The famed Cape Winelands offers a convergence of fine wining and dining against the backdrop of spectacular natural beauty. The Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschoek valleys hold their own against some of the most prestigious wine regions from around the world. Thanks to the Mediterranean climate and varied terroir there is something for every oenophile; from big Cape reds to crisp whites. The Cape Winelands are a mere thirty minutes’ drive away from Cape Town making it well within reach for day trips. However, to become fully immersed in these beautiful historic settings it’s better to stay at one of the many guest houses and boutique hotels which are available.
Stellenbosch is the second oldest European settlement in South Africa, being the historical centre of the Cape Winelands and home to the University of Stellenbosch makes it a unique blend of the old and new.
Student pubs and gourmet restaurants combine seamlessly oak tree lined streets. The area enjoys an al fresco lifestyle and many pedestrian friendly bustling side streets. The Stellenbosch valley has the ideal terroir for the noble varieties; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinotage, Shiraz, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc and the valley’s slopes are home to renowned farms such as Thelema and Warwick Wines.
Paarl is the third oldest European settlement and has a deep history of viticulture and fruit growing. The Paarl Rock, a massive granite boulder, is a famous natural landmark and mecca for rock climbers. There is also a museum and monument celebrating the Afrikaans language which is the youngest in the world. Paarl is home to the illustrious KWV distillery famed for its brandy and chocolate pairings.
Franschoek or ‘French Corner’ is tucked away in a lush valley that’s taken on a distinct French atmosphere since Hugenot refugees first settled there hundreds of years ago. The area is South Africa’s gourmet capital and boasts the highest concentration of award winning resorts and restaurants in the country. It’s endowed with a plethora of glitzy boutiques and art galleries and the gorgeous town hosts a number of festivals including the Literary Festival, Champagne Festival and Bastille Day.
Our accommodation picks are the unique Akademie Street Boutique Hotel and Guesthouse and the foodie’s favourite Le Qaurtier Francais, both of which sit in the heart of Franschoek.