As Cape Town locals we love nothing more than to escape the city at the weekend and head to the Cape Winelands for some much needed rest and relaxation in spectacular surroundings.
Even if you are limited for time during your stay in the Cape, a day trip to the beautiful Winelands is essential.The winelands are situated about 50 kilometres (30 miles) east of Cape Town. Ideally you should spend two to three days exploring this region and sampling the world-famous wines. The Cape Winelands also offer some of South Africa’s finest restaurants. We Rhino Africans have spent many a day wandering the winelands and sampling its fruits so make sure you take advantage of our local knowledge when you speak to one our consultants.
Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl form the main areas of the Cape Winelands. The Western Cape is the largest wine producing region in South Africa and produces about 1,000,000,000 litres of wine annually. With the increasing popularity of South African wines worldwide, it’s not surprising that the South African wine industry plays an increasingly significant role in the national economy.
The winelands weather is very similar to that of Cape Town but the temperatures do tend to rise about 5 degrees higher than the city in summer. This is mainly due to the fact that there tends to be far less wind to temper the harsh African summer sun.
The Cape Winelands are situated fairly close to the coast and are found mainly within large valleys surrounded by impressive rocky mountain ranges. The start of the Cape Fold Mountains in Stellenbosch has created soil that is extremely favourable to vines. The fertile soil of the Cape Floral Kingdom (the smallest yet richest of the world’s plant kingdoms) also contributes to the area's wine-growing successes.
Suffice to say that wine-making and of course wine-tasting are very much a part of the Western Cape culture and experience. A visit to the Cape would simply not be complete without experiencing the tranquil beauty of the wineland areas.
The Cape Wine Routes section of our website concentrates on Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Constantia. These are the primary Cape Wine Routes and usually the first places that people visit.
The Path Less Travelled
In recent years, as the demand for South African wines increases, the outlying regions have become increasingly popular. For those with the time to explore, they are well worth a visit. Part of the charm of visiting the Cape Wine Routes is taking the opportunity to explore off the beaten track - stop at farm stalls, lesser known wine estates as well as cheese and olives farms. There are few better ways to spend a lazy summer afternoon!
Ceres is named after the Roman goddess of fertility, Ceres is a lush valley full of fruit orchards. After a delightful morning of cherry picking or fruit tasting you can enjoy local fresh produce, a wide range of outdoor activities or browse the interesting arts and crafts. Be sure to drive the Bainskloof Pass to Paarl - this spectacular mountain pass is one of the most impressive in the country and was built over a 100 years ago.
The coolest wine growing area along South Africa's south coast. Situated some 70 kilometers east of Cape Town, this bountiful valley is developing a reputation for outstanding wines, characterised by their mineral undertones and complimented by good natural acidity, displaying an elegance that has its origins in our uniquely cool terroir. Acclaimed vineyards include Iona, Newton Johnson, Shannon Vineyards, Beaumont and Paul Cluver.
McGregor is a lovely 19th Century village characterized by Cape Victorian cottages, thatched roofs and stone irrigation channels. The town's beautiful scenery, abundant bird life and fascinating heritage make it an interesting place to visit.
Montagu is favoured for its excellent wines, fruit and muscadel grapes. The area has natural hot springs and its unique Long Street contains numerous historical towns. The spectacular mountains offer a variety of attractions and activities, the most famous being the Montagu Tractor Ride which takes you to the scenic top of the mountain!
This quaint small town still retains an old world charm. With its natural beauty, picturesque jacaranda lined streets and warm welcoming people, Robertson is a place where one can relax and unwind. Situated on the Breede River, Robertson lies on the shadow of the majestic Langeberg Mountain and is well known for its award winning wines, roses, thoroughbred horses and it is also the gateway to Route 62.
Oftentimes Somerset West gets forgotten when it comes to the winelands, however being home to some great hotels, famous wine estates and spectacular scenery it’s a great pity. The area is also a lot more affordable than other wine land destinations and for guests looking for value for money, then Somerset West is a great choice. Somerset West has it all, mountains, vineyards, miles of beaches and also within striking distance of Cape Town and the rest of the Winelands. Acclaimed vineyards include Vergelegen, Ken Forrester and Yonder Hill.
Tulbagh is a charming town nestled in picturesque mountains. After a devastating 1969 earthquake, the town’s buildings have been skillfully restored to their former architectural glory. Today, Tulbagh has become a favourite destination for those seeking excellent wines and chocolate tasting at Monikki Chocolatier.
Besides its stunning scenery, exciting outdoor activities and fascinating cultural heritage, Wellington has a fun filled calendar throughout the year. Bontebok Ridge Nature Reserve offers game drives in the unique Renosterveld Conservancy which is home to the unique Cape Bontebok, Eland, Wild Pig. Stay at Bartholomeus Klip Farmhouse to experience Wellington at its finest. Watch out too for the annual Pinotage on Tap at Diemersfontein!
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