In August 2019, I first had the pleasure of exploring the newly revamped and revived Hazendal Wine Estate. Tucked away along Bottelary Road in Stellenbosch, even then, Hazendal struck me as a sensory feast, in every way.
With its tranquil lawns and distant rolling hills, blend of Cape Dutch buildings and other modern additions (like the Pavilion), outstanding food- and wine-offerings and unique experiences (like Russian tea ceremonies, Wonderdal for kids and more) – Hazendal made its presence instantly felt.
So, some two years later, I was delighted to re-visit this beautiful estate. Happily, my return showed me that Hazendal has only grown from strength to strength and added even more wondrous feathers to their proud cap.
Relaxing Picnics that Cater to all Tastes
One thing that has always impressed me about Hazendal is how its culinary experiences – like the decadent, authentic Russian tea ceremony or their relaxing Babushka picnics – cater to all tastes and dietary requirements.
Whether you are vegan, vegetarian or even gluten intolerant, Hazendal happily caters to your dietary needs without compromising on the quality. (Or adding to the price…)
To me, this makes their food experiences extremely all-inclusive. Add to this the fact that they easily cater to families, especially those with little ones, and Hazendal easily cements itself as a foodie destination of note in the Stellenbosch Winelands.
Their culinary experiences are also generously portioned and exquisitely presented. This is something that makes the experience even more special.
Their Babushka Picnics, which I enjoyed on my most recent visit, are some of the best I have encountered anywhere in the Cape Winelands. Hazendal picnics leave you feeling content, satisfied and pampered.
Tea with a Twist
Arguably one of the most fun, delightful offerings at Hazendal is their unique, authentic Russian tea ceremony experience.
Again, from a food and drink perspective, this is an almost unforgettable estate offering.
It is unlike any other afternoon tea around. Especially as it provides a true taste of the Russian-meets-South African culture and heritage that this estate so proudly presents to its visitors.
The Russian tea ceremony caters to both adults and children. This makes it one of the most family-friendly tea offerings near Cape Town.
Although it still has every bit the dainty teatime traditions, opulent, plush surroundings and beautiful backstory, this tea ceremony provides a soothing, deliciously good indoor experience for all.
Wonderdal: A Magical Place for Interactive Education and Playtime
Another incredible addition to Hazendal is their ground-breaking Wonderdal, an interactive, edutainment kids’ play centre. Wonderdal is ideally designed to cater to ages 5-13. It offers a magical world of interactive, stimulating and above all, educational fun.
Suitable for day visitors, school groups and even birthday parties, Wonderdal invites little ones and tweens to enter a world of creative design, cutting-edge learning technology, heartwarming story tales and above all, science, nutrition and nature.
What I love most about Wonderdal, having been given a guided tour on my latest visit, is that this interactive edutainment centre might offer world-class technology and award-winning learning resources…
Yet, at its heart, it is about teaching children meaningful life skills. Like how to enjoy a balanced diet; how to nurture and care for our planet and its resources; or how to take things back to basics.
Here, little ones can enjoy interactive play with an outdoor wildlands play area or indoor Story Caves, equipped with an endless array of books to broaden, captivate and inspire young minds.
Children enjoy two hours inside, under full supervision thanks to Hazendal’s incredible Wonderdal staff (or WonderPals).
The WonderPals are very much hands-on and involved throughout the entire process so children have assistance and/or guidance at all times.
Learning Key Life Lessons through Safe, Interactive Play
I also really appreciated the thought that has gone into Wonderdal’s fantasy world and the meaning behind it.
After a short registration, children receive a bracelet and safety socks with grips (for safe climbing and playtime).
Thereafter, a short induction video allows them to ”break down” the doors using their magical bracelet. (This is embedded with a crystal that they use throughout their time inside.) A visually stunning video reveals the world of Wonderdal, introducing children to Kora, the Tree of Light, and the five, cute guardians of Wonderdal: the Amuki.
Included in this induction video is both an eco-friendly, gentle narrative that teaches children how energy connects us all.
(For example, in order for Kora to thrive, she needs to absorb energy into her roots to keep her alive. Much in the same way a tree requires water and sunlight to survive in real life.)
Once the doors of Wonderdal break open, a colourful, clean and safe environment awaits. It is here that young minds can explore, creative and learn.
Inside, there are different indoor stations: Story Caves; Health Kitchen; Wonder Garden; Brain Teaser Islands, Tree of Light and Tinker Workshop. Each represents the Amuki characters.
Honestly, this is one of the most amazing educational spaces I have seen. I think if I had learnt about the five food groups through an interactive on-screen kitchen and fun character, I might have remembered them better.
Wonderdal’s Engaging Learning Stations
Part of the learning experience and stations are features like an engaging kitchen. This teaches children about the five food groups (for feeding and sustaining a healthy Amuki) and the importance of cooking raw foods and eating healthy.
Then there is a virtual wonder garden that even uses interactive motion movements to function correctly.
The Tinker workshop, meanwhile, is where they can tinker with child-safe electric circuitry and a marble and a wind-tunnel to explore different forms of energy.
Children can also test their acquired knowledge with an interactive quiz station. Or simply enjoy the cosy readers’ den that is the Story Caves.
Little learners can also track their progress, obtain rewards for their skills and efforts and enjoy a series of fun outdoor challenges too.
In fact, the outdoor play space and canopy forest were some of my favourite parts of Wonderdal. There are also nets, a balancing sock and obstacle courses, ideal for challenges and honing outdoor skills.
Once they complete their Wonderdal experience, kiddies can also take three snaps (for parents to print at home). Additionally, parents also receive their child’s report card.
