The Cape Winelands
It’s easy to forget you’re that you’re still in South Africa while standing with your feet on the plush green valleys of the Cape Winelands. The historical backdrop of gabled Cape Dutch villas and leafy vineyards creates a setting like something from a fantasy flick. Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek and Pniel are home to the finest and most distinguished wines of the world, it’s hard to believe it’s only a 45 minute drive away from Cape Town.
The Cape Winelands currently ranks as the most prominent wine-producing location in the South Africa. It boasts a collection of more than 200 cellars each bursting with century old bottles of classics. It’s no wonder many tourists refer to the winelands as South Africa’s best kept secret.
The Famous Four
Enclosed by a mountain valley and dazzling scenery, Stellenbosch boasts a picturesque view of the Cape Winelands. It is the second oldest town in the country and many of the original historical buildings and monuments can still be found present in the town today. The Toy and Miniature Museum has become a landmark in the vibrant town and is the only museum of its kind in South Africa. On your list of wine estates to visit be sure to add Spier right at the very top, it’s a popular one and certainly a must see!
The famous Afrikaans Language Monument is situated in Paarl along the 2km stretch of the Main Road. A mere 56km stretch from Cape Town is Paarl, a town rich in both architectural beauty and natural scenery. Paarl (meaning "Pearl" in Dutch), landed its name after a huge granite boulder rock, known as The Paarl Mountain, which overlooks the town.
Everything creative, artistic and culinary is to be found in Franschhoek. It’s the town to stop at when you hungry for some rich cuisine and gourmet cheese. While driving into Franschhoek you will also see the spectacular Simonsberg and Wemmershoek Mountains. And yes, it’s in Franschhoek that our famous, delicious Simonsberg creamy cheese spread originates.
Wellington is synonymous with the scenic Bain’s Kloof Pass. The Pass links Wellington to Ceres and the long, twisty road provides you with a breath-taking view of the huge, open valleys.
Recreation at the Cape Winelands
Summers are always the most blissful times at the winelands. Fruit picking tours are open to the public and visitors are encouraged to pick their own strawberries, grapes, cherries or peaches fresh from the vineyards. And there are absolutely no limitations, as long as you pay for what you pick. After the tour your pickings are weighed and you can pay for it per kg. What better time to experience the rural lifestyle than in summer when all the fruit are fresh, ripe and juicy.
Take a captivating trip into the distant past as you peep into the lifestyles of those who walked the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch before you. If you’re a history buff you might want to make a stop at the Huguenot Memorial Monument and Afrikaans Language Monument, they’re filled with fascinating facts and sculptures of the winelands’ colourful history. You’ll learn some intriguing details like who founded the winelands, the first wine cellar and how the names for the villages were chosen.
But tours to the vibrant little villages are not all there is to do in the countryside. The winelands are surrounded by oodles of outdoor museums, open-air theatres and imaginative arts and crafts galleries that are guaranteed to fascinate and enthral.
Adventure is also not far away. Hiking, mountain biking, surfing, canoeing, abseiling and kloofing are just a few of the stunts the locals get up to in their leisure time. Go game viewing at one of the many game reserves at the winelands or make a splash in a tranquil rock pool, or if you really want to get the feel of the countryside in your bloodstream then hop right onto a horse-back safari tour for your own old-fashioned exploration adventure.
Wining and Dining
How does sweet strawberry wine and creamy camembert spread nice and thick on a light, crisp cracker sound? The chefs in this beautiful place certainly know what they’re doing when it comes to cooking. Some of the best restaurants in the country are located in the Cape Winelands and three of the country’s top ten restaurants are based in Franschoek. You will be tempted to indulge when you’ve first treated your taste-buds to first-rate South African cuisine. Menus range from exotic buffets to conventional meals and home-made cheeses. Everything’s a dish!
The Cape Winelands has become one of the best places to visit for tourists. It’s the superb natural splendour, the rich cultural heritage and the world famous distinguished wines that guarantee that the Cape Winelands are full of all the best that South Africa has to offer.
About the Author:
Villa Grande offers warm-hearted guest house accommodation in Stellenbosch and is situated in the historic centre of the town in the beautiful Cape winelands.
Contact Niel today to find out more about visiting Stellenbosch .