Cape Winelands Holiday
Beautiful Vineyards and Award-Winning Restaurants
On departing Cape Town and heading just 40 minutes into the Cape Winelands, you’ll be forgiven for thinking that you’ve arrived in the scenic Bordeaux region of France. Vineyards stretch in all directions, the leaves either a crisp green or red tinged with yellow (depending on the season); and purple-tinged mountains frame the valleys.
But the Cape Winelands are distinctly South African. Century-old Cape Dutch manor houses form part of many the estates, each bringing with them a heritage stretching back to the early 1600s when settlers first arrived in the Cape, plus unique experiences (wine-tasting cycling expeditions and leisurely tram tours anyone?) add to the ambience.
The Winelands are pegged by three main towns… Stellenbosch, famously a university-town and filled with pretty oak-lined avenues. Paarl, situated under the Paarl Rock mountain and well known for its robust, hearty red wines. And Franschhoek, the upmarket Huguenot village dotted with gorgeous vineyards, food and wine-tasting opportunities and a town square.
The Cape Winelands are filled to the brim with internationally award-winning estates and wines. They are also well known for their excellent restaurants, spas, markets and gardens. Come and visit! If you’re based exclusively in Cape Town, be sure to visit the Constantia Winelands for delectable wine tasting and fine dining.
Best Time to Visit the Cape Winelands:
The Cape Winelands are worth a visit all year round. While the look of the vines may differ (green leaves in the height of summer, and red and yellow-tinged ones at the turn of the season), the wine-tasting, cuisine and spa treatments remain incredible. December through February is particularly hot though and can reach temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius.
Discover the vineyards of Franschhoek by tram with eight hop-on hop-off lines to choose from.
Take a garden tour, enjoy a wine tasting, or stay over in a renovated farm building at Babylonstoren.
Explore Spier’s fascinating history, immerse yourself in nature and encounter extraordinary artwork.
Top Destinations in Cape Winelands Holiday
Make the home-base of your Western Cape trip one of the luxury villas, fine boutique hotels, elegant guesthouses or historic homesteads sheltered in the affluent, peaceful suburb of Constantia in Cape Town, South Africa. Constantia’s serene wine-growing district, was formerly a farm belonging to Cape Governor, Simon Van Der Stel, and is one of the oldest and quietest suburbs in the region. As the closest grape-growing area to the center of Cape Town, Constantia is a convenient location from which to experience the vibrant city bowl of Cape Town just 20 minutes away. At the end of a busy day, the return to Constantia’s farm-style cafes, classic Cape Dutch architecture and lush vineyards delights the senses and soothes the soul.
Spend a leisurely day tasting the fine local wines at the legendary wine-farms in the area. Tickle your palate with a burst of Cap Classique bubbles from the Steenberg Vineyards before moving on to the excellent varietals at High Constantia, Groot Constantia and Constantia Glen.
Constantia’s breathtaking pastoral beauty makes it a choice destination for hiking and walking expeditions. There are a variety of quiet trails to explore varying from from a gentle ramble to fairly steep climbs, with stunning views of Hout Bay, the Constantia Valley, Orange Kloof, or the city of Cape Town. View sites all along the Constantia Green Belt beckon you to savor a backpack picnic alongside a mountain stream or catch your breath under a rocky overhang, surrounded by the natural beauty of the mountains.
Constantia is also known for its world-class cuisine and no vacation in the area would be complete without trying the delectable, locally-sourced French-style dining offered by restaurants like La Colombe or authentic Cape Malay-inspired, bistro-style food at Jonkershuis.
Best Time to Visit Constantia:
The best time to visit Constantia for warm weather outdoor activities and clear skies is between the months of December to March, Winters in the Cape are cool, wet, and partly cloudy. Don’t forget your sunscreen and a hat if you are walking in the summer heat and keep a look-out for snakes on the mountain trails.
Located just 45 minutes out of Cape Town, the Cape’s French Corner, Franschhoek, is the unofficial foodie capital of the South African Winelands. The village’s quaint streets are lined with excellent restaurants, sophisticated art galleries, desirable clothing designs, chocolatiers and gleaming antique shops all cloaked in an atmosphere of refined Huguenot heritage.
Franschhoek is famous for its illustrious wine estates where you can learn about wine-making techniques while sampling the local product, but this fertile valley is also an ideal base from which to explore the nearby wine-routes of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington and Somerset West. The Franschhoek Wine Tram offers hop-on, hop-off wine tasting experiences or multi-course meals paired with the finest wines and bubbles. Franschhoek is also part of the Four Passes Fruit Route.
The scenic walking trails winding through the surrounding mountains and the spectacular views from Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve attract nature lovers from near and far who come to commune with nature in one of the world’s most beautiful wine-growing valleys. Even the accommodation is exquisite in Franschhoek; you will find yourself spoilt for choice between authentic wine-farm stays in beautifully restored Cape Dutch cottages, elegant Bed and Breakfast and Guest Lodge options and 5 star luxury hotels and self-catering choices.
Best Time to Visit Franschhoek:
Some say you should visit Franschhoek between April to May and September to October, when the weather is at its most pleasant, but many prefer the warmer months of January and February just after the peak of the Summer season when the holidaymakers have left, but the climate is still heavenly.View
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Top Experiences in Cape Winelands Holiday
Boschendal’s culinary focus is on contemporary farm-to-table dining using the finest local, seasonal and ethically-sourced ingredients. Expect a menu featuring fermented breads, slow-roasted brisket sourced from the farm’s herd of Angus cattle, house-smoked trout and more.
Over 1,000 Runner Ducks at the Vergenoegd farm assist in the control of the snail and pest population in the vineyards. Intrigued guests can take a tour of the duck pens or simply cheer on the happy workforce as they set off for their day in the vineyards.
Discover the vineyards of Franschhoek by tram with eight hop-on hop-off lines to choose from, each visiting eight wine estates and showcasing a separate part of the Franschhoek Valley.
One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in the Winelands, Babylonstoren is a treat for foodies, hobbyist botanists and luxury seekers. Take a garden tour, book a tea ceremony, enjoy a wine tasting, or stay over in a renovated farm building; there are so many ways to experience the farm at Babylonstoren.
Explore Spier’s fascinating history, immerse yourself in nature, encounter extraordinary art pieces and learn about sustainability on a self-guided walk through the farm.