All these touches go a long way to ensuring a thoughtful, fun outing for both children and parents.
During COVID-19, Wonderdal and its stations are santised every hour. There are also ample sanitisation stations at the estate and staff wear their masks at all times.
Specialised silver ion technology-transparent overlays cover all of Wonderdal’s screens. This powerful technology repels 99% of bacteria. The staff also physically clean and sanitise the screens every sixty minutes.
To ensure the play centre is socially distanced enough, Wonderdal takes a maximum of 30 kids in every hour.
Peace of Mind for Parents: At Wonderdal, It’s Very Much Safety First
One thing that really stands out at Wonderdal are the safety measures that the estate has in place to protect your children.
For example, every child’s bracelet has their parent or guardian’s contact details in it. So, if something should happen or your child wishes to be picked up, the staff can easily contact you.
However, even once you arrive to retrieve your child, you must present the security code that Wonderdal SMSes through to you when your child is ready for collection.
Also, while any estate visitor can enjoy a guided tour under supervision – you cannot explore Wonderdal on your own without a staff member present.
Wonderdal: Pricing and Other Info
For a two-hour, fully supervised session, (low day; school term) pricing is R125, on Tuesday – Thursday. Safety socks are an extra R35 and are essential for all children visiting Wonderdal.
For peak day visits (Friday – Sunday and holidays), pricing is R190 for two hours. Safety socks are an extra R35 and are essential for all children visiting Wonderdal.
All in all, Wonderdal looks like an entirely thrilling, exciting space for kids. Best of all, parents have the option of joining in on the fun and experiencing Wonderdal through the eyes of their children.
However, parents must pay for a separate ticket. Otherwise, you are free to enjoy the estate’s adult-friendly experiences, while the Wonderdal staff keep a close, engaged eye on your children.
For parties, guests are given 30 minutes outside (after their standard two-hour experience) to celebrate and enjoy some party time and cake.
The estate provides decor and catering. Goodies can be ordered by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Aside from this, Wonderdal also has excellent Brain Teaser Islands and great upstairs classrooms suitable for visiting school groups.
For more information on Wonderdal, its incredible educational experiences and opening hours, please contact them directly: +27 (021) 205 5624.
Luxurious Homestead Accommodation
Literally a day after my estate visit, Hazendal unveiled one of their latest estate offerings: accommodation in their tastefully restored Cape Dutch Homestead.
Although I did not personally get a chance to visit or explore the Homestead, I have since seen photos of the accommodation online and in true Hazendal style, it is the last word in sophisticated beauty and luxury.
This five-bedroom, exclusive-use Homestead is decked out with every possible creature comfort. It also features beautiful period furniture, striking artworks and spacious suites to ensure a memorable Winelands stay.
The Homestead accommodation is ideal for groups of friends, families and more.
I also think it would be great for bridal parties, as the estate also has some stunning wedding venues, which you can read about here on my blog.
For more information or to book a stay, please see here.
Teeing up for Hazendal’s Exciting Golf Course
Another thrilling project in the pipelines is Hazendal’s very own golf course, which should open during 2021. This 18-hole, par-3 golf course will, in turn, provide avid golfers with the ultimate golfing experience.
Their course features USGC-conforming bent-green grass; putting-, chipping- and pitching-green; a hi-tech driving range; and even a youth golf academy with private coaching.
To celebrate the natural beauty of this course, visitors can also enjoy seeing the indigenous trees and carefully conserved natural vegetation that surrounds it.
For more details on the golf course’s opening dates and pricing, please keep an eye on Hazendal’s social feeds.
Pivnushka Beer Garden
If you are a beer lover, then you are going to adore Pivnushka Beer Garden, another fine addition to Hazendal.
This relaxed beer garden offers visitors the chance to enjoy beautiful views, family-friendly, al fresco dining and a delicious array of dishes, inspired by both Russian and South African beer garden favourites. They also have a lovely, dedicated kids’ menu to suit little eaters.
Aside from the excellent food on offer, the beer garden offers a wide range of local craft beers, Hazendal’s own premium wines (divine) and an extensive selection of cocktails and mocktails.
Babushka Deli: A Treasure Trove of Treats, Eats and Gifts
Babushka Deli responsible for all the picnic wonder at Hazendal. The deli itself also offers an incredible array of sweet treats, hot or cold beverages, indoor or al fresco dining, incredible artisanal bakes, treats and even gifts to both tantalise and thrill!
A visit to Hazendal is not complete without a quick stop by Babushka Deli for some takeaway coffee, freshly baked bread or sweet treats.
Vintage Cars, Marvol Gallery and More
Even after two wonderful, leisurely visits, I have barely even scratched the surface at Hazendal. Aside from the beautiful, artsy gardens, vintage car display and Marvol Gallery, there is just so much more to see, explore and enjoy at Hazendal.
This Stellenbosch estate has really become one of the most highly sought-after, well-rounded and impressive estates that you will find anywhere in South Africa.
To me, it’s virtually flawless. Everything from the welcoming, professional staff to the incredible backdrop and estate grounds ensures a truly memorable, relaxing visit.
I wish to extend a special thanks to the Hazendal team (especially those from Babushka Deli and Wonderdal), Anel La Grange and Anja du Plessis who warmly invited me back to explore this incredible estate and who also hosted me for a guided Wonderdal tour and amazing Babushka picnic experience.
For more information on Hazendal and its amazing offerings, please contact: +27 (021) 205 5620 or email them at: email@example.com.
You can also visit their website or find them for yourself at Hazendal, Bottelary Road, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa.
Author: Tamlyn Ryan
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.
Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.