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South Africa - Winelands

A short distance from Cape Town are the Winelands, South Africa's premier wine producing region. The stunning scenery, historic towns and beautiful vineyards all help to make this a great place to relax and enjoy the sights at a leisurely pace.

Nestled between towering mountains lies the magnificent Franschhoek Valley, considered to be the food and wine heartland of the region, where leading wines are developed and top chefs create international cuisine. Stellenbosch is one of the oldest towns in the country and is a perfect base to explore the Winelands.

In and Around:
Not far away from Cape Town you will find Constantia Valley which features forests, stately homes and vineyards. Home to some of the Cape's oldest wine routes, it is an idyllic location in which to enjoy the wines. There is also a range of interesting walks and hikes. Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are not far away and are home to a wide diversity of Cape flora.

Stellenbosch: The oldest town in the country after Cape Town, it is one of the most scenic areas to visit in South Africa. Offering a variety of accommodation, Stellenbosch is an ideal base from which to explore the Winelands. The small town is packed with history for visitors to discover, plus excellent restaurants and warm South African hospitality.

Franschhoek: Known as the food and wine heartland of the country, fine wines are produced all around and world-class cuisine is available in the wide range of restaurants. In addition to this, Franschhoek offers breathtaking scenery and a town that is packed with wonderful arts and crafts, antique shops and galleries.

Paarl: As with most of the towns in the Winelands area, Paarl has a historic charm, culture and heritage. A great destination if you are looking to experience natural beauty. The area offers breathtaking scenery with many cycling and nature trails as well as Paarl Mountain.

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La Residence is surrounded by vineyards and plum orchards, with a spectacular mountain backdrop, breathtaking views of the countryside and an atmosphere of complete tranquillity.
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Tucked away in secluded gardens it offers a delightful haven of peace and tranquillity. A total gastronomic experience can be enjoyed here.
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This five star boutique hotel & luxury country guesthouse is the Swellendam venue of choice fit for the discerning world traveller. It offers guests a unique experience with luxury accommodation and exceptional professional services.
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A restored manor house, where attention to detail and friendly, personal service is the order of the day.
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Grande Roche is a celebrated international hotel, famous for its exquisite location in the heart of the beautiful Cape Winelands.
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Spectacular vistas of craggy mountains, rolling valleys, oak-lined pathways & lush vineyards form the backdrop to one of South Africa's most beautiful private hotels & spas, the Lanzerac Hotel & Spa.
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A romantic getaway, Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa is 5 star luxury with an elusive charm and a contemporary Cape Dutch feel. It offers unparalleled views of the Franschhoek Mountains.
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Mont Rochelle Hotel invites you to relax in one of their luxurious bedrooms or suites, most of which offer spectacular views across the valleys and vines of Franschhoek.
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This historic boutique hotel nestles in the tranquil Constantia Valley, against the slopes of the Steenberg Mountains, offering sweeping views over False Bay.
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This five star intimate hotel is found in one of the Cape's oldest and most beautiful wine valleys.
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This five star historic residence, beautifully restored in the Cape Huguenot tradition, is in the heart of Franschhoek, the gourmet capital of South Africa.
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A relaxing boutique style hotel offering peaceful views amidst working SylvanVale Vineyards. A perfect location to explore the Winelands region.
oude_werf_hotel
South Africa's most historic hotel offers elegance, character and gracious hospitality. Antique furniture and modern facilities complement the overall Georgian style.
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River Manor with its wrap-around patios creates an atmosphere of luxury, space and privacy with personal service and attention to detail.
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Spier Wine Farm has a vibrant and conscious energy, and explores contemporary South African culture through food, wine and art - all to great acclaim.
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Labri Manor is situated in the centre of the vibrant town of Stellenbosch and is within walking distance of the many cafés, restaurants and bars offering gourmet food and fine wine.
protea_hotel_stellenbosch
Offering Protea Hotel Group standards and situated close to all the major attractions and many of the estates of the winelands. A solid base from which to explore the area.

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Rugged and verdant, the Cape Winelands in South Africa produces some of the best wines in the world. Covering an area of 22,289 km2, the region enjoys warm climates with long, hot and dry summers and cool winters, allowing vineyards to thrive on its fertile soils. Within the area there are a number of charming historical towns such as Constantia, Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch, which are the essential wine-tasting stops.

 

Cape Town is the perfect place to start your Winelands adventure in South Africa. Constantia is only a half hour drive from Cape Town, while Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch can be reached within an hour and a half. All this means that it won’t be long until you have a glass of wine in your hand and are enjoying all that this beautiful region has to offer.

 

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Grapes were first cultivated in South Africa in 1652. The initial crop, however, wasn’t successful. This has been attributed to the fact that the Dutch colonisers were inexperienced grape growers, since grapes are unable to grow in Dutch climates. Nevertheless, Jan van Riebeeck later produced the first wine in 1659. 

