The Cape Winelands is one of the most beautiful regions of South Africa. The region is easily accessible from Cape Town (under two hours drive) The area has many quaint villages and dramatic scenery, There are numerous activities for the adventurous or moderately physically active person, from hiking, climbing, fly fishing and horse riding in the vineyards to historical attractions, or cultural experiences.
You will enjoy exceptional cuisine and wines, which will make the Cape Winelands one of the most memorable experiences of your life.
There is so much to see and do in the Cape Winelands, the wine-tasting at almost two thousand cellars aside! Whatever you do, your trip should be carefully planned to ensure that you don't miss out on anything.
The history of development of the Cape Winelands goes back to the late 1600's when French Huguenot's were settled here by the Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel. The Mediterranean climate was ideal for viticulture, which has resulted in many fine Wine Estates having a proud heritage of over three hundred years production. The three main urban centres in the Cape Winelands are Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl.
Stellenbosch, South Africa's second oldest town,is considered the centre of the Winelands. It is an ideal base from which to tour the Western Cape.
There is much to see here as it is a historical centre with historic homes and public buildings spanning three centuries, all beautifully restored, where you will savour the atmosphere and the unique period Cape Dutch architecture. It has been a seat of learning since 1865, when the renowned Stellenbosch University first opened. There are some 150 wine cellars open to the public, many theatres, art galleries and restaurants on the wine estates and some fine Golf courses.
A Wine Cellar, Stellenbosch, Winelands, Western Cape
Cape Dutch Style House amid Vineyards, Paarl, Cape Winelands.
Vineyard Scene near Franschhoek
Paarl is the 3rd oldest of the original European settlements in South Africa and is a picturesque old town of the Cape Winelands, dominated by a huge granite pluton that, after rain, gleams like a pearl, and from which the town gets its name. (The Dutch word for pearl.)
Paarl has one of the longest main roads in the country - at about 11km - and it’s lined with lovely old buildings.
There are many tour operators in the area who would be ready to show you the attractions. A worthwhile visit is to the Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve and Wild Flower Garden.
Franschhoek. Also has it's roots in French Huguenot history in the Cape Winelands. The Huguenot monument is situated here to commemorate this history. The town is tucked away in the beautiful Franschhoek wine valley. It is an arts and crafts town, with much to see and do in a tranquil atmosphere. Enjoy a meal at one of the many restaurants or bistro's in a town which is renown for its excellent cuisine.
There is a wide choice of accommodation available, from Hotel, Boutique Hotel, Bed and breakfast to private farm accommodation. It is an excellent area for walking and hiking, paragliding and quad biking.
The Breede RiverValley
Breede River Valley Scene
Another another wine producing area of particular interest is the Breede River Valley, with Robertson as its main urban area Some 15 attractive small towns have the good fortune to nestle in the fertile Breede River Valley among wall to wall orchards and vineyards
Ceres is named after the Roman goddess of fertility; Tulbagh has 32 historical buildings, making the largest concentration of national monuments in the country; Montagu is the home of hot mineral springs famed for curative powers; Worcester and Robertson are known for their noble vintages.
Attractions in the valley include one of the largest brandy distilleries in the world (KWV Brandy Cellar). game reserves, tribal art and museums. ( Try Kleinplasie Living Open Museum, which revives early settler days with demonstrations of candle making, sheep shearing and harvesting) There are 52 wine cellars in the Breede River Valley. Enjoy a calm drive, or the available 4x4 drives, tractor rides, mountain biking, hiking, canoe safaris, fishing, rock climbing, yachting, speed boating, waterskiing, sailboarding, gliding, horse-riding and much more!
Visit the Karoo National Botanical Garden that gives you the opportunity to get to know the rare plants of the drier regions of South Africa, some of which are on the verge of extinction. The Breede River Fruit Route offers cherries, apricots, peaches, apples, pears and grapes all available to be picked.