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A refreshment station at Babylonstoren

Few people realize that the Cape was not initially a colony – it was established as a ‘refreshment station’ by the Dutch East India Company and its purpose was to supply fresh produce to their ships trading between the Netherlands and the far East. The staff at the Cabo de Boa Esperance was here for one main purpose – to establish a garden to produce vegetables, fruit, to provide fresh meat and sweet water and to defend the  refreshment station and its produce from the local peoples and from being taken by nations with opposition trading companies – particularly the British. They were also tasked to provide a hospital for those suffering from scurvy, which caused many deaths  on the long sea voyage from the home ports.

Spanning eight acres, the Babylonstoren garden is formal in structure  inspired by these Company Gardens of the Cape.  Every one of over 300 varieties of plants in the garden is edible and it is grown as biologically possible.  Fruit and veg are harvested year round for use in the restaurant.  The garden is divided into fifteen clusters spanning vegetable areas, berries, bees, indigenous plants, ducks and chickens and includes a prickly pear maze.  Gravity feeds water into waterways from stream into the garden as it was done originally in the Company Gardens.Vegetables and fruit gathered daily from the garden are often served with their skins on.  Helpings are generous and meals may be taken either in the glass enclosed restaurant or under the Plain trees in the courtyard, depending on the weather

Plan your visit: Babylonstoren is a pleasant hour’s drive from Cape Town. Opening times Wednesday To Sunday: 09h00 – 17h00 for day visitors. (Every day of the week only for guests staying at Babylonstoren) For a more detailed experience you could always join a garden tour at 10:00 or 15:00.  (By reservation only)

 

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