Enjoying the Cape Winelands is something we love to do as a family, often! The only downside is that half of our family isn’t AS enthusiastic as the other half…
Us parents really love escaping to a beautiful part of the country, enjoying the fruits of the valley, appreciating the tastes and savouring the flavours.
The kids aren’t as enthusiastic. Yes, they enjoy the time together and are little foodies in their own right, but they never quite appreciate an afternoon at a wine farm as much as we do (especially if they don’t have friends to have fun with!) And, now they are getting older, it’s all too often that we all resort to screen time to ensure we all have a good time.
Fortunately we recently discovered a brand new wine farm experience – for kids!
The Tree House at Boschendal opened in December last year and extended their offerings earlier this year.
This gorgeous space, short-listed for the We Are Africa 2019 Design Award, has been created with kids in mind first and foremost.
Tucked away in a picturesque part of the Boschendal estate under beautiful plane trees (near the main parking area), The Tree House offers an incredible array of entertainment for kids aged 4 – 14.
The outdoor playground is equipped with treehouse experiences, rope bridges, climbing walls, rotating hideouts, raised platforms and slides. All of the woodwork for The Tree House and Playground was fully crafted on the farm.
Set amidst the cascading autumn leaves, this was a wonderful spot to let loose and tap into imaginative play. I can image the space would be equally delightful beneath the crisp new leaves of Spring and the lush green of Summer.
Then there is also a mini pump track created for bikers… bring your own wheels and whizz around the raised bumps for free.
Both of these areas are open to all kids visiting Boschendal – including those dining at the Deli or picnicking in the adjacent picnic area! What a win!
Behind the doors of The Tree House building is another incredible offering – however this option is for kids who have parents dining at The Werf Restaurant or staying on the Boschendal estate in their farm accommodation.
My kids were fortunate enough to go behind the doors while we headed over to enjoy a feast of farm fresh food at The Werf (review coming soon!)
Here my kids were signed in swiftly before storing any personal effects into lockers, and then the slipped behind their kid-sized door to discover the delights on offer.
The Tree House is a kids-only space staffed by brilliant child-friendly minders who offer an abundance of edu-play experiences, giving kids a chance to enjoy an authentic farm experience while the parents unwind and take a well-deserved adults-only break.
The model farm is three and a half hectares of land that has been divided into 7 blocks where animals including Black Angus cattle, hens and Duroc forest pics are rotated to regenerate soil quality. It was designed to showcase the benefits of cycle grazing.
Children can harvest their own eggs as well as learn the importance of understanding where their food comes from, sustainability, and what it means to have healthy soil.
A daily programme runs 7 days a week at The Tree House and parents can leave their children fully supervised and kept very busy with an outstanding team of trained and seasoned Tree House leaders.
“I believe we can make a much-needed change in our world by re-connecting kids to the magic of nature. At The Tree House we spark questions like – where does my food come from? How can I turn this trash into something beautiful and functional? We’re enhancing young creative minds through environmental awareness. We also want them to have fun and give parents a little break too!” – Tracey van Wijk, The Tree House Manager and conceptual thinker behind the centre.
Reason enough to treat yourself to lunch at The Werf while your kids enjoy a treat of their own at The Tree House me thinks!
The Tree House team have put together a weekly calendar packed with supervised activities that my kids dove into with glee. When we arrived at 12pm it was lunch time prep and the kids got roped in to helping to make the fire and chop the garden fresh veg which they then enjoyed eating later.
In the kids-only outdoor area there are free-range chickens, ducks and bunnies who call this space home. An insect hotel, seed propagation station and lots of space to explore.
Certain times of the day involve activities that take the kids further afield to explore the farm. Farm foraging, gardening, natural arts, baking, nature walks and exploration, upcycling, outdoor fire cooking, painting – and horse-riding/mountain biking for an additional charge are all on offer.
The natural arts activities teach children about climate change. Children design their own hanging planters, bird feeders and alternative toys using single-use plastics. They also visit the recycle centre and brainstorm about what can be made from rubbish.
Indoors there are other areas available for kids to enjoy – a “science” style lab where they can learn more about their farm finds, an arts and crafts area and a “Hide Out” chill pad complete with big screen and bean bags for those too hot or too wet days!
My kids (aged 9 & 12) enjoyed the experience along with 2 friends (aged 10 & 11) and all 4 kids came back with lots of praise… one even wanting to return next weekend! We dropped ours off at 12 and collected at 3 – allowing us adults a very leisurely lunch indeed. The youngest was ready to leave by then but she had enjoyed the time up to then.
In the kids words…
I liked the people who looked after us – JP (11)
I will go back anytime. Can we go again next weekend? – Isla (10)
The Tree House is a great addition to the child-friendly offerings available in the winelands and will certainly be a big draw card for us to return to Boschendal.
To ensure you have a spot at The Tree House during your lunch at The Werf or your stay at Boschendal remember to book at least 24hrs in advance
Contact The Tree House at Boschendal
Tel: +27 (0) 21 870 4211
Email: [email protected]
Please note that meal time activities incur a small charge.