Cape Town WINELANDS & TOURS

No trip to Cape Town is complete without visiting the Winelands with gourmet restaurants and stunning vineyards.

stellenbosch

Stellenbosch and the surrounding areas are rich in history and culture, beautiful architecture and stunning vistas.

mont-rochelle

Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards offers plush accommodations and excellent food

Waking up after a weekend of warrioring through Cape Town’s laid back yet hectic nightlife can be rough. The Winelands wine country makes for an enjoyable day trip, but if you have time, try to spend a night or two out this way. Less than an hour’s drive away (a mere 85km, about 52miles, from downtown) the sleepy town of Franschhoek makes an ideal base to explore the sprawling valleys and vineyards of the winelands. Escaping religious persecution, French Huguenots arrived in 1688 and settled in what was then known as Olifantshoek (“Elephants Corner”), due to the herds of elephants that used the lush valley as a birthing ground (baboons still populate the hills today), and brought the secrets and skill of winemaking with them.

Head to Franschhoek, known as the gourmet capital of South Africa.

Today, the Huguenot Memorial at the end of the antique shop-filled main road commemorates their arrival and 46 cellars laud their skill. Other surrounding valleys such as Paarl and Stellenbosch, famous for its Afrikaans language university and historic Cape Dutch architecture as much as its vintages, offer hundreds more options for the wine enthusiast. The souvenir enthusiast will go ga-ga at the 200-year-old Oom Samie Se Winkel (“Uncle Sam’s Shop”) in Stellenbosch, where you can buy everything from spices to clothes to warthog heads and other sundry bric-a-brac throughout its crammed dusty rooms.

The Glenn Hotel Cape Town
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Le Quartier Français, home to South Africa’s best-known chef, Margot Janse, who wows diners in The Tasting Room.

stellenbosch-vineyards

Experience the three elements that make this part of the world so special: prolific vineyards, turquoise seas, and emerald mountains

As is often the case in wine regions, the Winelands has plenty of urbane restaurants and gourmet food and cheese shops. Franschhoek, Known as the gourmet capital of South Africa, because of its great restaurants and excellent wines. Great places to stay right in the hustle and bustle of this lovely winelands village or alternatively off the beaten track.

Of particular note is Le Quartier Francais, a foodie mecca for its restaurant, which has made more than a few “best in the world” lists; this Relais & Chateaux country inn also boasts stunning rooms with giant soaking tubs and plenty of cushy amenities. Also in Franschhoek, Mont Rochelle Hotel & Mountain Vineyards offers plush accommodations and excellent food, and nearby Cabriere ranks among the town’s top wineries. If you’re on a bit of a budget, try Franschhoek’s gay-owned Maison Chablis, a warmly furnished seven-room country house with a pool and serene, landscaped grounds.

DOuweWerf-1802

Consider staying at the charming D’Ouwe Werf 1802, South Africa’s oldest inn

Franschhoek

Franschhoek and Stellenbosch have some great restaurants that are perfect for trying our new wines.

Outside of individual bottles we still can’t get the crisp Pierre Jourdan MCC and bold and peppery though truffle-undertoned Reserve Syrah from Seidelberg out of our heads; vineyard highlights include the homegrown archeological and social history Museum van de Caab (“of the Cape”) at the Solms-Delta estate.

Really, who wants to drive with so many options to uncork?.

Tales of Khoisan tribesman, slave workers and contemporary oral histories engage with artifacts to create a holistic history of the region. Meanwhile 50-percent of the estate’s profits benefit a local trust that aims alleviate the persistent historical inequities and semi-feudal society of the vineyards through cultural and fiscal empowerment. Their sweet-then-dry Solms Koloni, a Riesling and Muscat blend that’s desiccated on the vine and matured in oak, is a feat of forward-thinking ingenuity, too!

Recommended Hotels in CAPE TOWN

De Waterkant Village
Apartments with great location!

Located in Cape Town’s gay district, de Waterkant, these apartments offer everything you could need! Perfect location.

The Westin Cape Town
Perfect location – Great Spa

Close to the gay district of DeWaterkant, the Westin has a stunning Spa with amazing views of the city.

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