And you'll love the Cape Winelands too, if you
- enjoy being out in the open, surrounded by beautiful scenery
- have a family that will enjoy doing things together.
There is so much more to the Winelands than wine! Most visitors (our family included!) are not wine connoisseurs, so don't feel left out if you don't know a Chardonnay from a Chenin Blanc. . .
Where exactly IS the Cape Winelands ?
The original vineyards of the Cape were planted at Groot Constantia. Constantia wines were famous even in Jane Austen's time! The vineyards at Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek were not far behind as these were also established in the Cape Colony era.
These days the vineyards stretch far and wide. (Wellington, Robertson, Montagu and on up the Route 62 as far as Calitzdorp in fact. )
It's up to you to decide how far you want to go! But unless you're looking for exhaustive (exhausting?!) regional wine tastings, there's more than enough to enjoy within an hour's drive of Cape Town.
Which wine route?
The Stellenbosch wine route alone is made up of 5 sub-routes and 130 wine farms. And the Paarl and Franschhoek wine routes are nearby too - think you can visit them all? Nope? So how do you choose?
This is what we do.
Generally our trips encompass some Paarl and some Stellenbosch wine farms, partly because it allows for an easy circular drive: out on the N1, across on the R44 and back via the N2. We meander along map in hand (opens in new window), pick out farms we want to visit, picnic or lunch somewhere, then meander some more before finally heading for home.
The key is to soak up the ambience along with the wine. You may have to designate one adult as driver to be sure all that vino doesn't stop you getting safely home :-).
We love the Franschhoek valley for its beauty as well as its wine, so we'd certainly recommend you do an exceptionally scenic drive through it and of course stop anywhere that takes your fancy!
What else is there?
Aside from the fruits of the vine, the Cape winelands can provide a fair few days of entertainment. What's worth doing? Let's see -
visit Stellenbosch itself with its quaint and picturesque town centre
great hikes in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve (but don't bank on the picnic site there!)
- strawberry picking in summer
- a crocodile farm
- a butterfly farm
- trout fishing
- hot air ballooning (if you have the budget!)
And that's not all:
Stellenbosch Tourism is about to launch their ‘children's route'! This is so hot off the press that when I asked at their offices on the weekend they told me it was Classified Info - Top Secret - I would have to wait for the “Official Launch"!
Gerald Crawford was born in South Africa, studied electronics, telecommunication, eco-travel and african travel concepts. He taught responsible tourism in South Africa. If you have any questions or comments please e-mail me on. E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org Website Address: http://www.12234455.co.za