- Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are you pet friendly?
A: Regrettably we do not allow pets on the farm. We have resident tortoises, ducks, chickens and children on the farm, and we would not want to potentially harm them. Guide dogs welcome.
Q: Do you take bookings for The Greenhouse?
A: At The Greenhouse we allocate tables on a first come, first served basis between 10h00 and 16h00. Please arrive early to avoid a long queue during busy times. For groups of between 13 and 18 guests, please do make a reservation. For groups of more than 18 people, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for our private venue rates and packages.
Q: Do you have a play area for kids?
A: We offer a farm and garden experience; children love the animals and space outside.
Q: Are you wheelchair friendly?
A: Babylonstoren is a farm and garden experience engaging all the senses. The nature and extent of the garden with uneven paths of gravel, pips and sticks make it very challenging for wheelchairs. We do not have staff available to escort guests but offer wheelchairs at the farm shop for those with strong family members or friends able to assist.
Q: How old is the garden?
A: The farm dates back to 1692. The oldest buildings were erected in the late 17th century, with the manor house dating back to 1777. After the property was bought in 2007, French-Italian architect Patrice Taravella, owner of Prieuré Notre Dame d’Orsan, designed the garden. Over the next few years pergolas, gravel pathways and water canals were built. During 2009 the gardeners started preparing the soil and did most of the planting for the formal garden. Babylonstoren opened its doors to the public in November 2010.
Q: What do you farm "outside the garden"?
A: We grow plums and citrus for export. For our own use we have olives, grapes, figs, prickly pears, persimmons and now also blood oranges, specially for our garden juices. In addition we grow mealies, rye, wheat, alfalfa and risotto rice. We alternate the rice with waterblommetjies – after the rice harvest, waterblommetjies are planted in the same dams. Our almond and pecan trees do not produce nuts yet but are growing beautifully and before long, we’ll have our first harvest. We make our own rooibos and honey bush teas. We also grow proteas and make our own compost for use in the garden and on the farm. A big camp is being built at the moment. This is where we’ll house our own free-range pigs.
Q: How do you pronounce Babylonstoren?
A: Listen to the pronunciation here.
Q: Where does the name come from?
A: Babylonstoren’s life started in 1692, when Governor Simon van der Stel granted the free burgher Pieter van der Byl a small piece of land at the foot of a conical hill. It was dubbed, in Dutch, Babilonische Tooren, later Babilonstoring or Babylonstoren, as the 17th-century farmers thought its shape resembled the Tower of Babel mentioned in the Bible. An interesting but unproven speculation is that it also suggests the linguistic melting pot the valley became at that time, with Dutch, French, German and various Khoi and San languages intermingling, and exotic Asian words sailing in with the spice trade – all of which evoke the biblical story of the Tower of Babel.
Q: What does the logo represent?
A: The Babylonstoren logo, which consists of the pipe (representing the farmer), the flower (representing the garden) and the bird (representing nature), combines the very essence of Babylonstoren – keeping things simple and as true to the earth as possible.
- All entrance fees contribute towards the Babylonstoren Trust for the education of our local children.
- Entrance: R10 p.p. payable at the gate. Free entry for RHS members.
- This is a working farm with lots of feathery friends, so please leave your pets at home. Guide dogs welcome.
- If you're coming with a bus, please let us know in advance.
- Moms with prams and guests in wheelchairs, kindly note that all pathways in the garden are gravel and in some areas covered with peach pips.
- Remember to wear comfortable shoes, bring a hat in summer and wellies plus an umbrella in winter. A famous Swedish proverb holds: There ain’t no bad weather, just the wrong clothes.