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.

CHAT TO OUR SAFARI EXPERT!

Lise Kargaard

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Off-the-beaten-track South Africa self-drive

These returning guests from the UK did an 'off the beater track' trip across South Africa in December (high season). They started in KwaZulu Natal's Battlefields and the Drakensberg mountains, followed by time on the Garden Route, after which they travelled (self-drive) to Stellenbosch via a stop over in Swellendam, before ending off their trip in Cape Town at one of our favourite boutique hotels, Cape Cadogan

Detailed review of a luxury South Africa trip

These clients from Texas had plenty of time and wanted a thorough taste of Southern Africa. Ilze put together a fabulous highly personalised journey which included Cape Town, the Winelands, Victoria Falls, a Big Five safari in the Kruger area and then a few days on the coast north of Durban. Read their detailed review of top restaurants, the locals they met and of courser the hotels and safari lodges we chose for them.

A Garden Route guided tour, a wedding in the Winelands and Cape Town

These guests came out to South Africa for a family wedding in the glorious Cape wine country. Before the event they did a guided tour of the Garden Route, enjoyed a safari in a small game reserve along the way and then checked off all the top sight seeing attractions in Cape Town.