Explore: Boschendal Farm Estate

Founded in 1685 Boschendal Farm Estate is one of the oldest farms in South Africa. It is set in the Banhoek Valley surrounded by the Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountains, and lush gardens and vineyards. The original farmstead complex is now a national monument with a rich history of more than 300 years. We spent a couple of days at Boschendal Farm to experience all it has to offer, and ride our bikes on the vast trail network.

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The Riding


The trails at Boschendal offer something for everyone. They have been designed to be accessible for novice riders, while still offering a variety of options to challenge riders looking to upskill.

 

Permits need to be purchased from the stand next to the Deli. Conveniently, coffee can also be purchased along with your permit, so you can get your caffeine fix before heading out on the trails.

 

From the Deli it is a short ride to the entrance to the trails on the opposite side of the R310, and about 20 metres from the main entrance to the farm.

 

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Heading out onto the trails we nearly didn’t make it any further than the Orchard Skills Track, which we ended up riding at least six times. In my mind a genius addition by the trail builder. This short, relatively flat piece of trail lets riders practice the skills they will need for the remainder of the route. Like the rest of the route it has been well thought out, and is easy for a complete novice to ride, but has swooping berms, doubles, gaps and tabletops of varying size which riders can use to build up confidence, before heading further up the mountain.

 

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The route then meanders through the farm climbing the lower slopes on open jeep track, with vineyards on either side. The burn starts to kick in when you hit the Big Bunny Switchbacks, and the gradient increases along with the view. Endorphins and sweat will be flowing by the time you hit the top jeep track contour which undulates to the drop-in to the aptly named Sugar Bowl (it gives you an addictive, fizzy high).

 

If you are feeling perky continuing to the highest point at 532 metres above sea level, and riding the spectacular Inferno descent is highly recommended.

 

The trails are predominantly manicured: smooth flowing berms, and switchbacks, scattered with kickers that will have a smile on your face the whole way down.

 

On a hot day the swim platform and shaded picnic spot at the dam offer an excuse for a welcome break.

 

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Things to do on the farm


Boschendal is a fully working farm, and their vineyards and fruit trees have been joined by vegetable gardens and a growing herd of free range, 100% pasture fed Angus cattle. Activities range from trout fishing, horse riding, picnics, a guided vineyard tour, cellar tour and a spa. Wine tasting is offered at the Werf Wine Tasting Room, as well as at the Cellar Door, where you can relax and enjoy Boschendal wines in the shade of historic oak trees.

 

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The Restaurants


The food is worth a visit in its own right. During our stay we ate at the Werf Restaurant and Farmshop & Deli and the food at both was mouth-watering. Nothing pretentious or overly flamboyant, just wholesome, flavourful food served and presented well. Portions were generous, and value for money were good at both venues.

 

Most of the vegetables used in the dishes are grown in the farm's exquisite and abundant vegetable garden, and the remainder sourced from local farms, and therefore the menu shifts with the seasons.

 

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Breads, pastries and desserts are made in the farm's bakery, and bakers work from around midnight to ensure goods are served fresh out of the oven daily. The flourless chocolate cake from the Farmshop & Deli is a must-try after a long ride.

 

Aside from great steaks, you can grab a piece of biltong for longer rides at the Werf butchery.

 

The Farmshop & Deli also stocks a range of products including Boschendal’s own pasture-reared Angus Beef, Boschendal pasture raised eggs, freshly picked produce from their food garden, fresh farm bread, artisanal jams, home-made preserves and local olive oil, which you can take home with you to placate any loved ones left behind.

 

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Accommodation


Guest accommodation is a recent addition to the farm, and includes the exclusive and historic Rhodes Cottage (built by Sir Herbert Baker), the elegantly restored Werf Cottages and the Trout Cottage where we stayed. Cottage guests enjoy access to the entire farm where they can walk and cycle on trails through pristine mountain fynbos, dine under the stars, enjoy picnics and sundowners in exclusive areas, and fly-fish or swim in the dams.

