Wood, famous for his turn as a judge on MasterChef SA as well as his menus and cookbooks, designed a contemporary, rustic lunch menu. He has brought his fuss-free approach and robust flavours to it. “It’s as close to home cooking as you can get, but considerably more refined,” he explains.

 

The opening menu features a familiar line-up of old favourites with a local twist, such as fresh salmon trout fishcakes served with an avocado salad and homemade lemon mayo, and lamb cutlets with jewel-bright tabbouleh salad and fresh cucumber raita. “You won’t find any fussy plating here – no smears, ripples or foams – just honest, artisanal food prepared with heart,” adds Pete.

 


Kim-Cox

Executive chef Kim Cox peeps through a window in the blue-and-white tiled mural by Lucie de Moyencourt and Michael Chandler, inspired by shards of porcelain dug up on the farm.

Kim Cox is the executive chef and oversees the day-to-day runnings of Bosjes Kombuis. She has accrued valuable experience setting up and working in kitchens on farms, most notably Eight Restaurant at Spier and the Deli at Boschendal. She also opened the former Bacon Bar at Le Quartier Francais.

 


fish-dish

“The relaxed, inviting setting lends itself to delicious, seasonal, modern comfort food,” explains Kim. She is obsessed with locally sourced ingredients that ring true to her philosophy of supporting ethical farming, pasture-reared animals, naturally or organically grown vegetables, and SASSI green-listed seafood.

 

Kim’s silky smooth ice creams are irresistible. Other tempting desserts include almond panna cotta with poached pear and shortbread, and old-fashioned malva pudding with vanilla ice cream.

 

A daily selection of freshly baked cakes, scones and savoury bites will also be served informally in an open-air tea garden near the chapel.

 

It is remarkable how a blend of modernity and tradition, architecture and nature, spirituality and experience make a place into a destination. All that certainly makes it worth the drive – and the stop.

Interior-restaurant