Wine tasting in the Cape Winelands
Last weekend, Dorene a friend of mine, and I whisked ourselves off to the winelands to experience some cape hospitality, enjoy some fine wines and take in the breathtaking mountainous views of the area, oh and of course to inspect some accommodation establishments. Our main aim was to keep abreast of what is offered to our clients when they visit the winelands.
We started off in Paarl. Paarl is one of the oldest towns in South Africa and particularly known for its mountain, "Paarl Rock". The huge granite rock is formed by three rounded outcrops that make up Paarl Mountain and is the second largest granite outcrop in the world. Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve offers some awesome hiking trails and great views.
Paarl boasts a unique attraction in the fact that the foundations of a new language, Afrikaans, combined heritage of Africa and the European mother countries, were laid here. The Monument to the Afrikaans language on the slopes of Paarl Mountain, the Language Museum and the Afrikaans Language Route through Dal Josaphat are living memorials to this achievement. A very interesting aspect to include in an itinerary if history interests you!
Add to this the rich heritage of well preserved historic buildings scattered through the town and the large number of top-quality restaurants offering traditional Cape cuisine.
Franschhoek - photo compliments of www.franschhoek.co.za
We then whisked ourselves off to Franschhoek, a quaint little village not to be missed! More than three centuries ago about 200 French Huguenots, having escaped religious persecution, settled in the Berg River Valley and founded the community of Franschhoek (the French Corner). With its fine balmy summers and the majority of its rainfall in winter, the French Huguenots recognised the potential of the region for wine production and fruit growing.
Franschhoek alone offers over 30 wine estates where you can taste wine. It would be very difficult to get to even 10% of the wine estates in the Cape Winelands area during your stay in the Cape. The best thing to do is to acquire a good map of the winelands area and choose some of the well-known estates to visit. You can stop at the tourism offices in each little town and get a map of the wine estates in the areas.
Franschhoek is often referred to as “the gourmet capital of the Cape" and this title is justly deserved as it has some of the finest restaurants in the country. With meals ranging from French cuisine, to typical Cape cooking, to simple country fare, there is a menu for every taste and for every pocket. Some of the restaurants having won various awards are Le Quartier Francais, Ruebens and Haute Cabriere.
Some of my favourite accommodation establishments here offering value for money are Franschhoek Country House and Klein Genot.
Franschhoek Country House and Villas
We left Franschhoek and travelled over the Hell’s Hoogte Pass into Stellenbosch, a beautiful pass linking the two towns. The second oldest town in South Africa, founded by Simon van der Stel in 1679 and renowned for its Cape Dutch buildings, university and wines, Stellenbosch lies in a fertile valley surrounded by vineyards, orchards and mountains. It is an academic and farming community and one of the most well preserved towns in South Africa.
River Manor Country House and Spa
Two of my favourite properties here are River Manor and Summerwood Guest House, both within walking distance of the bustling little town. Being a university town, Stellenbosch offers a lively nightlife with array of different options such as theatre shows, live music bars and nightclubs and also a number of good restaurants.
Various festivals are held annually throughout the Cape Winelands, including a host of food festivals and a wonderful variety of wine shows. From arts/culture fairs to open-air shows and harvest festivals, the Winelands is an all-year-round beehive of activity, attracting visitors from far and wide to come and enjoy the warm hospitality and energy it exudes
Breathe the fresh champagne air of the Cape Winelands, a haven for those wanting to escape the stresses and strains of everyday city living. Celebrate your health by relaxing in our natural hot water springs or enjoy a welcome break at our world-class health spa´s with a variety of treatments ranging from aromatherapy, balneotherapy and acupuncture to reflexology and message therapy.
Your Southern Africa Travel Experts!www.africatamed.co.za
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