Country estate steeped in tradition
The exquisite Banhoek Valley is home to beautiful properties, outstanding mountain views and fertile soil. Lea Jacobs reports
HELSHOOGTE arguably has to be one of the most picturesque mountain passes in the country. Built in 1854, the steep pass rises out of Stellenbosch to cross between the Jonkershoek and Simonsberg mountain ranges and ends in one of the most scenic spots in the Cape — the Banhoek Valley. Surrounded by magnificent mountain vistas, this sheltered valley is home to some of the most acclaimed wine farms and restaurants in the Boland, including Thelema, Delaire Graff and Tokara, as well as the well-known Hillcrest Berry Orchards.
Properties in the Banhoek Valley are hard to come by, with many being fiercely guarded from generation to generation. A number of the farms are given over to large-scale vineyards and fruit orchards, and the opportunities to acquire smaller lifestyle estates are limited. However, Pam Golding Properties reports that one such prime property has recently come onto the market — the first time it has become available for purchase in nearly 40 years.
The estate is the 1.186ha Zorgvliet West, which occupies some of the original farmland first granted to farmers in the valley in the 17th century. The property has panoramic mountain views and has an original homestead dating back more than 100 years, built in the Cape Dutch style with a thatched roof. Pam Golding Properties area manager for Stellenbosch, Louise Varga, says it is the ideal lifestyle estate for those wishing to acquire a country escape, raise a family in a peaceful rural environment or engage in smallscale farming activity.
“This is one of the most soughtafter settings in the Boland,” says Pam Golding Properties agent Clarence Collins, “surrounded by beautiful mountain scenery and blessed with fertile soil. Yet despite this rural setting, it is just a short drive from Stellenbosch and all its amenities, including schools, hospitals and major shop- ping outlets. There is ample accommodation for a large family and visitors, equestrian facilities for those who wish to keep horses, and some basic small-scale infrastructure in place should the buyer wish to expand on the existing farming activity. The property has an olive orchard of 50 trees, but there is underground piping and irrigation which would allow for the planting of some additional fruit trees, vines or more olives.”
The original manor house has been renovated several times over the past century, with major work being done in the early 1990s to modernise and enlarge the home. The result is six bedrooms spread over two levels, with the upper rooms opening onto balconies to maximise enjoyment of the views. Notable design features include custom-designed stained glass artwork in the hallway as well as wooden floors, cupboards, doors and staircases.
The upper storey lends itself to private family space and includes a main bedroom suite with large dressing room, a second en-suite bedroom, a further two family bedrooms, as well as a formal lounge, study and kitchenette. Downstairs there are another two en-suite bedrooms with their own separate entrances, ideal for guest accommodation, as well as formal and informal dining areas, a lounge and Italian-fitted gourmet kitchen with separate scullery, laundry and ironing room.
The living areas lead out onto a large patio with a built-in braai, while a separate open-plan function room lies adjacent to the main house, offering an ideal space for large parties. Additional guest accommodation is available in a granny flat above this room.
The home has a well-established garden with large trees and a 20m black saltwater chlorinated swimming pool. An adjacent pool- house offers space for entertaining, and has a fireplace and kitchenette. Other features include a custom-built labyrinth with a covered area in the centre, ideal for al fresco dining, as well as a viewing deck and large treatment room which could be used as part of a spa or doctor’s rooms. Stabling is provided for three horses, and the property includes a sloped paddock with excellent drainage.
In addition to the thatched manor house, the property also includes a second double-storey residence offering six bedrooms, spacious open plan living areas, an office, library and two fireplaces. The loft-style upper level includes glass windows which frame the views and ensure plentiful light. Price: R13.95m Contact: Pam Golding Properties Clarence Collins 083 637 1100 Office 021 887 1017
Left: Zorgvliet West, a lifestyle estate in the Banhoek Valley in the Western Cape, features a thatched manor house that dates back more than 100 years and which has been extensively renovated for modern living. Above: The property has panoramic...