Dunstone: A family destination in Wellington

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When you think of the Cape Winelands, you think of visiting Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Somerset West. However, hidden amongst them, just slightly off the beaten track, lies the gem that is Wellington. I have been to Wellington before – I even have family roots there as my grandmother grew up in the house that is now the Breyten Breytenbach museum in town. However, our experience of staying in the Manor House on the Dunstone Estate, just outside of town, totally blew my mind. There are few places in the world I would describe as perfection, but I would confidently venture out to say this setting is just that, with its breathtaking and incredibly special beauty.

Dunstone Estate is owned by Lee and Abby Wallis, a British couple who fell in love with South Africa, and Wellington, some 17 years ago. They have transformed this estate into what it is today – not only a working vineyard with award-winning wine but also a luxurious self-catering and Bed and Breakfast portfolio. Just in case you thought not all your needs would be met here – the estate also has a Bistro, The Stone Kitchen, a child and dog friendly restaurant with an indoor as well as outdoor play area. The bistro is tucked away discreetly at the bottom of the estate so whilst it does not infringe on the privacy of guests in the accommodation higher up on the estate, it offers unique accessibility within a short walk.

The Manor house is a stunning self-catering three-bedroom property, complete with a wrap-around veranda and blue shutters, situated at the top of the estate. There are two further self-catering properties called Guava Cottage and Acorn. Guava Cottage is nestled literally in the heart of the verdant guava orchard and has the most breathtaking view of the mountains. Due to the setting it offers great privacy and a sense of seclusion. Acorn is situated within sight of the Manor House but still offers privacy with its own pool and a row of trees that separates the properties. Vine is the honeymoon suite, on the far edge of the estate for optimum privacy, with a hot tub and breakfast basket included (it does not have self-catering facilities other than a braai area and a fridge.) The converted stables, comprised of five bed and breakfast units, completes the collection of accommodation options on this magnificent estate.

View from the kitchen window

So, what makes Dunstone so special? Why is this the kind of place you really struggle to leave and already start planning your return before you’ve left? It is a combination of factors:

Tranquility: The atmosphere on the farm is saturated with a sense of beauty and serenity. When you sit on the veranda (stoep) of the manor house, the birds in the old oak trees beside it make the most beautiful noise, like a chattering joyfulness. The sun has a dreamy quality probably due to all the mature trees and the play of light this creates. The bright yellow lemon orchards coupled with the pink bougainvillea and vine covered pergola scatters colour everywhere. Walking around on the grounds at golden hour with the last warmth of the day turning the grapefruit trees a deep orange and watching the horses in the paddocks in the last light of the day, is nothing short of sublime and restorative.

Diversity: Your children will be in absolute heaven here. Each house has a pool (great for summer), there are loads of farm animals including two very cute miniature goats who like to climb in the guava trees, a paddocks of horses, two very fat pot-belly pigs, a gorgeous and friendly ridgeback called Merlot (Abby and Lee’s dog), a tortoise, and finally a number of ducks scattered across the two dams. The bird-life is prolific and I particularly enjoyed listening to an owl hooting in the oak trees outside the manor house one night. There are plenty of places outside the estate for cycling and walking that can be enjoyed safely. We particularly enjoyed the Riverwalk at Doolhof Wine Estate, just down the road from Dunstone and cycling around the dam on Bosman farm. Our children spent most of their time on the farm just exploring. They also made use of the wonderful play area outside the Bistro. The Bistro is currently closed due to Covid-19 restrictions but the play area is accessible to guests staying on the farm.

Hospitality: Abby and Lee are very welcoming and are warm and experienced hosts. They live on the estate themselves – if they can’t assist, the estate manager is always on hand to assist with any problem or inquiry.

Luxury: The Manor House, where we stayed, is luxuriously furnished and decorated. Given the time of year, we did not use the pool but instead enjoyed the indoor braai as well as the fireplace in the lounge. The beds were incredibly comfortable with the finest linen and the ball and claw baths in each bathroom added a continental feel.  The combination of staying on a working farm surrounded by nature and animals, whilst still enjoying beautiful luxuries, is a real treat and raises the whole experience just those few notches above the average guest farm experience. Do have a look at the detailed pictures of each property at www.dunstone.co.za.

For bookings please enquire with Abbi at [email protected]. Leisure accommodation is currently not allowed under lockdown level 3 but if you place a booking before the end of September, for bookings up until the end of December 2020, it comes at a discounted price. Please see below:

2 Nights 3 nights or more Over 7 nights
Manor Per night R3 000 R2 550 R2 100
Acorn Per night R2 000 R1 700 R1 400
Guava Per night R2 000 R1 700 R1 400
Vine Per night R2 000 R1 700 R1 400
Vine BnB Per night R2 500 R2 200 R1 900

Take the leap, book your spot at Dunstone for that special occasion when friends and family can be reunited again, for the much needed romantic break after lockdown or for one of the most memorable family holidays you’ll ever have.

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