The much-loved petting zoo has had a considerable upgrade. Pictures: Marchelle Abrahams
The much-loved petting zoo has had a considerable upgrade. Pictures: Marchelle Abrahams

Imhoff Farm: Visit for the fun of it, stay for the pizza and views

By Marchelle Abrahams Time of article published Oct 10, 2020

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Cape Town weather is like a petulant child; she never plays along when you expect her to. One minute the sun sits behind the clouds, threatening to sulk and remain elusive for the rest of the day; next it’s raining buckets.

But there are those days when the stars align, and Mercury thankfully is not in retrograde, when the heavens bless us with the most glorious spring weather.

We were in luck. It was a Saturday morning, and I hastily packed the kids into the car before Mother Nature changed her mind. Taking the scenic route over Ou Kaapse Weg, we found ourselves in Kommetjie. Imhoff Farm to be exact.

The last time I visited was just over 10 years ago. My eldest had just started talking and he was obsessed with anything that resembled a dinosaur. At that age, you’re mostly limited to outdoor play areas with petting zoos and make-believe dinosaurs.

This time the dinosaur whisperer had grown into a moody tween and had no interest in visiting a “boring farm”, as he put it. But after much coaxing and bribery, he relented and agreed to give it a try.

A lot has changed over the years. The old buildings that make up the artisanal village have been revamped and upgraded. During lockdown, the farm took the opportunity to restore the 277-year-old farmstead.

“Rather than a touristic show farm or wine estate catering mostly for tourists and day visitors, that shuts down at night and low-season, we want to provide locals a retail destination which serves their daily needs and offers a contemporary and convenient hub for socialising and entertainment,” explained Gerhard van der Horst, managing director of Red Cliff Property, the owner-developers of the property.

And the results are absolutely amazing. Walking into the main entrance is like being transported into a little self-contained artists’ village. In the upgrade, the petting zoo has been moved to a larger area. There’s also much more on offer as far as food and drinks are concerned.

Imhoff is an attraction geared towards families, but the owners also took into consideration that sometimes couples just want to get away from the kids and have a drink on the lawn. There’s now much more to do for adults who just want to take a time out. There’s a craft beer taproom, art gallery and bookstore that will take you the better half of the day to explore.

The kids will be stoked with the assortment of flavours on offer at the Ice-Cream Silo.

For the kids, it’s an experience that will keep them mesmerised and they’ll have something to tell their friends about when they return to school.

Our day started with lunch at the Blue Water Café. With a view overlooking the Kommetjie vineyards, it’s the perfect place to relax and take in the fresh air. There’s also a tree house close to the outdoor seating area which proved to be a hit with the little ones. But the best thing about the restaurant is its moreishly delicious thin-base pizzas. With an assortment of toppings to choose from, there’ll be something to entice even the pickiest of eaters.

Our next stop was the Ice-Cream Silo. Reminiscent of something out of a 1940s movie, I found the retro-inspired aesthetics comforting somehow. From the layout of the quaint little shop to the ice cream flavours, the kids were in sweet treat heaven. And if you’re on a plant-based diet, there are some refreshing vegan sorbets to try.

In keeping with its original ethos, Imhoff Farm decided on expanding its petting zoo to house more animals, including sheep, rabbits and goats. They’ve also moved the zoo to a larger area to accommodate more people. There is a small entrance fee, but that includes animal feed, so the kids can really immerse themselves in the farm experience.

Little hands having fun with ceramic painting

Arguably, our favourite part of the day was the ceramic painting workshop at Bisque-Bah Studio. Owner Louise Casserley’s passion for her craft is inspiring.

Patient and always enthusiastic, Casserley took the time to explain to us how best to achieve the outcome we each wanted from our little art project. Even with my 5-year-old, she carefully explained and showed her how to have fun with the various paints and textures.

If you want to be taken out of your comfort zone and fancy doing something out of the ordinary, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how cathartic painting a bowl can be.

As other tourist attractions reposition themselves in the market to become relevant again, Imhoff has done something few get right, and that’s by encouraging Capetonians to explore their own backyard.

The pandemic has given us an opportunity to press the reset button, and now that we’re on level 1 and restrictions are more relaxed, there’s so much more on offer.

Imhoff Farm offers experiences for young and old. The kids will appreciate being outdoors and running around the grassy communal spaces. And you – you can just relax while breathing in the fresh sea air.

More info:

Entrance is free

Opening hours: 9am – 5pm

Address: Kommetjie Rd, Kommetjie, Cape Town

Visit: imhofffarm.co.za/ for more info

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