South Africa is world renowned for its wine and for good reason. However, the Western Cape’s Wineland region is not just about the vineyards. The area is a rich tapestry of culinary delights, beautiful scenery and family fun. Less than an hour from Cape Town, the Winelands are easy to access and the perfect accompaniment to a Cape Town city break. There is plenty to do and we recommend taking several days to explore the region thoroughly and soak in its relaxing atmosphere if you can. There is no need to rush a good wine.
Beat About the Bush Tourism Services can organise a visit to the Winelands as part of your tailor made safari. Alternatively, we offer a food and wine safari that incorporates both the Winelands region and big game areas in South Africa and Zimbabwe, thus ensuring that guests can indulge in the best cuisine and the best wildlife sightings Southern Africa has to offer.
Here are our top 10 places to visit in the Winelands region:
1. Franschhoek Motor Museum, Franschhoek
The Franschhoek Motor Museum offers visitors a special opportunity to look back at more than 100 years of motoring history with its unique and exciting collections of vehicles, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia in the magnificent setting of L’Ormarins.
2. Delaire Graff Winery, Stellenbosch
The Delaire Graff Estate, nestled between majestic mountains and overlooking the vineyards of Stellenbosch, has outstanding restaurants, a state-of-the-art winery, exclusive lodges, exuberant landscaping, a destination spa and luxury boutiques. It is well worth a visit to the estate for its art displays, flower gardens, wine tasting and stunning views.
3. Muratie Winery, Stellenbosch
Tucked into the exquisite Knorhoek Valley north of Stellenbosch, Muratie Wine Estate protects a century’s old wine experience that is a magnet for wine lovers around the world. The farm itself dates back to 1685 when it was granted by Governor Simon van der Stel who was Governor of the Cape of Good Hope at the time. This makes Muratie one of the oldest estates in South Africa and along with that age comes many characters and truly fascinating stories. This winery’s history and old-world feel are kept alive at Muratie Wine Estate and shared with visitors.
4. Fairview Farm and Winery, Paarl
Fairview is a working farm, housing a collection of micro-businesses all sharing in a common goal – to create artisanal and sustainable produce, with a focus on fine wine and cheese. It is a great place for family fun. With a wonderful restaurant, a shop and deli, cheese tasting, beautiful gardens and a goat tower, there is something for everyone.
5. The Spice Route, Paarl
The Spice Route brings together artisans in a family friendly restaurant and shopping environment. From chocolate making, beer brewing and glass blowing to a selection of tastes from all corners of South Africa, the Spice Route is the perfect pace to learn about new crafts, sample foods or buy gifts. With a play area, picnic spot and demonstrations, it is also wonderful for children.
6. Babylonstoren, Paarl
Dating back to 1692, Babylonstoren is a historic Cape Dutch farm that boasts one of the best preserved farmyards in the Cape. Beloved for its magnificent garden that is laid out over 3,5 hectares (8 acres), the garden is divided into 15 sections that comprise fruit, vegetables, berries, bees for pollinating, indigenous plants, fragrant lawns, a prickly pear maze, ducks and chickens, and more. A secluded path runs along the stream where thousands of clivias flower in spring. The garden also boasts a plethora of trees of historical and botanical import. Every aspect of Babylonstoren – including the contemporary Farm Hotel & Spa, the Farm Shop and Bakery – are led by the ever-changing tapestry and botanical diversity of the garden.
7. Waterford Winery, Stellenbosch
Waterford Estate is situated in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley. Only half of the total 120 ha of land is used for planting of vines, in order to preserve and maintain the natural fauna and flora on the Estate. The winery offers a relaxing setting where guests can sit and enjoy various tasting options including the Wine Drive Safari and Porcupine Trail walk. The Wine and Chocolate Tasting is a unique flavor experience. Chocolatiers have created a series of dark and milk chocolates that, when paired with the winery’s Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon and Natural Sweet wine, results in a flavor sensation unlike any other.
8. Van Ryn’s Brandy Distillery, Stellenbosch
The Van Ryn’s Distillery, housed in a beautifully preserved historic complex on the banks of the Eerste River, is the only brandy distillery in Stellenbosch. It is also home to some of the world’s best brandy. Here visitors can learn about the origins of Van Ryn’s dating back to 1845. See the burnished copper potstills and watch skilled craftsmen at work at the on-site cooperage. Find out how we potstill our brandies, mature and blend them. Sample international award-winners and pair them with a carefully selected range of artisanal delicacies, from confection and estate coffee to cheeses and charcuterie. Taste three award-winning brandies paired with hand-made Belgian chocolate and Brazilian coffee for a luxurious indulgence.
