Situated on a Swartland working farm in the Riebeeck Valley, Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse knows all about the rhythms of life. Green wheat on the land waves us in along the dirt track to the graceful Victorian main house where the bleating sounds of the season’s first sheep shearing can still be heard. Vicky, Joyce and Emma are immediately at our sides to carry our luggage to a romantic en-suite room with wooden floors and stylish décor. For the rest of our stay all we have to do is slot into the tried and tested routine of this wonderful place and allow the staff of Bartholomeus Klip to spoil us into complete submission to the leisurely pace of a holiday here.
Perhaps a description of a typical day at the farmhouse will give you an idea why so many guests stay here for more than a week. Check-in is from 3pm, but instead of hanging around at a reception desk, you are invited to a high tea feast of scones, savoury tarts and canapés, and absolutely irresistible cakes in the elegant lounge area.
As soon as all guests are sufficiently fortified, it is time to hop onto the ranger’s truck for the afternoon game drive on the 10 000 acre conservation area, which is home to many different species of buck, buffaloes, wild ostriches, blue cranes and other interesting birds. The sweeping Swartland landscape is particularly atmospheric in the last light of day.
Upon your return, the old fireplace is lit, and you are greeted with sparkling wine and more snacks (believe it or not). And as you sneak back to your room to freshen up for dinner, a beautiful decanter with sherry awaits. The service is always genuinely caring and one gets the impression that the staff will have a sleepless night should even only one guest fail to have a perfect stay.
Bartholomeus Klip is part of the Good Cooks Association. So, it should be no surprise that the Farmhouse seizes the four-course dinner as the perfect opportunity to really show off the chef’s cooking flair. The style is predominantly French with mostly local produce and recommended local wines to match. The candle-lit dining room truly is the heart of Bartholomeus Klip.
From about 7:30 the next morning coffee, tea and muffins are waiting for you in the lounge area, if you want to quickly grab something before the morning game drive. But there is nothing rushed about the 10am brunch. Use this multi-course meal to ease into the day, while you watch the finches outside energetically compete to build the most spectacular nest to attract a mate.
Until the cycle starts again with afternoon tea, there is a lake-sized dam to walk around, kayak on, or fly-fish from (they provide all the equipment). You could ask the farm workers to show you how they shear the sheep or set off on your own, searching for the endangered geometric tortoises on the estate. The Farmhouse also provides mountain bikes for enthusiastic cyclists. But most of all they encourage you to just sit on the veranda and appreciate the sounds and shapes of the beautiful garden with its old olive trees. This is the place to completely unwind and leave from refreshed.
– Independent review by Klein Companion, Lizelle Steyn
Learn more about Bartholomeus Klip or watch our video review below.
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