Seclusion between vineyards in South Africa

An hour’s drive is enough to get from Cape Town to Franschhoek, but the trip is like traveling back in time. The name Franschhoek is translated as “corner of the French”. This is a village surrounded by vineyards, built in the 17th century by the Huguenots who took refuge in the heart of the mountains of South Africa. The region is said to have reminded them of their home country, the French Pre-Alps. Remnants of their presence are still visible throughout the valley, which, three centuries after their arrival, has become one of the most prestigious wine regions in the world.

A refuge in the heart of the mountain, the greenhouse is located in the center of the village of Sterrekopje.

© Inge Prins

Three years ago, Dutchwoman Nicole Böckhoorn accidentally discovered an abandoned farm and decided to build her haven of peace there. The entrepreneur dreamed of her own establishment and searched for the perfect place for a long time – sometimes in Mallorca, sometimes in Provence or in the Netherlands. When a friend invites her to her wedding in Franschhoek, Nicole seizes the opportunity… It was at that moment that I had a click. All he needs now is a partner. Fate was favorable to her: the day after the opening of the farm, she met Fleur Heiskens, at that time a specialist in international relations. The two women moved to Franschhoek, where they now live on a farm with two dogs, a cat, horses, donkeys, pigs and cows. The name given to this place, Sterrekopje, a toponym already used by the previous owners, pays homage to the star that shines at night over the steep hill (spear).

In the living room, the freshly finished frescoes were created by local artists.

© Inge Prins

Like a second family

The houses, with their symmetrical volumes and ornate gables, are typical of Cape-Dutch architecture. But this style also bears the scars of a difficult past. ” It can’t be denied “Explains Fleur, noting that many farms in the region give a depressing impression of celebration” old times Respect and serenity reign in Sterrekopje, and the staff is considered like a second family. For the farmhouse facade, two women replaced the typical apartheid white with the pale pink of the Huguenots, who painted their houses with cow’s blood and lived in peace with their neighbors. In eleven spacious The chambers, or “retreats” as they are called, are also free from the smugness of the lords.They are decorated in soft, ocher tones.Furniture and fabrics remind the owners of past travels: canopy beds from Kenya, lamps from Morocco, handmade chests from India…


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