9. La Motte Winery, Franschhoek
Situated in the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, La Motte is home to the finest wines, recognised internationally for exceptional quality. With its picturesque setting, traditional cuisine and historic charm, La Motte is an enchanting choice for those who appreciate the finer things in life. The estate boasts an art museum, a sculpture walk, a hiking trail, a farm shop, wine tasting and an exceptional restaurant. It is also a venue for classical music concerts.
10. Backsberg Estate Cellars, Paarl
Steeped in family history, the Backsberg Estate’s philosophy is to provide pleasure and enjoyment to a broad range of wine lovers by producing wines not only with structure and finesse, but also with a high level of “drinkability”. The estate embodies this welcoming ethos with stunning views of the Simonsberg Mountains, a tasting room, and a restaurant situated under the trees in the estate’s beautiful gardens. Children can enjoy the gardens while parents relax.
Cape Town is affectionately called the ‘Mother City’ and we love our Mama! In 1580 on seeing the Cape for the first time, Sir Francis Drake wrote in his journal: “This cape is the most stately thing and the fairest cape we saw in the whole circumference of the earth.” We couldn't agree more.
There is so much to do and see in Cape Town that you could easily stay for an extended period. To give the city and its surrounding area justice, we recommend planning at least three nights here. Beat About the Bush organises superb accommodation and provides tailor made professional tours of Cape Town for our guests.
Here are our top ten things to see and do in and around the Mother City.
1. Take the revolving cable car to the top of Table Mountain.
The five-minute cable car ride carries you to the summit of Table Mountain, 1089 m above Cape Town, gently rotating 360 degrees for spectacular views along the way. At the top there are places to sit and soak in the incredible scenery as well as hiking trails to explore.
2. See the penguins at Boulder’s Beach.
Get up close with an African penguin colony at Boulder’s Beach near Simon’s Town. The penguins can be viewed throughout the year, however January is a great time to visit when the juvenile birds are moulting on the beach.
3. Take a walk or have a picnic in Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden.
Part of a larger nature reserve and melding in with the natural environment, Kirstenbosch has a huge variety of flora to explore both outside and in greenhouses. There are over 7000 species in cultivation at Kirstenbosch, including many rare and threatened species.
4. Drive to the tip of the Cape Peninsula at Cape Point.
Cape Point is well worth a visit. This world heritage site and nature reserve within the Table Mountain National Park is at the tip of the Cape Peninsula 60 km southwest of Cape Town. A drive to Cape Point not only offers stunning views but also an abundance of flora and fauna. Cape Point teems with buck, baboons and Cape mountain zebra as well as over 250 species of bird.
5. Visit the Company’s Gardens.
The Company’s Gardens is the oldest garden in South Africa. It has its origins in Jan van Riebeeck’s vegetable garden, which he grew to feed the original colony. This large public park and botanical garden is right in the heart of Cape Town and it has a rose garden, Japanese garden, pond, aviary, and a permanent craft market. There is often local live music being preformed.
6. Sample the exquisite wines of the Cape Winelands.
About 40 kms east of Cape Town, the Cape Winelands are a collection of historic towns, little hamlets and Cape Dutch farmsteads that provide well-regarded South African wines to the world. With stunning scenery and culinary delights, a visit to the Winelands is a must.
7. Soak up the culture of Bo-Kaap.
Bo-Kaap is one of the most photographed areas within Cape Town due to its brightly painted architecture and cobbled streets. The area is one of the oldest residential areas in Cape Town and it has a rich multi-cultural history with roots in Malaysian, African, Indian and Sri Lankan cultures. You can delve further into Bo-Kaap’s vibrant history by taking part in walking tours, mosque visits and museum visits.
8. Get up close to the great white sharks of False Bay.
Cape Town is famous for its great white shark population. Get out on the water on a shark breaching trip. Shark breaching is one of the hunting techniques that great whites use to surprise and kill its prey. The shark propels right out of the water from the incredible force and energy exerted.
9. Go museuming!
Cape Town is filled with fantastic museums. We recommend the District Six Museum to learn about the history of forced removals in District Six and the Gold of Africa Museum to learn about South Africa’s history of gold mining and smithing. In September 2017, the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) will open its doors (pictured above). Zeitz MOCAA will house Africa’s largest collection of contemporary African art.
10. Watch the noon day cannon fire.
Since 1806, a shot has been fired from a cannon on Signal Hill at noon as a time indicator. The tradition is still alive today and the shot is loaded by the South African Navy and heard by residents daily. The noon day gun is Cape Town’s oldest lasting tradition and visitors and invited to watch the process of shooting the gun while they gaze out at beautiful views of the city.