Ludus Magnus


Julie Glück

Nestled in the majestic Franschhoek wine valley with sweeping mountain views, find Ludus Magnus, a gem offering boutique luxury accommodation.

An off-the-grid property with a deeply rooted passion for sustainability.

It’s soon apparent upon entering the sliding gate, that Ludus Magnus is not your typical winelands getaway.

Ludus Magnus offers a combination of 8 boutique style Manor House rooms in the main residence and an additional 3 bespoke villas. The sublime accommodation, exquisite views and unique facilities are all but enough to keep guests entertained for a staycation.

But the property is equally ideally located close to the neighbouring wine farms and of course the historic and arty town of Franschhoek which also offers world class gourmet dining options.

The property is owned by a French/Italian husband and wife team that boldly moved their life and family to South Africa from Luxembourg a few years back.

It’s their incredibly creative vision that has transformed land from abandoned vineyards into the fascinating estate it is today. Built and landscaped 100% from scratch.

It’s possible to be swept up with the one-of-a-kind mini island by the dam with its castaway vibes or perhaps the private river deck and beach spot. And then there’s also the hideaway boma too.

These little areas afford guests all sorts of opportunities for picnics, braais, chilling around firepits or classy small event meals.

Then there’s a completely different line up of facilities inspired by the French owner’s triathlete background. Think Olympic length training pool submersed in the freshwater dam. A 400m running track alongside a full-size rugby/soccer field. Most recently a pump track was added.

In the 2 years the property has been open, it’s attracted a host of local and international sports stars. The idea is to provide an intimate all-encompassing training retreat with no need to travel or be surrounded by loads of other people.

Once you have the insight on the sporty side of things, you’ll understand the reason behind the name “Ludus Magnus”. It was one of Rome’s greatest and most prestigious gladiator training arenas.

The Roman theme is further evident with the individually named (and decorated) Manor House rooms. Each is named after an ancient Roman road. Whilst the 3 meticulously fitted three-bedroomed villas are named after the owner’s children, Charlotte, Stanislas and Vittoria.

Additional activities include river kayaking or tubing in summer, horse riding, portable gym, spa, unusual treehouse and zipline and of course a huge pool.

Beyond the truly amazing guest offerings available, lies a wholehearted commitment to treading lightly and enabling luxury and sustainability to harmoniously exist together.

This is evident with 266 solar panels and a borehole delivering potable water. Efficient drip irrigation is used to water the 1000’s of plants and trees planted by the owners.

Endless varieties of fruit trees provide renewable food sources which are used by our chef. This year saw the first harvest of olives and Shiraz grapes. Beehives dotted around the property ensure pollination and delicious home-harvested honey.

When wandering the gorgeous estate be sure to keep an eye out for beautiful rescue animals. Apart from the owners’ own pack of doggies (many of whom were part of the move from Europe), you’ll find donkeys, horses, chickens, tortoises and springboks.

Ludus Magnus is indeed an exciting and extraordinary discovery to be made in the Cape Winelands.

Contact them on: