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Stellenbosch Wine Tour from Cape Town

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A Wine Drenched Tour Along The Red Route of Paarl, South Africa

A Guide to South Africa's Winelands   by Kobus van der Merwe

In 1652 the Dutch East India company establishment a refreshment station at the Cape of Good Hope aiming to provide fresh food to the company's fleet on voyages to India and surrounding areas. As a result of this trading station South Africa now boasts a flourishing wine industry and colourful, multi-cultural nation.

The fertile soil and Mediterranean climate of the Western Cape, makes the Cape Winelands one of the most renowned wine producing areas in the world. The Western Cape is also cooler than its position of 34º South of the equator might suggest, making the area ideal for growing a wide range of noble vine varieties such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Pinot Noir. The traditional wine growing areas along the coastal regions are seldom more than 50km from the ocean and are exposed to cool breezes blowing in from the sea.

Lawn in Front of a Cape Dutch Style House, Stellenbosch, Cape Winelands, South Africa
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All the wine grape varietals cultivated in South Africa, belong to the Vitis vinifera species, originally brought from Europe. Unfortunately these European vines were susceptible to phylloxera and as a result many South African viticulturists these days often have to graft their vines onto American rootstock in order to resist the insect.

Although Cape Town and the nearby Boland basin is best-known for it's superb Bordeaux-style red wines, the wine-producing regions of the province extends further north- and eastwards and has established itself as producer of world-class red, white, fortified and sparkling wines from a wide range of varietals.

The oldest and one of the most famous wine farms in the area is Groot Constantia, which was granted to governor Simon van der Stel in 1685, by the Dutch East India Company. The estate is located on the Southern Slopes of Table Mountain and is still world-renowned for it's superb wines and breathtaking location. It's beautiful Cape Dutch homestead also forms part of the Iziko South African National Museums. The Constantia region also features such formidable estates as Steenberg well know for it's Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and Semmilon while the nearby Buitenverwachting produces outstanding Chardonnay. Both estates feature award-winning restaurants.

Avenue of Trees, Stellenbosch, South Africa
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From Cape Town, the Winelands spread north-east and eastwards to the beautiful Boland basin with Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and Wellington being the most prominent producers. Some of the oldest wine farms in South Africa are situated in and around this beautiful Cape Dutch village, which at over 300-years old, is the oldest town in the country. Although the area hosts an endless amount of superior wine estates, well-known farms towards the east include the Shiraz and Port producing Alto; the prolific Blaauwklippen estate which produces one of the only Zinfandel's in the region; the red wine producing Delheim; the famous Lanzerac estate and hotel; the prominent Middelvlei; the international award-winning red wine producing Rust en Vrede estate; Vriesenhof with it's outstanding white wines; the exclusive Engelbrecht Els estate and the beautiful Tokara with it's adjoining restaurant managed by famous local chef and saucier Etienne Bonthuys.

Towards the west of the town there's the well-known Beyerskloof, famous for it's award-winning Pinotage; the superior sparkling wine producing House of JC Le Roux, the scenic Meerlust estate with it's legendary Rubicon blend; the family-run Overgaauw; the "Cap Classique" producing Villiera and Zevenwacht estate.

The nearby Franschhoek, which translates as "French corner" also boasts some of the country's oldest estates: The beautiful Boschendal with it's typical Cape Dutch homestead; Cabriere Estate with it's flagship range of Pierre Jourdan "Methode Cape Classique" sparkling wines; Graham Beck with it's signature Brut Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine and Rhona Muscadel; and the beautiful La Motte estate which produces outstanding Shiraz.

Autumn Colors of the Stellenbosch Winery, Cape Town, South Africa
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On the otherside of the Franschhoek and Hottentots Holland mountain ranges, the Overberg region includes quaint villages such as McGregor, Montagu and Robertson - the latter boasts the De Wetshof estate, owned by the prolific Chardonnay producer Danie de Wet, while the nearby Hemel-and-Aarde valley close to Hermanus is home to such spectacular wineries as Hamilton Russel with it's well-known Pinot Noir and the legendary Bouchard Finlayson.

North of Cape Town, the predominantly wheat producing Swartland region includes the fructuous Riebeek valley, well-known for it's Shiraz wines and olive farms. This region hosts such prestigious estates as Kloovenburg, Allesverloren and Twee Jonge Gezellen, as well as the larger co-operative wineries such as Riebeek Cellars, Swartland Cellars and Darling Cellars, extending further east, towards the Hexrivier Valley at De Doorns and north towards the Olifants River valley close to Citrusdal and the fruitful Orange River Valley near Upington in the Northern Cape.


About the Author - To plan a hassle free trip to Cape Town, use CityGuideSA - a comprehensive online travel resource with up-to-date information on where to Eat, Stay and Play in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban and the Garden Route. 


