For a remote and tranquil wedding atmosphere, the Western Cape countryside is hard to beat. Many venues offer accommodation so guests don’t have to drive home after the party, allowing more time to spend with friends and family. There are also plenty of natural, unspoiled backgrounds for your photos – from rustic barns, to vineyards, to spectacular mountain ranges – and often food and wine can be sourced locally, straight from the farm to your table. Christine Hogg investigates some great options under four hours from Cape Town.
Built in 1795, The Manor House at Knorhoek Estate is a national monument, located on the slopes above Sir Lowry’s Pass, on the Helderberg Wine Route. In this quaint setting, about 45 minutes out of Cape Town, the bridal couple can choose to have their ceremony inside the manor house, in the ballroom or outdoors in the garden. Either way, all packages include access to the entire venue. Guests can sip cocktails by the pool, store gifts in the boardroom, dance on the veranda and, entertain in the dining room. If the wedding entourage would like to sleep over, there’s a master suite as well as a family suite on the top floor, comprising of three bedrooms with a full bathroom and private lounge. Additional accommodation is available at reasonable rates. Knorhoek Estate offers packages for small intimate weddings, as well as all-out, large celebrations.
Location: Sir Lowry’s Pass, Helderberg Wine Route, Western Cape (55km south east of Cape Town)
Services offered: accommodation, tables and chairs, catering, set-up, service, sound system, cash bar
Guest capacity: up to 50, or up to 100, thereafter an additional price is added per person
Voted ‘Most Unique Wedding Venue’ in 2016 and Most Unique on the West Coast in 2018, Bosduifklip is a homely farm venue surrounded by ancient rock formations and a seasonal river. To go with the rustic fairy-castle atmosphere, paths are made of crushed seashells, and tables and chairs are carved from tree stumps. Bosduifklip is only a five-minute drive from the sea, so the ceremony can be held right on the beach or on the fields of the farm. Catering is taken care of on-site by hosts Aletta and Kobus, who are known to serve delicious food from age-old, family recipes. Dishes include mussels, snoek and sweet potato, spit-roast lamb, salads, home-baked bread and jams, as well as Bosduifklip sweet dumplings. The reception can be held under stars or, if it rains and during the colder months, in a covered part of the cosy restaurant.
Location: R364, Lambert’s Bay, West Coast (250km north of Cape Town)
Services offered: catering
Guest capacity: up to 150
NOOITGEDACHT WINE ESTATE
For an opulent wedding in a historic setting, Nooitgedacht’s family-owned, Cape Dutch-style wine estate, has buildings dating back to 1774. There are plenty of options for outdoor ceremonies among the expansive lawns, centuries-old oak trees, and rolling vineyards. Or celebrate indoors in a charming, cosy cellar venue. Both options include exclusive use of the entire estate, with guest cottages made available to accommodate the wedding party. According to Nooitgedacht’s website, “the Estate’s original quarters have been lovingly and luxuriously redeveloped into three magnificent, convenient, and fully-equipped guest house suites”. Before or after the wedding, quality time can be spent with family and friends, having a relaxing picnic by the pond or doing yoga. Nooitgedacht’s wedding team insists that their service is discreet and professional, ensuring a relaxing experience from the preparation stages to catering and accommodation.
Location: R304, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch (40km north east of Cape Town)
Services offered: catering, accommodation (sleeps 12)
Guest capacity: 50 to 260 guests or 300 without a dancefloor indoors, 300+ outdoors
Schaftplaas is a rustic, farm-style venue with historic significance: the main manor was built in 1832 and the surrounding blue-gum trees were planted some 100 years ago. Within this classic ambience, everything wedding-related is tailor-made, from the flowers down to the programme. Bookings are always exclusive, so the wedding guests have the venue to themselves, and there’s no curfew – on the wedding night, everybody can celebrate as long as they want. There’s no need to drive home either – a camping site and cottages are available for guests’ accommodation, and for the newly weds, there’s a complimentary overnight stay in the supreme honeymoon suite. Food is served buffet-style, Schaftplaas’ speciality being spitbraais and home-cooked farm-style food. Included in the price is a full-time wedding coordinator for a stress-free celebration, and there’s an option of having the ceremony in the quaint farm-chapel, on the veld amongst the blue-gum trees or on the lawns next to the reception area. And – for those into dramatic entrances – the bride can be transported to the ceremony in a horse-drawn cart.
Location: Schaftplaas on the R45, Langebaanweg (135km north of Cape Town)
Services offered: wedding coordination, catering, accommodation, decor, flowers, cash bar, service staff
Guest capacity: 50 to 200
Located just off the N1, Klein Joostenberg Events Venue is a modern and spacious working farm with vineyards close by. All the catering is prepared freshly on site, organic wine from the estate is served and flowers for the décor are grown locally. An extensive garden with fields in the distance creates an idyllic setting for a romantic ceremony. The chef’s signature style focuses on classic French bistro dishes with a strong Boland influence, and Klein Joostenberg’s friendly, well-trained staff will happily make arrangements for special dietary requirements. Likewise, any budget or theme can be accommodated and – for those planning a big celebration – there is plenty of parking space available. To make pre-planning as easy as possible, the Klein Joostenberg team can also handle many of the organisational requirements themselves, from chairs to table setting.
Location: Klein Joostenberg. R304, Muldersvlei, Stellenbosch (45km north east of Cape Town)
Services offered: catering, décor, service, set-up, tables and chairs
Guest capacity: 10 to 300