Cutting-edge design, warm hospitality & cultural fusion at Kunjani

by Justin

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Kunjani!” It’s a warm, informal greeting between friends in the Nguni language of Southern Africa, but at the Stellenbosch wine estate bearing the name, it’s more than a word – it symbolises a way of life.

Life for Kunjani’s owners, German Paul Barth and South African Pia Watermeyer, is best lived in good company, enjoying bountiful food and great wine, surrounded by natural beauty and art. At Kunjani, a fresh and youthful addition to the Stellenbosch wine route, they’ve created a destination that warmly welcomes guests to share their passion for ‘le good life’’.

Kunjani succeeds in being a destination in the true sense of the word – bold and innovative design that has become a Stellenbosch landmark and reason enough in itself to visit, a contemporary South African art collection, an acclaimed restaurant that invites long relaxed lunches, luxurious private self-catering villas, sweeping vineyard and mountain views from the expansive deck and, not least, wine tasting in the underground cellar.

“Two cultures, one passion,” is the motto under their logo of a very South African, friendly fist-bump, expressing their personal story of how this warm-hearted place came about.

Winegrowing runs in Paul’s veins, in his memories of growing up amongst his father’s Riesling vines in Germany’s Rheingau region, and although he made his career in construction, he dreamed of one day owning his own wine farm. Meeting Pia turned that vision away from Europe to the winelands of South Africa.

When the two met at a mutual friend’s wedding, the spark was there but the English-German language barrier bedeviled the instant connection. Sharing the universal language that connects people through wine was a good start, but it took Paul to get his friends to write his texts to Pia for him in English to put love into words and win her over.

When they found their perfect farm with vineyards in Stellenbosch’s Devon Valley, in the prime red wine area of Bottelary Hills, they set about creating a place that reflected their passions and fused their different cultural backgrounds, a union of German precision and African warmth.

A fusion of contemporary style and friendly hospitality

It’s this fusion of contemporary style and friendly hospitality, a love of sharing in the good things in life, where every staff member exudes the same passion, warm welcome and attention to detail as the estate’s hands-on owners, that makes Kunjani a destination that regularly turns visitors into fans who want to linger longer, and who keep coming back.

“There are no rules at Kunjani, except three: You must come hungry. You must come thirsty. You must come with a fantastic sense of humour!” says Pia with her trademark infectious laugh.

Kunjani has become legendary as a place where breakfast turns into lunch, and quick lunches turn into long afternoons of flowing conversation and new friendships, with the bonus of a private villa to escape to for an evening or a weekend in the countryside.

A distinctive departure from the traditional Cape Dutch architecture

Tucked away at the end of a country road near the Devonvale golf estate, the unmissable charcoal and bright red façade of the Kunjani restaurant and tasting room contrasts dramatically with the green of the vineyards, a distinctive departure from the traditional Cape Dutch architecture found across the winelands.

Pia’s vision came to life in the innovative Afro-meets-Euro interior with its bold use of colour and pattern, custom and quirky furnishings, contemporary local art and design pieces, and a striking laser-cut steel spiral staircase leading down to the cellar and tasting venue. Red sliding screens were inspired by geometric patterns painted on West African mud huts, the red Zulu Mama chairs combine modern materials with the Zulu craft of basket-weaving, there’s the iconic South African “Songolo Sofa” – the overall impression is stylish, soulful, a landmark of contemporary African design.

Here Chef Lamek Mnisi and his team serve up a menu that similarly takes diners on a cross-cultural journey of African and European influences, presented with mouth-watering visual appeal, with the emphasis on local, seasonal, and sustainable ingredients. Think hearty farm breakfasts, gourmet wood-fired pizzas, platters of local artisan cheeses and German charcuterie, and South African-inspired Karoo lamb with chakalaka or Cape Malay-style seafood curry.

This is modern cuisine in a relaxed setting that has put Kunjani at #1 out of more than 200 Stellenbosch restaurants on TripAdvisor and earned the restaurant a place in the EatOut Top500. Or, as one reviewer described it: “Fine dining becomes fun dining.”

Awarding winning Shiraz and more

Their wines echo Paul and Pia’s style and philosophy, and the ethos behind Kunjani – laid-back and easy-drinking, with style and depth, made for good food and conversation, quality, and value.

The award-winning Shiraz, along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, come from Kunjani’s own vineyards, while Chenin Blanc is made from 38-year-old bush vines on a nearby farm, and Sauvignon Blanc and Stolen Chicken Rosé are sourced from the prime cool-climate Elgin valley.

Relaxed and informative wine tastings are presented in the warm and stylish underground wine cellar, which can also be booked for private wine tastings, small events and business meetings.

The restaurant hosts larger gatherings with a flexible selection of seating and menu options to cater for the individual requirements of corporate events and special occasions. The benefit of accommodation for up to 12 guests in the four villas makes Kunjani ideal for staying over after events, as well as for group bookings for families and business teams – and just as suitable for romantic couple getaways or a self-indulgent solo stay.

Villas offer eclectic, contemporary style

In private vineyard settings, the luxury villas named after Kunjani’s wines offer spacious interiors furnished in the winery’s eclectic, contemporary style – colourful and modern, winelands charm meets sophisticated design with original furnishings and local artwork.

The villa kitchens are fully-equipped with modern appliances, including washers and dryers for those planning a longer stay. Private shaded outdoor areas are made for al fresco cooking and dining with a view, and all have access to the swimming pool. They are wheelchair accessible and equipped with Wi-Fi and smart TVs, wall panel heating, luxury bath products and thoughtful, personal touches like homemade rusks to create a welcoming getaway in supreme comfort.

Kunjani awaits, with a warm welcome to the good life.[/vc_column_text][mkdf_image_gallery type=”grid” enable_image_shadow=”no” number_of_columns=”two” space_between_items=”small” images=”2484,2485″ image_size=”large”][vc_column_text]How to get there

Kunjani, Farm 90, 20 Blumberg Drive, Devonvale, Stellenbosch

Coordinates 33.8948 S, 18.8060 E

Kunjani is about 40 minutes’ drive from the centre of Cape Town. From the N1 between Cape Town and Paarl, take the R304 offramp to Stellenbosch. Turn right onto the M23 (Bottelary Rd). Take the first exit at the traffic circle onto Blumberg Drive.

Opening hours

Wine tasting – Monday to Sunday, 10:00-16:00

Restaurant – 08:30-16:00

Open on public holidays

Contact info

For more information and bookings for meals, private functions and accommodation:

Tel + 27 87 6300 409


Kunjani is offering a 30% discount on accommodation for stays up to 31 October 2021. Book directly with Pia on to obtain the discount.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

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