There are many beautiful wine-producing countries in the world, where you can experience not only the best vintages, but also stunning surrounding scenery. Here are three recommended locations to explore on a wine-tasting vacation in the Western Cape of South Africa.
1. Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa
Located in the Cape Winelands of the Western Cape in South Africa, Stellenbosch is a quaint and beautiful university town. The town is surrounded by vineyards, as well as the beautiful nature reserves of Simonsberg and Jonkershoek and soaring mountainous scenery.
Visit the Waterford Estate, Jordan Wine Estate and Villiera Wines. Alternatively, head to the Rust en Vrede Tasting Room and more. Here you can enjoy wine tasting, with guides giving information about their production. Many also offer a delicious lunch overlooking the vineyards.
While in Stellenbosch, however, also explore the oak-shaded streets, lined with lovely, traditional Cape Dutch architecture from the Dutch colonial past, as well as quaint boutiques, cafes and art galleries.
Make sure to visit Oom Samie se Winkel, a Victorian-style general dealer which has stood here since 1904. Browse the fascinating vintage clothing, bric-a-brac, candy, books and wine on sale. The Toy and Miniature Museum in town is a great visit for the kids. Why not leave them to explore, while you head to the botanical garden for a rest in the fresh air?
2. Franschhoek, Western Cape, South Africa
Wine lovers appreciate the famous wines and champagnes of France. Franschhoek in the Cape Winelands of the Western Cape still retains its French roots. The town was established by French Huguenots more than 300 years ago and they brought their precious vines with them. In fact, should you visit Franschhoek in July, you will discover that Bastille Day is still celebrated in the town.
The valley is filled with wine farms and to make things easier, visitors can ride on the Franschhoek Wine Tram to visit the wineries.
The town is also considered to be the gastronomic capital of South Africa, with many world-class eateries to enjoy. These include the Bovine Restaurant and the highly recommended French Connection Bistro. The town is also home to many quaint shops and some spectacular art galleries.
Paarl is the largest town in the Cape Winelands and is the third-oldest European settlement in South Africa. The town is around 60 km from the city of Cape Town. Paarl and its surroundings are known for their haunting scenic beauty, its viticulture and fruit growing. The KWV (Kooperratiewe Wynbouers-Vereniging) head office is located in Paarl.
Besides its fine wineries and vineyards, Paarl is known for the Afrikaans Language Monument, erected in honor of the Afrikaans Language, a derivation of Dutch spoken in South Africa. Visitors can enjoy a visit to the Drakenstein Lion Park, which provides a home for distressed lions, as well as the Animal Sanctuary and Butterfly World in Paarl.
There are a number of bed & breakfasts, guest houses and hotels in Paarl. An enjoyable stay can be experienced at Babylonstoren, one of the oldest of the Cape Dutch farms in the area and a stylish and historic hotel and spa.
Take a turn in the Cape Winelands on a South African vacation – enjoy the superb wines, delicious cuisine and endless, beautiful views.