 

In 1679, the governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel, decided to develop the Winelands region starting with Stellenbosch. His own estate, Constantia, was also developed into a major wine producing area, and continues to be a popular stop for wine aficionados.

 

By the end of the 17th century, Protestant Huguenots from France, who had fled to the Netherlands due to religious prosecution, were travelling on Dutch ships to South Africa. Once arriving at the Cape, they were able to share their knowledge of grape growing and wine production to help improve the quality of the wines being made in the area. In particular, they were allocated lands in the Winelands region that later became known as Franschhoek, Paarl and Drakenstein.   

 

Today, the Winelands region continues to be one of the world’s biggest and best producers of high quality wines that are admired by nations across the globe. As well as this, the region’s beautiful scenery attracts many visitors who long to explore the valleys while also visiting wineries for wine tasting sessions.

 

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The Winelands valleys and surrounding mountains offer unparalleled views and stunning flora that is endemic to the region. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, located in the Constantia Valley, showcases excellent examples of Cape flora and is well worth a visit to find out more about the regional plant life.  

 

To experience as much stunning South African wildlife as possible, head out on our Supreme South Africa Self-drive trip. On this tour you’ll start your adventure off in Cape Town. Just under an hour away is Simonstown, home to an African penguin colony. From here you’ll visit the coastal town of Hermanus for your chance to spot dolphins and whales in the water. Addo Elephant National Park is another great stop along the route; seeing these majestic giants in their natural habitat is a once in a lifetime experience. Finally you’ll conclude your trip in Stellenbosch – one of the most popular towns in the Winelands region, offering luxurious accommodation and glamorous wine tasting sessions.

 

To make the most out of your adventure in the Winelands region, stop off in multiple towns along the way to find out how different they each are and to taste all the delicious wines of course!

 

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Spring (September to October)

 

Spring is dry and warm, as temperatures average around the mid 20Cs. Many people come to take advantage of the great weather in the Winelands at this time of year, so accommodation is usually more expensive during the spring season.

 

Summer (November to February)

 

Summer is the warmest season, with temperatures reaching up to the high 30Cs. The late sunsets mean that you can enjoy the beautiful valley surroundings for longer. Summer is also the peak time for visitors, so expect wine estates to be busier.

 

Autumn (March to May)

 

Autumn is the harvest season and the best time to visit the Winelands. Days are relatively warm and sunny, with temperatures hovering around 20C, so you can still wander through the vineyards before taking part in a wine tasting session.  

 

Winter (June to September)

 

Winter in South Africa is chilly and rainy, but as it’s the low season, visiting at this time of year means that you don’t have to worry about crowds. Heading to the Winelands in the winter can be extra special, with fireplaces raging in cosy wine estates - the perfect place to enjoy a glass or two of wine and relax.

 

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The best way to visit the Winelands region is by car. One of the best Winelands holiday is the Supreme South Africa Self-drive trip. The trip sees you start in Cape Town where you can soak in some South African culture, before taking a short drive to the beautiful Constantia Valley to enjoy some local wine tasting. This self-drive trip also includes stops along the Garden Route, at Hermanus and Knysna, before ending in Stellenbosch for more world-class wines. Stellenbosch is also the perfect base for you to explore the surrounding Winelands region if you wish to extend your trip.

 

The Winelands are famed for having incredibly luxurious accommodation options. La Residence, in the Franschhoek Valley, is surrounded by vineyards and overlooks an awe-inspiring mountain range. The estate itself is magnificent, with an opulent Great Hall, vaulted ceilings, glittering chandeliers and extravagant four-poster beds. For something more modern, but just as lavish, head to The Last Word Constantia in the Constantia Valley – South Africa’s oldest wine valley. This boutique hotel offers classically furnished rooms, a gorgeous garden and top-notch dining.

 

The main draw to this region is the wine! There are many wineries spread out across the valley that you can visit. Each wine estate showcases their wine specialties in stunning surroundings and encourages you to take part in wine tasting sessions – a definite must-do! Franshhoek, for example, has the added bonus of offering a hop-on hop-off Wine Tram that can take you to the best wineries in the area. This means you can drink wine to your heart’s content without having to worry about driving afterwards.

 

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Top Itineraries

cape_town,_garden_route_&_safari

Cape Town, Garden Route & Safari

8 Nights

Cape Town 'The Mother City' is where this tour begins. The cosmopolitan beauty of this city is hard to ignore against the imposing backdrop of Table Mountain.

supreme_south_africa_-_self_drive

Supreme South Africa - Self Drive

12 Nights

For visitors to South Africa there is no better introduction than combining legendary Cape Town, the glorious Garden Route, amazing wildlife and the Winelands in the Western Cape.

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