...Insight

Our Guide to the Cape Winelands

An insider focus on South Africa’s culinary heartland – the Cape Winelands, including the best places to wine, dine and rest your head.

Our Favourite Regions in the Cape Winelands

A natural draw for any wine lover is to visit the picturesque Cape Winelands in South Africa, populated with hundreds of wineries producing some of the world’s best wines. With our expertise, experience an exclusive side to the Winelands – we arrange behind-closed-doors wine tastings with the best wine guides in South Africa, access to high-end private vineyards, exclusive meet-the-makers appointments as well as ‘grape to glass’ workshops where you explore the full wine-making process.

It’s not just about wine though, bring the family to the Winelands and enjoy an active, outdoorsy holiday amid South Africa’s natural beauty and temperate climate. Hike magnificent mountains, cycle to farms to try their produce, search for dinosaur fossils, savour a chocolate tasting or enjoy a cooking class together, all in beautiful surrounds.

 

WHEN TO GO

Visit between September and April when the weather is warm and many of the region’s vintage wines are released.

GOOD TO KNOW

There are some great festivals – consider timing your visit with Bastille Day in July or the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival in April.

WHO FOR

The misnomer that the Winelands is just for couples persists, but the truth is that it suits everyone and can make a fantastic family holiday.

Stellenbosch Cape Winelands scenic view
Cape Winelands – Franschhoek Valley – Grande Provence
Vineyard landscape at sunset with mountains in Stellenbosch, near Cape Town, South Africa
Gåte at Quoin Rock
Vuur goose island
VUUR meat – Winelands

Stellenbosch

Characterised by 17th century Cape Dutch architecture, the region of Stellenbosch is filled with local foodie hotspots and restaurants, arty galleries and of course, plenty of wine farms and wineries. We like Waterford Estate, which has a commanding position in the picturesque Blaauwklippen Valley and offers tastings of their exclusive fine wines paired with handmade delicacies such as chocolate or biltong. The ‘jeep and wine safari’ is a great way to explore the 120-hectare estate, inspecting vines, tasting wine and appreciating Waterford’s encompassing natural beauty.

Our restaurant recommendation is Gåte at Quoin Rock, an innovative fine dining spot that’s part of the Quion Rock winery located at the foot of Simonsberg Mountain in Stellenbosch. Tasting menus are crafted with passion, rooted in South African cuisine and filled with culinary surprises. For something different, try bijou restaurant VUUR, which seats only ten and serves melt-in-the-mouth food cooked over the fire, including steak and seafood.

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Delaire Graff Owner’s Villa Pool deck
Delaire Graff Owner’s Villa Main bedroom
Hoseki Delaire

Stay: Delaire Graff Estate

The Delaire Graff Estate offers flawless hospitality in the most pristine of settings, overlooking the vineyards of Stellenbosch. For families looking for luxe privacy, the Owner’s Villa is a vast, tastefully decorated residence, with African art gracing the walls and an infinity pool that faces serene Stellenbosch views. The elegant Wine Lounge is the perfect place for tasting exceptional wines with an expert wine tutor and Japanese restaurant Hōseki will delight with its eight-course Omakase tasting experience and exquisite sushi tasting menu.

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Cape Dutch farmhouse at Babylonstoren Wine Estate in Franschhoek, South Africa
Franschhoek vines

Franschhoek

In the fertile surrounds of the Drakenstein Valley, Franschhoek is the prettiest of South Africa’s wine regions, a sweeping province of undulating vines, colourful wildflower meadows and gabled Dutch farmhouses, shielded by the dramatic mountains. With over 50 highly rated vineyards, it’s hard to know where to start – we’d recommend Boschendal, a regenerative working farm that celebrates not only award-winning wine but wholesome farm-to-fork cuisine in their restaurant or even as a ready-to-go picnic. A real treat is cellar door tastings paired with platters of artisan charcuterie.

Franschhoek is known for its array of gastronomic restaurants – we can highly vouch for lunch or dinner at La Petit Colombe, nestled in the pristine beauty of the Leeu Estate, also well worth a visit. Dotted with eye-catching modern art sculptures and a wine studio, La Petit Colombe’s restaurant is a culinary highlight, with tasting menus a whirlwind of local produce brought together in an alchemy of tastes. Savour wagyu Karoo, yellowfin tuna and crayfish, and save room for the whimsical ‘sweet trolley’ to indulge your childlike sweet tooth.

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La Residence, Franschhoek South Africa
La Residence, Franschhoek South Africa
La Residence, Franschhoek South Africa
La Residence, Franschhoek South Africa
La Residence, Franschhoek South Africa

Stay: La Residence

Our go-to hotel in Franschhoek, La Residence, comes with all the bells and whistles you could conjure up, a glamourous boutique hotel and winery which is simultaneously grand, opulently colourful and supremely comfortable. Sumptuous suites have sensational views of landscaped gardens, vineyards and the valley beyond and exploring the vines with the resident sommelier is one of the many personal experiences that give this hotel the edge.

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La Colombe Restaurant, 2021 | Food

Constantia

Ideally placed for an add-on to Cape Town, Constantia is just half an hour from the cosmopolitan port city on South Africa’s southwest coast. For families, it may even be preferable to stay in Constantia, avoiding congested coastal roads and allowing easy access to the waterfront and the Winelands. Constantia also benefits from serene natural beauty where flowing rivers cut through lush vineyards and abundant greenery, presided over by the Cape Mountain Fynbos Reserve. Again, there’s plenty of choice when it comes to wineries – we like Klein Constantia, an estate that dates back to 1685. Its sea views allow cooling sea mists to create a unique terroir including a natural sweet wine.

For eating out, La Colombe is an assured choice, ideal for epicureans that love fine food served with a twist. With a vantage point atop a mountain, menus come peppered with refined African ingredients including Madagascan caviar, Namibian crab, Karoo lamb and game fish.

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Skydance4
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Skydance

Stay: Skydance Villa

For families and groups, the spectacular splendour of sprawling private-hire villa – Skydance – is hard to beat. Cradled in the hills of Constantia, the six-bedroom villa looks out onto landscaped gardens and Table Mountain Reserve and comes with a swimming pool, indoor and outdoor dining rooms, an entertainment room and a full complement of staff to take care of your every need. With the food and wine pleasures of Cape Winelands right on your doorstep, Skydance Villa is the perfect spot to relax in style.

SUMMARY

Lured by the abundance of food and wine experiences for the connoisseur, the Winelands offer all this and so much more. Wrapped in natural beauty with plenty of activities for families or couples, discover an exclusive side to the Winelands.

Ben Oxley-Brown

Personal Travel Designer

01488 689700 Read Ben’s profile
Ben Oxley-Brown
“Whether you’re spending a few weeks in South Africa and want to add the Winelands into an itinerary that includes Cape Town, the Garden Route and safari in the Kruger or prefer a more immersive trip just to the Winelands, speak to me about designing your exclusive excursion to South Africa.”

Have questions? Our knowledgeable team of experts are on-hand to take your call or if you prefer by Zoom. Talk to us about your holiday dreams or challenge us with your travel conundrums.

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