Unusual accommodation from where to explore the Cape Wine route area near Stellenbosch – yes, please! This was a requirement when booking accommodation for our honeymoon road trip in May. When we discovered two old, converted silos turned into overnight accommodation in the heart of the Cape Wine Route near Stellenbosch, we grabbed the opportunity immediately. Perhaps a bit too fast, but it was modern and contemporary, all while keeping the historic elements, and we loved the idea of staying in a silo.
The Simonsberg Silos is part of the Natte Valleij Farm, 12km from Stellenbosch on the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains. The farm offers a distinctive accommodation experience within two converted feeding grain silos on a historic homestead with large gardens. These silos are now stylish units easily accessible from the R44 leading to Stellenbosch.
We, however, found that stylish and functionality do not always combine 100%. The circular shape of the silo provides a unique architectural aesthetic with a spiral staircase leading to the bedroom upstairs. We knew the stairs had no safety railings and booked despite this. However, we both found ourselves walking against the wall to prevent accidents. It is probably just a mental thing.
The bathroom with shower and kitchen nook is downstairs, so you need to walk these stairs in your slumber to visit the toilet at night. Taller people might find the low door to the bathroom a negative. My hubby hit his head against the door frame in the middle of the night. The frame could have easily been just a little taller.
The Simonsberg Silos provides a cute little space for guests. The interior is typically designed with a contemporary touch while incorporating elements that showcase the original structure’s character. It is a small space but is used cleverly.
The small kitchen catered well for coffee and tea lovers with a coffee pod machine, a plunger with filter coffee, a kettle, and a collection of teas. The unit has a microwave but could benefit from a 1-plate gas stove, especially since there is no braai area. We did not feel like eating out, so ended up getting takeaways in Stellenbosch and heated them in the microwave. We skipped breakfast the next morning as bacon and eggs are impossible to do well in a microwave and headed straight for a wine tasting nearby.
There are two wicker chairs and a small coffee table inside, but the silo surroundings are so beautiful that you might not want to spend time inside if the weather permits. We moved the chairs outside, but a permanent small outside table with two chairs would have been ideal.
The Natte Valeij property comes with a unique history. Natte Valleij, currently owned by the Milner Family, dates back to back to 1715 when it was granted to Jurgiaan Hanekom, an ex-soldier from Germany. The property passed to the de Villiers family in 1770, who constructed the main homestead in 1775. The homestead featured a classic H-shape design with an ornate gable.
In 1839, Adriaan Jacobus van der Bijl acquired the property but unfortunately, a fire partially destroyed it later that year. Van der Bijl took the initiative to restore the damaged woodwork in 1840 and replaced the gable with a neo-classical design, which still stands today.
The Milner family purchased Natte Valleij in 1969, removing the old vines and transforming the land into grass paddocks. For the next 27 years, the estate served as a thoroughbred stud, breeding many successful racehorses. However, the focus shifted, and the horses retired, making way for classic wine cultivation.
Natte Valleij offers warm hospitality in its self-catering and en-suite guestroom accommodation today. The estate also hosts romantic country weddings. While staying at Simonsberg Silos, walk around in the beautiful gardens on the estate. If you are an avid tennis player, bring your racket. You can go for hikes on the neighbouring reserve but need permission to get access. We visited for one night only, so didn’t get around to this.
According to their website, Natte Valleij is home to 180 bird species, including rarities such as the wood owl, amethyst sunbird, southern boubou and glossy Ibis and regulars such as the black saw wing swallow, pearl-breasted swallow, giant kingfisher, bar-throated Apalis and swee waxbill. The Simonsberg Silos is therefore a great base for twitchers wanting to add to their lists while exploring the Cape wine route.
As part of the Cape wine route, Natte Valleij is the perfect base to explore nearby wine farms, restaurants, and other attractions. Grab a free map in the unit to plot your wine-tasting route.
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