You’ve probably heard by now that South Africa is one of those must-do’s on everybody’s to-do list, when it comes to amazing destinations. We love it for the weather, the people, the stunning nature, the food… the list really is endless. While all corners of the country have spectacular places to visit, it is no coincidence that most visitors flock to Cape Town, one of the country’s three capitols (Pretoria and Bloemfontein being the other two). Especially during the summer months of December to March the city is among the favorite winter escapes for Europeans, who are looking to swap snow and ice for sun, fun and an incredible array of unique experiences. Whether you like to swim with sharks, hike up a mountain or paraglide over the city there are few things you cannot do here. We came here with South African Airways, our airline of choice whenever we visit Africa’s most Southern tip.
Cape Town is one of the few cities in the world that is great to spend an entire holiday. Not just because you can spend your time exploring various beaches, dining at incredible restaurants, exploring adorable markets or the city’s charming yet eclectic nightlife. One of the big perks of Cape Town is its proximity to a whole different world in itself: the winelands.
1. Go by car.
While the train will actually take you straight there from Cape Town central station, it really is worth renting a car, just so you can be flexible and really profit from all there is to see. I used AutoEurope and was pretty happy with their service. Since the summer months really do fill up quickly with tourists, it’s worth booking your ride well ahead of time, particularly if you would like to be driving an automatic car.
2. Get a room at a charming countryside hotel or guest house.
In Stellenbosch we loved the Devon Valley Hotel, it simply had everything to make our stay memorable. Think stunning views, great beds, awesome food and even some great wine from their own vineyard!
There is a small pool guests appreciate for its secluded setting and calming atmosphere and a great bar, if you want to kick back with a nice cocktail or sink into one of the comfortable armchairs with a nice glass of red.
3. Visit a major wine farm.
This one is a no brainer of course. The tough part is to chose which farm you want to pay a visit. Well, let me put you out of your misery by recommending a couple that are definitely worth your while.
A classic for good reason is Spier which I enjoy for the lovely setting, the big lake, the swing, the food, the market and the lovely deal for wine-tastings. Spier is one of the top farms, hosts special events for various occasions and provides guests with accommodation and some very good restaurants. In addition, Spier wine really was one of my favorites during my time in Cape Town.
Another farm which I have absolutely adored is a little bit outside Stellenbosch, a place called Babylonstoren. There is so much to see here that you’re better off planning a whole day or at least a few hours here. I’m not sure how big it is, but we walked for hours and still could reach no end or fence. The gardens are reminiscent of those surrounding European palaces and there is never a shortage of surprises lurking at each and every corner. A charming fountain with some gold fish in it, an “insect hotel”, a meadow full of lavender and an invitation to walk it barefoot. I’d say it was the most enchanting spot I came across in 3 months spent in South Africa.
4. Have a braai.
I did know that braais (the South African term for barbecues) were a thing in South Africa and I kind of felt bad that I spent over 2 months there without having a single one! Luckily that was about to change in Stellenbosch, since we had a table reservation at Middelvlei Wine Farm, a great place for enjoying a braai (that’s all they have on the menu!) while checking out some pigs, chickens and ducks on their little farm. Needless to say this spot was a real winner for my son but not just families will enjoy coming here.
5. Find your ultimate place to kick back.
If you come here to do one thing only, it should be to relax. It’s as if the winelands were created for the sole purpose of providing beauty and pleasure, you just have to pick the best one for you. That this is mission impossible is only really due to the fact that almost every place you get to qualifies as the best spot. Luxury problems, indeed. Let me propose just one more contender.
It was raining when we arrived at Joostenburg at 10am on a Sunday Morning. Not a soul in sight, except for the owner who, with a wide smile, came to welcome us. “This is the back door!”, she explained, guiding us to the main building into the deli. It was packed. And why wouldn’t it be, with freshly baked breads and cakes filling the air, locally produced bottles of wine and beer as well as the obligatory selection of cured meats and cheeses. The owner is French, must I say more?
Joostenberg probably takes the cake when it comes to finding that perfect picknick spot. The grass here is flawless, there is a duck pond, a couple of swings and just enough trees to provide lovely shadowy spots while still keeping an open plan feel. The Taproom, a local cafe/bar run by the Stellenbosch Brewing Company offers not only delectable picnics, they also brew their own beer here so stick around for a tasting or two.
Want to know more about Stellenbosch and the winelands? Check out www.stellenbosch.travel for lots more info and inspiration on where to stay, eat and play. Need a place to stay? Check out AccommoDirect to find the best places and plan your accommodation in Stellenbosch.Tweet