The wine region in South Africa’s Stellenbosch near Cape Town belongs to one of the most beautiful that can be travelled in. To stay the night in this little guesthouse Middedorp Manor is definitely no disadvantage. Ben-Carl Havemann, who shaped the house, informed us during our last breakfast, just why this area is so “pretty”…
Ben, we’ve had a few divine days at Middedorp Manor! It really is an unbelievably beautiful house. How did your family acquire it?
Our stately Victorian home has a rich history spanning more than 100 years. According to historical records the house was designed by Mr. Arend Cupido and built in 1904 for the Burnard family who also had farming interests in the Jonkershoek Valley. Since then the house has had many owners over the years. In 2009, Annemien Havemann together with her son (that is me) and Francois Smit moved into the house and soon started with much needed renovation work to establish what is today Middedorp Manor at Aan’t Molenwater (“middedorp” is an Afrikaans word which means “in the centre of town”).
You designed the rooms and the guest rooms yourself. Where did you get your ideas for the lovely details?
Each of our guest suites is tastefully furnished with a combination of Cape antique and contemporary designed furniture. Decorated in soft and natural tones of warm grey, olive, indigo and stone, each room features art from leading contemporary South African artists. We wanted to a create a tranquil haven for travellers to relax and rejuvenate.
How did you find the works of art?
What catches one’s eye: Stellenbosch and the surrounding vineyards are unbelievably stylish. Everyone around here seems to place great value on having “pretty“ furnishings and an atmosphere to match. Where does that come from?
Stellenbosch is the second-oldest town in South Africa and boasts a proud cultural heritage. The historic town is lined with fine examples of Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture and this, together with the scenically breathtaking surrounds, makes it a photographer’s dream. There are opportunities a-plenty for the enjoyment of indoor- outdoor and adventure activities. For the culture-buff or historian there are art galleries and museums and wonderful architecture. For the lover of entertainment, there is a variety of music and theatre, with some productions taking place in the enchanting environment of local amphitheatres. Stellenbosch is internationally-renowned for its fine wine and as a culinary hotspot, so wining and dining is a must on any itinerary. The surroundings lend themselves to health & wellness experiences and there are even wildlife experiences to be had; the opportunities are endless.
Which local “Wineries“ do you recommend to your guests…
Tokara – www.tokara.com
Graff Delaire – www.delaire.co.za
Hidden Valley – www.hiddenvalley.co.za
Dornier – www.dornier.co.za
And which of the Stellenbosch wines is your favourite?
I am a big fan of Sauvignon Blanc & Chenin Blanc such as Kleine Zalze Chenin Blanc and/ or Tokara Sauvignon Blanc (they’re not too expensive either).
Your favourite restaurant in the region?
The Tokara restaurant, especially in the evening when you can witness the unbelievable sunset. Then the overture (in Hidden Valley) and Indochine in the Delaire vineyard.
What is the best time of year to visit South Africa?
The weather is best from October to April, although you can get weeks filled with sun and temperatures in the low 20s during winter. Personally I would recommend March/April.
Photography: ©Pretty Hotels.