Established in 1700 by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, who succeeded his father as governor of the Cape, this traditional Cape Dutch homestead, with thatch roof and gables, looks like something out of a fairy tale. An octagonal walled garden aflame with flowers surrounds it, and huge camphor trees, planted almost 300 years ago, stand as gnarled sentinels. These trees were declared a National Monument in the 1940s, and you can picnic under them during the summer months. The homestead is now a museum and is furnished in period style. Other historic buildings include a magnificent library and the old stables, which is now the Stables Restaurant, where you can have breakfast and lunch while looking onto the magnificent Hottentots Holland Mountains. Behind the house is the farm's signature restaurant, Camphors at Vergelegen.
Vergelegen wines rake in the accolades year after year, and there's no award that they haven't won— usually more than once. Vergelegen's flagship wines include the
Vergelegen V (a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon), and the Vergelegen GVB Red, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. If you prefer white wine for summer drinking, the Vergelegen GVB White is a Sauvignon-Semillon blend. Reservations are essential for the wine tours, but no children are allowed. There are also 70 steep stairs up and down into the state-of-the-art cellar, so you need to be able to manage these. Cellar tours last an hour. Apart from their award-winning wine, the farm is keen to show off all they have achieved, and they host a number of other farm tours. Look out for the sunsent vineyard tour, an environmental tour, and a winter weekend celebrating the magnificent camellias that brighten the immaculate gardens. There's a lovely children's play area, including a shallow riverbed complete with a pebbled path that will keep children happy for hours.
Lourensford Rd., Somerset West, 7130, South Africa