SOUTH AFRICA’S favourite city of oaks, Stellenbosch, is pulling out the stops for gardeners and lovers of the great outdoors in a new, week-long festival that will transform its streets and surrounding countryside from September 30 to October 10, 2021. Major drawcards include a first Stellenbosch winelands experience featuring SA Michelin star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen.
The inaugural Garden Week Stellenbosch – inspired by the world-famous flower festival of Girona, Spain – will encompass everything from horticultural tours to landscape art; dining to hiking; and guest specialists to music in majestic settings. In addition to a host of highlights for fans of flora and Mother Nature in general will be a flower parade, which officially launches Garden Week Stellenbosch on September 30.
The event is an initiative of Visit Stellenbosch, a destination marketing organisation comprising the region’s tourism stakeholders with the objective of growing the tourism and experience economy in Stellenbosch for the benefit of all communities. Furthermore, it represents the collaboration of a multitude of local businesses, including restaurants and activity providers, as well as Stellenbosch Wine Routes, Stellenbosch Municipality, Stellenbosch Visio, Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST), Rama, Remgro, Candide App and Garden Day SA.
Open gardens and nature walks
Some of the region’s most splendid public gardens will be open to visitors, including the historic Old Nectar estate in the Jonkershoek Valley; the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden in Paradyskloof; Spier Wine Farm, whose workshops include one for children; and, Delaire Graff Estate. The owners of some 20 private gardens will participate too, giving visitors a rare glimpse of exquisite and usually inaccessible spaces.
Talks and workshops
A renowned centre of excellence, the Stellenbosch Botanical Gardens has compiled a special programme of daily walks and talks to be presented by acclaimed specialists. Workshops are also to be presented at the Rupert Museum; Blaauwklippen Wine Farm off the R44; Jordan Wines; Spier Estate and Babylonstoren, where tours will be presented by Ernst van Jaarsveld. Topics include flower arranging, dye art, photography, growing-your-own and learning about bees.
Food and wine
Stellenbosch is the heartland of South African wine and home to leading chefs and restaurateurs too. This reputation will be showcased in festival-inspired dishes to feature on menus as well as a series of garden-and-wine dining events.
Among them is an exquisite Finding Eden experience with South African Michelin star chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen. This casual tête à tête will take place at Blaauwklippen Estate’s magical Cathedral and will include an exploration of the gardens in Jan Hendrik’s life: from Le Jardin de JAN in Nice, France – his Michelin-star restaurant’s new potager garden and picnic spot – to his new culinary playground in the Kalahari; and, how the journey is documented in JAN the Journal.
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