 

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Trout Cottage is located across the road from the main farm, conveniently on the same side as the main trail network and serves as the perfect base for a weekend away riding bikes. It offers accommodation for 6 people (2 twins and 1 bunk bed) in three rooms with a fully equipped kitchen, two bathrooms, a living room and its own yard and stoep on which to enjoy a cup of coffee and the incredibly scenic views.

 

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11 Comments

Bos, Jun 13 2017 12:45

Does someone know..Are those last photos the new additions of the trail? I saw Trailtroop post some pics on insta. On which of the trails are they or does more than one make use of it. ?

Iwan Kemp, Jun 13 2017 12:57

Does someone know..Are those last photos the new additions of the trail? I saw Trailtroop post some pics on insta. On which of the trails are they or does more than one make use of it. ?

 

That's trailtroops riding his own new trails. Not open to the public yet, though. Soon. 

Headshot, Jun 13 2017 01:21

We rode most of the black route a couple of months ago. We had the place to ourselves on a perfect if a tad hot afternoon. It was the day JH was closed due to protests and luckily I remembered a friend had recently raved about these trails. I am more a fan of the rocky tech stuff you find at Tokai and JH, but the tracks at Boschendal are so well built that they are fun, and the faster you go the better it gets. 

 

We saw the new track under construction  - it looked good. The best trail IMO was Porcupine I think - very fast a and flowy with those proper berms you can really rail and a few surprises as the speed increases. The first single track descent (Inferno) I think - also very good fast fun. Setting is amazing.

 

There is also an amazing jump line down a line of trees - all sizes including gaps. Amazing skills area. Those new bits look even better.

 

More people should ride it.

Shebeen, Jun 13 2017 01:26

very cool, had some (obvious) questions that a visit to the website answered.

 

day permits:R50

trail builders: bennet nel/pieter van wyk

Jewbacca, Jun 13 2017 02:04

We rode most of the black route a couple of months ago. We had the place to ourselves on a perfect if a tad hot afternoon. It was the day JH was closed due to protests and luckily I remembered a friend had recently raved about these trails. I am more a fan of the rocky tech stuff you find at Tokai and JH, but the tracks at Boschendal are so well built that they are fun, and the faster you go the better it gets. 

 

We saw the new track under construction  - it looked good. The best trail IMO was Porcupine I think - very fast a and flowy with those proper berms you can really rail and a few surprises as the speed increases. The first single track descent (Inferno) I think - also very good fast fun. Setting is amazing.

 

There is also an amazing jump line down a line of trees - all sizes including gaps. Amazing skills area. Those new bits look even better.

 

More people should ride it.

We did exactly the same thing... JH closed so headed to Boschendal.

 

Rode the black route and at the very top we then hid our bikes in the bushes and hiked/scrambled up a raving trying to find a way to the summit of the mountains.

 

It was an awesome day out. Super picturesque and really fun.

 

I will definitely go back

deonkretch, Jun 13 2017 02:09

Mr Brown - you know your way around a camera! Great pics!

LouisPlus, Jun 17 2017 09:35

After viewing this post we decided to ride Boschendal Black route on Friday 16 June. So much fun. Friendly staff and friendly fellow MTB cyclists. The singletrack is just awesome. All 3.7km of Inferno ST is a rush. Thank you Boschendal for fantastic trails and Bike Hub for the great article.

Velouria, Oct 09 2017 10:02

Wow!

 

Probably some of the best trails in the Western Cape at the moment. You have to work for it, but the single track is AMAZING. A trail builder with a brain clearly built these!

 

If you haven't ridden here yet - go now!!!

Mr X, Oct 09 2017 10:27

Wow!

 

Probably some of the best trails in the Western Cape at the moment. You have to work for it, but the single track is AMAZING. A trail builder with a brain clearly built these!

 

If you haven't ridden here yet - go now!!!

 

Ok but I`m blaming you if I get in trouble with my boss.

Velouria, Oct 09 2017 10:43

Ok but I`m blaming you if I get in trouble with my boss.

 

Send him my way. Even better - take him along and buy him breakfast afterwards!

Mr X, Oct 09 2017 10:47

Send him my way. Even better - take him along and buy him breakfast afterwards!

 

Yes good idea! It will be fun seeing my bosses (aka noobs) try to ride these trails while their low life back office employee rips through the berms!