Western Cape Tourist AttractionsBoekenhoutskloof House
Where? Excelsior Road, Franschhoek, Cape Winelands
How? Call +27 (0)21 876-3320
Boekenhoutskloof wine estate produces a couple of well-known wines - The Wolftrap, Porcupine Ridge and The Chocolate Block.
It lies in the farthest corner of the Franschhoek valley. The farm has been here since 1776 but was bought and restored in 1993 with the intention to plant a new vineyard to include Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, Grenache, Semillon and Viognier.
Its name comes from the Boekenhout - an indigenous Cape beech tree. Translated, it means: 'ravine of the Boekenhout'.
On the unpretentious farm is a little restored house, a well preserved example of a humble 'pioneer' dwelling, and a complete contrast to grander homesteads in the valley. That being said, it is also one of the finest examples of a simple, functional T-shaped farmhouse with a wolfsneus gable.
A wolfsneus gable, or wolf's nose gable, is one of the first front gables designed. It functioned as an 'eyebrow' over a dormer window (which gave light for the loft) above the front door.
Later this basic dormer window evolves into the bolbol or hol/bol design, which means hollow ball, with its symmetrical indents and rounded shapes. Some of these would have a bit of added flair with statuettes, and family insignia.
The homestead in Boekenhoutskloof was built on a steep slope with a stream running past it. In an historical archaeology assessment of the farm, bits of porcelain fragments were collected from the slope just below the house that dated back to the 18th and 19th century. They were thought to be both Chinese and English in origin (the Dutch East Indian Company imported Chinese porcelain, whilst the later British bought English soft paste porcelain).
When visiting the farm, ask about the rare Erica called Erica Lerouxiae, a flower unique to Boekenhoutskloof and its neighbouring farm, Haut Espoir. Wine tasting is free. There is no formal tour of the farmhouse, but phone ahead or ask when there for wine tasting.