Boschendal Manor House in South Africa


The Franschhoek Wine Rout, which is located in the Winelands district of South Africa, is famous for its beautiful scenery and estate. One of the most interesting attractions to be seen here is the gorgeous Cape Dutch estate of Boschendale. This winery produces some of South Africa’s best known wines. The estate lies on beautifully landscaped and maintained grounds, but the pivotal attraction is the manor house, which is now a museum.


Eighteenth Century Beginnings


The present house was built by the wine-making de Villiers family in 1812, but the wine cellar and coach house date back to 1796. Today it belongs to a consortium of local business people, and is one of the stars of South Africa’s Cape Winelands. It is built in an H shape, and its elegant, rustic, white Dutch exterior with its gables and both rounded and classical pilasters makes it one of the most frequently photographed buildings in the Winelands district.


Nineteenth Century Furnishings


The gorgeous interior of the manor house gives visitors a good idea of what life was like for a successful wine maker in South Africa in the 19th century. The hand-crafted room dividers are made of teak and yellowwood, and are decorated with geometric designs in dark ebony. The house is full of beautiful 19th century furnishings. Of particular interest is the locally made antique, four-poster stinkwood bed with the lace hangings and embroidered cotton bedspread. The bed was made in 1810, and the bedding around 1820. The sitting room is crafted in oak, with a walnut veneer. The highlight of the decor is a collection of Ming Dynasty porcelain. In the front entrance way there is a fascinating long-case Dutch clock. This beautiful timepiece was made in 1748. In addition to the time of day, it shows the date, the day of the week, the month, the current zodiac sign, the phase of the moon, and the tide in Amsterdam. The kitchen floor is made of clay. In bygone days it would be washed with a mixture of water and cow manure to keep it cool and free of vermin. The walls were painted dark brown or red so that dirt would not show up. The reception rooms have their original friezes of black acorns and green leaves. The friezes were discovered when the house was being restored in the 1970s.


Dining With Class


Boschendal offers three lovely dining experiences. The luncheon buffet is served in the original wine cellar. There is a sumptuous buffet selection that includes Malay cuisine and many of the traditional dishes of South Africa. Among the tasty offerings are venison carpaccio with Satsuma preserve, and watercress with local goat’s cheese and walnuts. For lighter fare, sit at one of the wrought-iron tables under the trees and try the quiche. From October to April you can buy a picnic hamper (no wine included) and sit on the lawn. Inquire about the romantic full moon picnics. Wine, preserves, and souvenirs are available in the gift shop. Wine tasting tours are available in season.