Winelands bliss at Klein Welmoed

2012-12-10 08:34
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Winelands bliss at Klein Welmoed

Check out this gorgeous winelands luxury guesthouse.

Cape Town had been sweltering for the few days leading up to my weekend breakaway at Klein Welmoed Luxury guesthouse on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. Having lived in the university town for two years, I knew that if the city sweltered, the winelands all but sizzled and started getting excited about the prospect of a summer weekend like the ones I used to know when essays and the rising price of Robertson box wine at Bohemia were the sum of my worries. 

To make it even more of a blast from the past Adri, my flat mate-turned-friend from Stellenbosch student days, was husbandless for the weekend and had decided to join me for a proper catch-up. 

From the bit of research I'd done about Klein Welmoed I knew there was a crystalline, blue paddling pool on the front lawn complete with deck chairs and gorgeous views of nearby vineyards and far-away mountains. I decided it would be the nucleus around which our weekend would revolve: arrive, squeeze into brand new bikinis, dive into the pool, once sufficiently cool, position deck chairs just so that our pale legs could catch some sun while our faces and glasses of wine would stay in the shade... and repeat until sunset.

But alas. I woke up on Saturday morning to heavily overcast skies, raindrops speckling my bedroom window and an expected high of 15 degrees Celsius. Soon after a despondent sms from Adri confirmed the same state of affairs in Somerset West, which meant a pool day at Klein Welmoed was highly unlikely. Cape Town never disappoints with its unpredictability - so be prepared for that.

Bundled up appropriately, I set out on the N2 and less than 40 minutes later diverted off onto a network of pastoral back roads that could well have been the middle of nowhere. Right at the very end of one called Raithby, I found Klein Welmoed. A long gravel driveway cut through neat rows of vines, unceremoniously passed beneath a lining of old Oak trees and finally came to a stop in front of the prettiest, broekie lace-awninged Victorian cottage around.

As if on cue, an enthusiastic border collie named Jack appeared on the deep-set stoep and clumsily rushed down the stairs for the fondest greeting I'd experienced in a while. As Adri pulled up next to me, manager Heloise came to join Jack's welcoming party and showed us to the two-bedroom self-catering unit that would be our home for the night. 

In the next 24 hours we had ample time to soak it all up and these were the five aspects that stood out most to me. 

Cozy accommodation

With two large bedrooms, two bathrooms, a sizeable kitchen, ample lounge and a wrap-around stoep, the self-catering unit we stayed in way exceeded my wildest expectations. We made ourselves at home in a sunny spot and whiled the afternoon away over various cups of delicious filter coffee and rusks that were kindly provided. Once the sun had disappeared, the already-stacked fireplace practically begged us to pop a bottle of wine, crack open the luxurious snacks our fridge had been stocked with and kick the evening off in style. Had the weather been more summery, the outside braai place would have offered a perfect fire-gazing alternative. 

Techno fans and workaholics will be happy to know that Klein Welmoed also offers free wifi, while movie-lovers and series fiends can rest assured that each cottage comes standard with a flat screen television. However, it seems highly unlikely that you would feel inspired to investigate either option.

Apart from three other self-catering units like the one we stayed in, Klein Welmoed also offers 12 luxurious en-suite bedrooms in the main house. 


Because Klein Welmoed is tucked away in an extremely pretty network of farm-style back roads, it really does feel like you're somewhere well off the beaten track. 

In reality, the luxury guesthouse is located less than 5km off the busy stretch of R44 that connects Stellenbosch to Somerset West, which means that a wide selection of restaurants, shops, and activities are practically a stone's throw away, a 15-minute drive at most.

This was something our grumbling tummies were rather grateful for, as both dinner and breakfast had been included in the stay, but not lunch. Once we'd settled in, we hopped back into my car and headed to the nearby nursery's restaurant for humungous burgers that would keep us filled and stomachs lined till much later. 


There's nothing better than having your first cup of coffee while looking out over endless acres of vineyards, olive groves, little white houses dotted around and a farm dam thrown in for good measure - all bathed in that fresh morning light. 


Even if you're staying in one of the self-catering units, you have the option of joining the in-house B&B guests for a hearty morning meal.

Despite being a relatively small establishment, the breakfast menu is quite substantial with options ranging from healthy muesli and yoghurt to decadent French toast with bacon and honey. 


Wandering around the picturesque space that is Klein Welmoed today, it's hard to believe that a mere three years ago, it was nothing more than a dilapidated tobacco farm left to further decay and ruin after the former owner suddenly passed away. 

After breakfast on Sunday morning Heloise hauled out a thick photo album documenting the farm's miraculous revival. The brownish buildings rising out of barren earth filling those pages bore only the slightest resemblance to the bright, white buildings and rolling lawns guests now get to enjoy. Olive groves and vineyards catch that magical late afternoon light where before a mixture of tobacco, thistles and weeds choked any smidgen of beauty. And Jack the border collie - also a remnant of those duller days - is shiny and healthy once more.

According to Heloise the owners have a few more tricks up their sleeve for the future, as Klein Welmoed's first wines are currently being bottled at a wine farm close by and the current conference venue will be changed into a tasting room where guests can sample their Sauvignon Blanc or Shiraz.

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