I’ll be the first to state, loudly and often, that roses are the most overrated of the floral kingdom. They play a major role in just about every cliché movie every made – the romantic ones in particular – they’re always one of the narrow range of soap scents available – right next to the lavender –, and they die within a few measly days. HOWEVER, when coupled with the chance to create a bouquet from roses you’ve picked yourself, they become positively MAGICAL – and that’s exactly what a visit to Chart Farm feels like.
Hidden amongst the forests of the Wynberg area, Chart Farm feels like somewhat of a secret. Perhaps it’s just because for 28 years of my life I had no idea that it existed, but stumbling across it this week felt like tripping down the rabbit hole and stumbling into wonderland – minus a belligerent queen and playing cards with faces. Here, rows of rose bushes boasting flowers of every colour stretch out, seemingly endless, in front of a backdrop of mountains and trees.
Not only can you stroll between the impressive floral displays, but you can actually pick your own flowers to take home! They’re charged per stalk (and not unreasonably, either), and in the rare instance you can’t find any you love, or just are too indecisive to pick any, you can buy pre-cut stems too. Just a gentle reminder that roses have thorns – and big ones. They can do a fair amount of damage if you aren’t careful.
Regardless of the inevitable puncture wounds, it’s so satisfying to be able to select each flower by hand ( provided you’re not getting stabbed by the thorns TOO much), picking each one to suit your own taste. Not to mention, you get to do it in a massive garden with spectacular views. You can even grab lunch at the farm restaurant before or after your adventure.
This is definitely an essential Cape Town bucket list activity. And since roses are notorious for …well…dying, there are so many opportunities to keep going back for more! You can take your own pruning shears and bucket if you choose to ( it could stop you from standing in line over there on a busy day) or you can borrow the farm-owned ones. You’ll need to pay a deposit to borrow their pruning shears, and they say on busy days they may run out, so it can’t hurt to be prepared.
This is definitely one of the more instagramable (or instabae) spots around town, and if you’re looking for a way to add some fire to your feed, it could be just the spot you’re looking for. If you just want to frolic around feeling like a Disney princess (as I did), you can do that too. Although I highly recommend not frolicking too long or too enthusiastically after picking your roses, as they do tend to wilt if you don’t treat them nicely, and it’s awfully sad (and a little embarrassing) paying for your depressed blooms which you swear looked fantastic about an hour earlier.
As a Cape Town local, I can’t believe it took me so long to discover this experience. I’m ashamed of myself. And yet, I still feel I deserve to get myself some roses very, very soon.
Chart Farm is a true wonderland, and a well deserved addition to you Cape Town itinerary or – if you live here like me – a great way to unwind over the weekend.
This article was simultaneously published on Avo Maki Travels, which you can visit to find more travel ideas in Cape Town and abroad. Alternatively, visit @avo_maki on Instagram to keep up with the author’s adventures.