10 beautiful historical farms in South Africa

posted 18th June 2019 by Danica Wilson in Accommodation

10 beautiful historical farms in South Africa

Did you know that there are a fantastic number of historical farms in South Africa that can be easily incorporated into a luxury safari holiday? A fertile area where many early settlers made their home, the temperate climate allows for arable farming, which has been done in the region for almost four centuries. The result is an abundance of beautiful farms, most of which are still fully functioning working farms.

Take a look at our favourite 10 historical farms in South Africa and see the beauty for yourself.

Historical farms in South Africa


Founded in 1692, Babylonstoren farm was given to statesman Pieter van der Byl by Simon van der Stel, the then Governor of the Cape. Van der Byl planted the first vineyards on the farm and altered the water courses to provide irrigation. Some of the farm’s earliest structures remain on the farm today, with a Cape Dutch farmyard typical of the architectural style popular in the 17th century.

The striking historic fruit and wine farm truly took form ten years ago when former magazine editor Karen Roos purchased the estate. Her passion for historic Cape Dutch styled buildings led to an authentic yet modern restoration that has brought the farm into the current day. The disused cow shed was transformed into the Babel restaurant, and visitors can explore the original buildings, including a manor house dated to 1777, as well as the old cellar, ornate fowl house, dovecote, the leaning bell tower and the historic gates, which have been dated to the 1750s.

This is a must visit for families too touring around the region – ask us to create the ideal family safari holiday to South Africa.

Learn more about Babylonstoren here.

Historical farms in South Africa

Bartholomeus Klip

Bartholomeus Klip is a delightfully restored Victorian farm located on a working wheat and sheep farm within the 10,000 acres of the Elandsberg Nature Reserve in the Cape Winelands, located between Riebeeck Kasteel and Wellington.

The property was awarded to Franz van der Lubbstadt, a settler from Holland in 1705. Successive transfers brought the property into the Parker family in 1937. Renovated and opened in 1997 as a guesthouse and wedding venue, this gorgeous farm is the ideal spot to explore the Cape winelands, where you can enjoy walking, hiking, mountain biking, canoeing, and birdwatching.

The highlight here beyond seeing a working farm and learning its history has to be the food quality and experience. The cosy restaurant at this stunning country lodge has won significant awards and Chef Louise Gillett produces outstanding meals and we adore her ‘Life on a Cape Farm’ cookbook. Food here is palate pleasing and focuses on local produce and deliciously addictive flavours.

We recommend this place to stay for foodies and romantics wanting off the beaten track!

Historical farms in South Africa


Another one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms, Rustenberg claims to have been founded in 1682, when a man named Roelof Pasman recognised the wine-growing potential in the area. The first recorded wine sale from Rustenberg is a receipt indicating that a midwife purchased brandy in 1692.

Less than a century later, by 1781, more than 3,000 cases of wine were being produced annually, with production doubling by 1800. Rustenberg claims to have been bottling wine uninterrupted since 1892. The property was purchased by Peter and Pamela Barlow in 1941, and is now run by their son Simon, who took over the farm in 1987. The estate is well-known for its prize Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines.

Learn more about Rustenberg here.

Historical farms in South Africa

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia is a stunning and incredibly well-preserved fully operational farm located in the scenic valley in the Cape of Good Hope. The entire estate has been named a national heritage site. In July 1685, Commander Simon van der Stel received the title deed for the 763 hectares of land, which is believed to have started planting grapes in 1652, making it the oldest wine farm in South Africa.

Today the estate is one of South Africa’s most visited tourist attractions, and is popular for wine tasting and tours where visitors can view antique artifacts.

Click here to learn more about Groot Constania.

Historical farms in South Africa

Rust en Vrede

Rust en Vrede’s gorgeous sprawling estate was established in 1694 by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, who was the then Governor of the Cape. In the early 1700’s, the property was divided into two estates, and the original section remained as Rust en Vrede.

It wasn’t until 1977, when Springbok rugby player Jannie Engelbrecht bought the property that production began on the first vintage of the modern era with the intention of only making red wines, centering on Shiraz, Cabernet and Merlot.

Visit the website for more on Rust en Vrede.

Historical farms in South Africa


Another estate founded by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, Vergelegen was first settled in 1700. Van der Stel illegally used his employer’s resources to improve the property, and when this came to light in 1706, he was fired and most of the property was sold. The Theunissen family purchased the estate in 1798 and began nurturing the vineyards, until the late 1800’s when the grape phylloxera broke out, destroying most of the grapes. Sir Lionel Phillips, a mining magnate, bought the property in 1917, and after he died in 1941, the estate was bought by the Barlow family at an auction. Since 1987, Vergelegen has been owned by Anglo American, the largest producer of platinum in the world.

Learn more about Vergelegen here.

Historical farms in South Africa


With a French wine producing history dating back to 1688, when French Huguenot Jean le Long founded the estate, Boschendal is another of South Africa’s oldest wine farms. It is estimated that the property was taken over in 1715 by Abraham de Villiers, and remained in his family until 1879. The Manor House, which was originally built in 1812 was renovated and restored in 1973 and declared a national monument in 1976. This estate boasts some of South Africa’s most exquisite Cape Dutch architecture as well as a stunning variety of top wines.

Visit the website for more on Boschendal.

Historical farms in South Africa


First owned by a German immigrant named Henning Huising, the Meerlust Estate was founded in 1693. Over half a decade later, in 1756, the property was sold to the Myburgh family who have owned the estate ever since. Eight generations of Myburgh’s have tended the farm, which is located in the beautiful Stellenbosch winelands. Meerlust was fictionalized in 1978 by an American novelist named James Michener, who used the estate as inspiration for his novel ‘The Covenant’. Meerlust is best known for its seductive Bordeaux style Rubicon blend.

Click here to learn more on Meerlust.

Historical farms in South Africa


Nestled in the breathtaking Stellenbosch winelands, Blaauwklippen – which means blue rocks – is another one of the oldest wine farms in South Africa. Founded in 1682 by Gerrit Jansz Visser, the first vineyards were planted six years later. Today, Blaauwklippen produces a delectable range of red wines mostly of the red grape variety, including the Malbec, Shiraz, and Zinfandel. The estate also produces a spectacular range of specialty brandies.

Learn more about Blaauwklippen here.

Historical farms in South Africa

Allée Bleue

Considered one of the oldest farms in the Cape, this gorgeous Franschhoek Valley wine estate was settled by the French Huguenots in the late 1600s. Purchased in 1999 by Friedrich-Wilhelm and Elke Dauphin, the estate has been rejuvenated, where both red and white wines are produced with a blue level range, a premier white label range, and two flagship wines, the white Isabeau and the red L’Amour Toujours.

Click here for more on Allee Bleue.

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