Picnic fare from the Farm Kitchen.
One of the oldest farms in South Africa, with a recorded history dating to 1692, Spier in Stellenbosch not only has a rich heritage but is creating a present-day legacy with many practices and social initiatives that are not immediately visible to the casual visitor.

Peel back the layers and you’ll find multiple projects which create employment and empowerment for artists and artisans, sustainable farming practices, from organic wine to free-range eggs, a plant which recycles 100% of waste water, the Tree-preneur project, which encourages impoverished communities to grow trees in exchange for essential goods, and the creation of micro-enterprises linked to Spier to support entrepreneurs.

All this is wrapped up in a renowned approach to responsible tourism and has been recognised by various agencies such as Fair Trade in Tourism SA (FTTSA) and the Wine Industry Ethical Trade Association (Wieta). Spier Hotel was awarded a gold at the African Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 in the category of Best for Accommodation for Responsible Employment.

Whether you’re visiting for a day or staying longer, you can do so with peace of mind.

At the hotel's check-in, you’re greeted by friendly staff and a glass of wine. I was given a map of the property and talked through it, and the public spaces such as the bar and the restaurant were pointed out. It’s always good to know well in advance where you’ll find your breakfast, being the most important meal of the day and all that.

The hotel accommodation is in the form of a small village of villas. Although I’ve stayed there several times, I’ve yet to become fully acquainted with the layout.

That’s why they have golf carts to whizz you around wherever you need to go, whenever you need to be there.

On this occasion, I stayed in a garden room, one of a group which all opened out on to a shared garden with its own private pool.

It happens to be close to the main hotel building so on this visit I walked almost everywhere. It’s certainly not as far as you think to all the other amenities, and goodness knows, I could do with the exercise considering everything I ate.

The rooms are comfortable and well-appointed, of course, and even though all that water is being recycled, guests are encouraged to be mindful of their usage and to employ the bucket in the shower. This is just how we roll in Cape Town nowadays.