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