If you’ve recently taken your children out to Groot Constantia wine farm you may, like me, have been disappointed by the inexistance of the jungle gym that used to be located outside Simon’s Deli, which was erected only last year.
Initial fears were that it had been taken down because Groot Constantia’s heritage status may have strict rules about new structures. But when Mombabbles contacted Groot Constantia about it, Mike Lumb set the record straight: “Our existing jungle gym was dismantled late last week as that entire area is being landscaped including trees, paving, gardens, etc. It will be complete by November and during this process we will be addressing and deciding on the location of a kids area.”
Lumb made assurances that the estate was still family friendly: “We are a child friendly and very family orientated estate and restaurant and have a lot of families visiting throughout the year. There are a lot of outdoor play areas, lawns etc., however at present we do not have a specific demarcated kiddies playground.”
Family friendly competition
It’s true, Groot Constantia is family friendly. There’s ducks to feed, large grassy areas to play on and their restaurants cater to the kids too. The question is whether this will be enough to keep families coming back when just down the Spaanschemat River Road, another Constantia Valley wine farm is heavily promoting itself as a family destination.
Constantia Uitsig’s Open Door restaurant has a massive, newly built and spacious play area contained by a fence, so the little darlings can’t escape while parents enjoy their five courses paired with wine. But Open Door is a pricey restaurant and when I enquired about going there on a recent Sunday morning – it was fully booked.
For the more adventurous it has a newly constructed Bike Park, which caters to cyclists of all levels. Use of the Bike Park facilities are at a reasonable R50 per day or if you anticipate using it often you can buy a year’s pass at R750.
So there’s no doubt that Groot Constantia has a little bit of work to do if it wants to be an ultimate family destination. Meanwhile, there’s oodles of land to run and play in.
A family history
Despite being estranged from his wife Simon van der Stel the first owner of Groot Constantia brought his children to live on the estate. Subsequently, many families lived on the estate, including the Cloete family. Hendrick Cloete, who was married to Hester Anna Lourens, had 11 children so the estate is used to catering to families as far back as the 17th century and it’s set to remain that way.