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South Africa Safari

Cape Winelands - Tourist Information & Activities

Cape Town, South Africa

Buitenverwachting Estate and Vineyards, Constantia Grapes growing in the Hex River Valley Simonsberg Mountain, Stellenbosch La Motte Estate Vineyards, Franschhoek
Return to Map of Cape Winelands            Images © South African Tourism
Tours of The Cape: Cape Town & Winelands Tours

The Winelands Region samples the best that the Cape has to offer, with naturally beautiful landscapes, a rich cultural heritage and a magnificent backdrop of majestic mountains - plus, some of the world's best wines!

A 45-minute drive from Cape Town brings you to this beautiful area, where traditional gabled homesteads can be seen amongst lush vineyards that turn golden-red in autumn. The hospitality, beauty and history that surround Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington and Franschhoek will certainly capture your heart.

Walk down the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch, the second-oldest town in South Africa. The history of the country lives on within the old Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian style houses seen in every town. The Huguenot Memorial in Franschhoek and the Afrikaans Language Museum in Paarl, not to mention the diversity of fine museums offer a fascinating glimpse into the colourful past of this area.

The superb wines produced in the Winelands are renowned worldwide. Choose between small, exclusive wine boutiques and larger commercial wine estates. Formal wine tastings are available at many of the wine farms. Let the vintner's fruit delight your taste buds while inhaling the crisp country air of these fairy-tale surroundings, or accompany the winemaker on a tour through his cellar, where his knowledge and passion transform the season's harvest into fabulous wines to delight every wine lover.

A popular way of discovering the joys of South African wines is on a day trip from Cape Town - either self-drive or on an organised excursion by a local travel organiser. Devotees of the grape however can spend several days - weeks if they wish - finding out about the subtle differences between the various types, there are so many estates to visit. In all, there are 13 wine routes to explore - and 2,000 varieties of wine to sample!

The Wine Routes:
   • Stellenbosch Wine Route
   • Paarl Vintners
   • Vignerons de Franschhoek
   • Constantia

Other / Smaller Wine Routes:
   • Worcester / Tulbagh
   • Wellington
   • Somerset West
   • Brandy Route

To complement the choice of wines, the Winelands offer a variety of excellent restaurants and coffee shops, some of the best in the Cape. From tea and scones to formal dinners ranging from traditional fare to exotic cuisines, the opportunities for fine dining seem endless. The area is also well known for a host of other culinary delicacies - cheese, olives, herbs and berries are just a few of these delights.

With its mighty mountains and fruitful valleys, the Winelands are a nature lover's paradise. Enjoy a peaceful hike through one of the many nature reserves, and marvel at the unique fynbos flora characteristic of the Cape. Outdoor enthusiasts can choose between the adrenaline rush of tearing down the hillside on a mountain bike, the tranquillity of a serene river setting while catching trout, the exhilarating view of the famous 'pearls' of Paarl Mountain from a hot-air balloon, or the breathtaking beauty of riding into the sunset on horseback.

Stellenbosch: With its temperate Mediterranean climate, beautiful surroundings, magnificent backdrop of mountain ranges, modern facilities and close proximity to all major places of interest in the Cape Peninsula, Stellenbosch is the ideal get-away African holiday destination.

Stellenbosch is a treasure of beautifully restored buildings - elegant Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian architecture can be seen particularly in historic Dorp Street, which is reminiscent of the rich and colourful past. Wine and the are of winemaking are woven into the history of Stellenbosch. From its humble beginnings with Simon van der Stel and the Huguenots, the valley has evolved to becoming the centre of the Cape's wine industry, and produces some of the finest wines in the country. The famous Stellenbosch Wine Route, established in 1971, allows you to enjoy our fabulous local wines while undertaking entertaining and fun expeditions into the countryside.

Stellenbosch is an amazing place to be. Events and activities take place throughout the year - music, street, wine and art festivals delight both young and old. Outdoors enthusiasts can partake in hiking, mountain climbing, horse riding and cycling, while sports fans can attend international sporting events.

Stellenbosch has a bustling sidewalk café scene in the French tradition, excellent restaurants and coffee shops, modern shopping facilities and a vibrant Nightlife. A peaceful, cheerful town and its friendly people, a never-ending choice of entertainment and activities and a breathtaking valley with majestic mountains embracing it - this is what makes Stellenbosch such a special tourist and conference destination.

Paarl: Paarl is surrounded by a naturally beautiful countryside, dotted with many farms and smallholdings. Few towns are blessed with a landscape this dramatic, where the massive granite mountain contrasts with its picturesque fynbos vegetation, the famous Paarl Rock set among ancient wild olives, rock candle woods and wagon trees. Paarl Mountain offers several viewpoints, from where you have a panoramic view towards Table Mountain and the sea in the west, and the Boland Mountain ranges in the east.

Visitors to Paarl are presented with a vast variety of attractions, scenic drives and hiking trails, wine tasting opportunities and outstanding dining possibilities. Outdoor entertainment includes daring 4x4 trails, mountain-biking through the hills, invigorating hikes through the mountains followed by picnics at a sparkling mountain stream, or trout or bass catching to provide a fantastically fresh dinner. Experience the vastness of the vineyards and fynbos on horseback, or enjoy a birds-eye-view of Paarl Mountains granite pearls from a hot-air balloon. Paarl boasts its own exquisite golf course, and a really special treat is the amazing world of butterflies, crocodiles and snakes which awaits you just outside this lovely town.

Franschhoek: Nestled in a fertile valley and ringed by majestic mountains, Franschhoek may appear to be merely a picturesque rural village, yet this is the food and wine heartland of South Africa and one of the premier destinations in the world of wine. The spectacular scenery of this beautiful valley, where vineyards stretch across the mountain slopes and mighty oaks tower over original Cape Dutch farmhouses, nurtures this peaceful settlement that tells a colourful history.

Constantia: South Africa's oldest, yet shortest and smallest wine route is the producer of extraordinary quality wines. Favoured by the cool breezes of the Atlantic and Indian Ocean the ripening process of the grape achieves the very best results, an advantage for all wine makers wishing to produce noble wines. During the founding years under Simon van der Stel, Constantia was one large wine farm. After his death the area was divided into three estates: Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Buitenverwachting, which are well worth a visit.

Top           Return to Map of Cape Winelands           Tour the Cape: Cape Town Tours

Photo Gallery: Cape Winelands Images             Weather: Cape Town Weather

For tourist information and activities in the Western Cape, click More Western Cape
For History and General information about South Africa, click More South Africa

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