Frequently asked questions
Is there an entrance fee to the farm?
When visitors come to Babylonstoren, whether it’s for lunch or a garden tour, an entrance fee is required for access to our 3,5 hectare garden which is the heart of Babylonstoren. On weekends and public holidays entry costs R20 per person (R10 per child under 12), but on weekdays it is R10 for all.
Does the Greenhouse take bookings?
For groups of between 13 to 25 guests, please do make a reservation. For groups of more than 30 people, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for our private venue rates and packages.
Is there a play area for kids?
We offer a farm and garden experience; children love the animals and space outside.
Is the farm wheelchair friendly?
Babylonstoren offers a farm and garden experience engaging all the senses. The extent and nature 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 we do offer wheelchairs at the Farm Shop for those with strong family members or friends who are able to assist.
We recommend the following for visitors in wheelchairs:
- Babel Restaurant is relatively close to the parking area, making wheelchair access easier, with restrooms close by.
- The Tasting Room has wheelchair access and is the perfect option for enjoying a glass of wine with our delicious complementing snack platters.
- The Greenhouse Restaurant is recommended only if wheelchair users bring along a person strong enough to assist them on our uneven garden pathways. If arranged prior to your visit, we are happy to direct you to drop off the frailer members of your party nearer to the Greenhouse, after which you can park your car and make your way back through the garden. After your meal, you can fetch your car and pick up your guests again. Please be aware that this is a working farm and farm roads are therefore used by tractors, trucks and farm vehicles. The use of these roads is entirely at the driver’s own risk.
- The Bakery Restaurant is another option not too far from the parking area, and with easier access than the Greenhouse, but guests would still need help to reach the Bakery and to use the restrooms. Your own wheelchair is required as the Farm Shop will already be closed for the day when dinner is served in the Bakery.
How old is the garden?
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.
What else is being farmed “outside the garden”?
We grow plums and citrus for export. For our own use we have olives, grapes, figs, prickly pears, persimmons and 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. We also grow our own almonds and pecan nuts. 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 to house our own free-range pigs.
Where does the name come from?
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.
What does the logo represent?
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.
Are guests allowed to pick and eat the fruit and vegetables in the garden?
Visitors to the garden are encouraged to pick and eat as they walk through. In the hotel we welcome our guests with wooden boxes filled with seasonal fruits. We also harvest fruit and vegetables all year round for use in our farm-to-fork restaurants.
Are picnics allowed?
We serve great food in our restaurants, and therefore do not allow personal picnics on our farm.
Does the spa allow guests access to the rest of the spa facilities when booked for a single treatment?
Yes! Visitors to our spa may enjoy the use of the outdoor swimming pool, gym and the hot spa area which includes a sauna, indoor heated vitality pool and salt room, built with blocks of Himalayan salt.
Is the garden available for wedding photographs?
Our beautiful garden is available for wedding pictures, but this is for the exclusive use of guests who use our function venues for their wedding.