Stops to make in the Cape Winelands
The Cape Winelands are South Africa’s own little piece of paradise. Rolling hills, picturesque views, gorgeous wines and award-winning food mean there’s something for everyone and whether you’re a regular or you’re visiting for the first time, there are some stops which are simply too good to miss.
Picnic at Buitenverwachting
This is an amazing place to take the entire family for a picnic on a summer’s day. Spread yourself out on the lawns under the shade of magnificent oak trees and admire the backdrop of Cape Dutch buildings and sprawling vineyards. The picnic baskets are filled with delicious homemade goodies from spreads and dips to quiches, breads and fresh local produce. Don’t leave it till the last minute though; bookings are essential, as the area can only hold up to fifty people.
The Wine Tram
We hardly need to explain why this is a must-do, but just in case; you get to ride on a vintage-style tram, stopping off at some of Franschhoek’s top wine estates and allowing you to taste to your heart’s content without needing a designated driver. You can choose from one of six hop on/hop off tram lines, and we suggest that you pick one with a lunch stop midway through the route. They’ll even do transfers to and from Cape Town if you’re not based in Franschhoek but still want to have a day tasting the best tipple on offer and don’t want to worry about going over the limit.
Mountain Biking, The Winelands Way
Sometimes it’s best to see the sights at a slower pace than a car can offer you. This is where a guided bike tour comes in. The Adventure Shop in Stellenbosch offers a great guided tour of the town of Stellies itself, before heading down a picturesque winding path into the scenic Jonkershoek valley, where you’ll break up the exercise with a wine tasting as well as a wine and chocolate pairing. If the idea of pedalling for a couple of hours turns you off, you can even do an electric bike tour. And by the way, yes, you can buy wine en route. The guides are way ahead of you and carry saddle bags so that your precious purchases will be safe on the ride home.
Wine Tasting In A Cave
Klein Roosboom lies in the Durbanville wine area, often overlooked by those wanting to have an ‘authentic’ wine experience. Nevermind, that just means there’s less tourists and more space (and wine!) for you! Klein Roosboom is a boutique winery and although their wines are only produced in small amounts, they’re of excellent quality and all are reasonably priced. Do yourself a favour and opt to have a tasting in one of their caves – a cosy little enclave littered with cushions, vintage furniture and unique little trinkets. It’s perfect for a romantic tasting for two, especially on a cold wintery day.
Gourmet Lunch or Dinner
The Cape Winelands are home to some of the country’s finest restaurants, as is evident when checking out any reviewer site; Eat Out, TripAdvisor and Zomato will all attest to the quality of the food you can find when you’re traversing the winelands. You’re really spoiled for choice, but some of our top picks would be Reubens, Foliage, Tuk Tuk, Bistro 13, Indochine and Jordan. Let’s be honest though, there are restaurants and menus to suit all budgets, tastes and occasions so don’t be shy – indulge in some seriously good food!
Explore the Spice Route
The Spice Route in Paarl is your one stop destination for all kinds of crafts and artisanal goodies, from De Villiers chocolate to Wilderer gin and everything in between. It’s easy to wile away an afternoon as you sip on craft beer and fine wine, chomp some A-grade biltong or freshly baked bread and browse through the collection of delightful Venetian-blown glass ornaments or admire the work of local artists. Don’t leave without some homemade jams and preserves or Italian-style cured meats for lunch the next day.