Considered to be one of the most incredibly beautiful parts of South Africa and, indeed, the world, the winelands are situated on either side of the N1 highway out of Cape Town. Many of the significant towns in the region are less than an hour from Cape Town while others lie a bit further afield and are well worth the drive through breathtaking scenery.
On any trip to the Western Cape it’s hard to choose which section of the Cape Winelands to explore. The traditional winelands borders have extended to such an extent that it’s almost difficult to find any part of the region where wine isn’t produced. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, and Paarl will, however, always hold pride of place as the core towns of the traditional winelands.
- Many food and craft markets take place every weekend around the winelands - try Root 44, Slow Market, the Lourensford Market, or Blaauwklippen
- Tour the botanically diverse gardens at Babylonstoren where all 300 varieties of plants are either edible or have medicinal value
- Don the comfortable shoes and get out of the car for some winelands exploring on foot - the best way to really experience this utterly magnificent area and to truly take in the surroundings at the right pace
This region is rich in colourful history involving the importing of vines from Europe in 1655 and the first wine being produced with pride in 1659. The pride was short-lived as that wine was deemed unworthy of anything close to a 5 star rating and it took a number of years before the excellent quality of today was achieved. But the hiccupy beginning only seems to make the history that much more interesting and many of the manor houses bear testimony to that at the ripe old age of around 350 years.
Wine tours are plentiful and varied. You can truly find almost any combination you can possibly think of. Food pairing, sustainable farming practices, cycling, horse riding, art, history, romance - all combine well with wine! Meet the winemakers, gain more viticultural knowledge, take a tour around the cellars, or just kick back and savour the taste sensations of the wine in this award-winning region.View other areas >