What better way to spend a day than on an individually designed private tour to experience the art galleries of Franschhoek. My two UK clients are art lovers and collectors of both sculpture and fine art and specifically requested to visit the galleries in Franschhoek.
After collecting my guests from the Vineyard Hotel we drove the 40 minutes out to the Klapmuts area to visit the historical Babylonstoren Farm. This is one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in South Africa, dating back to 1692. The original heritage buildings and magnificently designed 8-hectare fruit and vegetable garden are the focal point of the estate. This exceptional garden was inspired and designed to mirror the original 1650’s Company’s Garden in Cape Town and Babylon’s hanging gardens of Mesopotamia.
The estate also boasts a modern and upmarket hotel and spa set on the perimeter of the garden. Several restaurants are located on the property as well as a deli shop selling fresh bread, meats and cheeses and a boutique to purchase the perfect memento. The setting and tranquility of Babylonstoren is one not to be missed! Bookings for the restaurants are a must as this venue is very popular year round.
Driving the short distance on to Franschhoek we began our art tour with a visit to the Grand Provence Heritage Wine Estate. Modern sculptures are dotted around the grounds. Whilst strolling around the garden there is an opportunity for al fresco wine tasting. Trent Read, son of the late Everard Read, a South African doyen of art dealers, is the curator of the Gallery. This gallery is located inside the original Cape Dutch building featuring contemporary art by established and emerging South African artists.
Moving into the small but trendy town of Franschhoek we were spoilt for choice with art galleries as well as culinary pursuits and boutique shopping. We strolled Huguenot Street to view the handpicked galleries such as the Holden Manz Collection, Ebony Curated, Art in the Yard, Makiwa Gallery and Anpa’s O.D.A (Object.Design.Art). Other galleries to mention are located on the La Motte Wine Estate, housing the art collection of the Anton Rupert family, and inside the Le Quartier Francais Hotel. Franschhoek’s reputation is quickly evolving as an “art mecca”.
Our lunch was booked at the quaint and relaxing restaurant on the La Petite Ferme Wine Estate. This exquisite estate is located on the outskirts of Franschhoek with a reputation for its exceptional cuisine & hospitality. It has unrivaled views of the Franschhoek valley and beyond.
With time constraints guiding us, we then headed over the Helshoogte Pass to visit the Delaire Graaf Estate. This exclusive estate houses some of the finest international and local art by renowned artists such as: Lionel Smit, Fred Shimmel, William Kentridge and sculptors – Anton Smit and Dylan Lewis. The Delaire Estate also boasts magnificent views of two mountain ranges as it is situated on the top slope of the Helshoogte pass. Reservations for dining are to be made well in advance, as this luxury estate is very popular year round.
Ending our tour I then drove my two guests through the outskirts of Stellenbosch to return to Cape Town via the Baden Powell coastal drive along False Bay. This highly scenic 16km drive has been designated as a coastal urban edge line or biodiversity area. The drive ends on the outskirts of the surfing town of Muizenberg. From there it was a short 20-minute drive to return them to their hotel in Newlands. After a long day of sightseeing, the tour came to an end with two happy customers. Needless to say, the art excursion was a huge success!