Constantia, Southern Suburbs, Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa 
Upmarket and beautiful southern suburb of Cape Town.  Mountain views - some areas have magnificent views across to False Bay.  20 minutes from the Cape Town City Centre, and 25 minutes from the airport.  Groot Constantia and the Constantia winelands close by.  15 minutes from the nearest beaches at Hout Bay.
Constantia Lodge, Guesthouse, CONSTANTIA
Constantia Lodge lies among trees below the beautiful Cecilia Forest and looks out across the spectacular Constantia Valley towards False Bay and Hottentots Hollands mountains beyond. The rooms are individually decorated, all double en-suite and fully equipped with luxuries for privacy and comfort. There is also a pool, games room and african bar & lounge.
Constantia Vista Luxury Self-Catering Suites, Constantia, Cape Town
Overlooking forests, vineyards, mountains and sea, Constantia Vista is the ideal hideaway for those who wish to get away from it all.  Nestling high on the hill in a beautiful forest setting, four fully self-contained, free-standing, self-catering units look out across the magnificent Constantia Valley to False Bay.
Southern Light Country House, CONSTANTIA
In perfect composition of energy and tranquility, Southern Light Country House is set in the elegant, lush surrounds of famous Constantia.  Embedded between magnificent golf courses, beautiful forests, horse riding stables and renowned wine estates, this location offers the ultimate break away. The beautifully appointed two acre garden allows you to soak up its relaxed energy and unwind from the rumble of the city and busy lifestyles. The stylishly modern Guesthouse offers you a home away from home, giving a professional impression with subtle personal touches.
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Considered the food and wine heartland of South Africa, Franschhoek was settled 300 years ago by the Huguenots. After the Edict of Nantes was revoked in France in 1685, and Protestantism was outlawed, hundreds of French Protestants fled their homeland, with some 275 of them arriving by ship at the Cape of Good Hope. The Dutch government gave them land in a valley called Oliphantshoek (Elephant Corner), so named because of the vast herds of elephants that roamed the area. Soon after they settled there, the valley become known as Franschhoek (French Corner). The area is known for its vineyards, wineries and fine cuisine
Akademie Street Guesthouses, FRANSCHHOEK
Akademie Street Guesthouses offers five-star accommodation in five unique buildings all situated on the same beautiful property in a quiet area of the village Franschhoek in the heart of the Cape Winelands. There are four sun-kissed swimming pools and shady, gardens where one can lie in privacy and listen to the splashing of the fountains, the song of the cicadas, the cooing of the Cape Doves … sounds so evocative of the Cape Winelands. This is coupled with the personal service that only a very small, family owned and managed, five-star guesthouse/boutique-hotel can give. From this retreat one can stroll to the village centre and its famous restaurants.  Historic wine farms, great golf courses, hiking, fly-fishing and riding are close by.
Auberge Bligny, Bed and Breakfast, FRANSCHHOEK
Auberge Bligny is an 1860 homestead in the historic center of Franschhoek. It has 8 en-suite bedrooms with private entrances. There is a romantic honeymoon suite, family suites with interleading doors and a room equipped for disabled guests. A country breakfast is served - in summer on the terrace overlooking the pool and the mountains for which the village is famous. With six restaurants in the top 100 of the country, there is a lot of truth in the saying that Franschhoek is the gourmet capital of the RSA. Some of these and numerous other excellent restaurants are within seven minutes’ walk from the guest house. 
Auberge Clermont, Bed and Breakfast, FRANSCHHOEK
This magnificent auberge has been created in an old wine cellar set amid vineyards. Every room has been individually and stylishly decorated. Underfloor heating and ceiling fans ensure year round comfort. Superb bathrooms feature double basins, separate showers and heated towel rails. Delicious breakfasts are served on the terrace under 140-year old oak trees overlooking the plum orchards or in the charming courtyard dining room. In addition, Clermont has an historic self-catering two bedroomed villa, with private swimming pool, large covered terrace, and stunning views of the Franschhoek mountains. The villa also has a large loft room with ensuite shower - ideal for children.
Belle Fleur, Bed and Breakfast, Self-catering, FRANSCHHOEK
On a Lemon Farm between two Wine Farms, you will find 'Belle Fleur'. Situated on a citrus farm it is the ideal venue for your holiday or simply a relaxing weekend away from the city. With a swimming pool, braai facilities, lovely garden, panoramic views. All the rooms are large - fan – Bar fridge - TV - tea/coffee making facilities and spacious and have private bath and shower (not en suite). The famous wine routes of Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch are on our doorstep. This area renowned for its fauna and flora, offers the quiet surroundings and scenic nature trails for the nature lover. 
Gable Manor Guest House/Self catering, FRANSCHHOEK
Join us for great hospitality in a stylish and modern guesthouse with luxurious fittings, furnishings and spacious air-conditioned rooms with beds that sleep so well. Enjoy the air of relaxation and understated elegance in this classic Cape Dutch architecturally styled house set in the village of Franschhoek. The two suites and four bedrooms have air conditioning, top class king size/twin beds, crisp white percale linen, soft gowns, individual satellite TV, tea & coffee trays, carpets, safes, UK wall plugs and hairdryers. The décor follows the theme of understated elegance with each room having its own distinctive character. The Balinese furniture perfectly matches the gentle colours in each room.
Gingerbed Cottage, Self-Catering, FRANSCHHOEK
Gingerbeds is a charming and stylish cottage situated on a large property with a beautiful, tranquil garden, in the historical “onderdorp” of Franschhoek. It has its own private entrance, and private courtyard overlooking the garden. Our rooms are tastefully decorated with whitewashed floors and white percale linen – it is simple, stylish and comfortable. It is an open plan unit with an ensuite bathroom with bath, basin and toilet, and small self-catering kitchen. There is a tv and couch in the bedroom, and guests have access to the garden pool.
La Fontaine Guest House, B&B, FRANSCHHOEK
La Fontaine welcomes you into Franschhoek in the heart of the winelands. Situated in peaceful surroundings with spectacular mountain views, this gracious home offers you 8 spacious double rooms with ensuite bathrooms, three garden rooms and one family suite which open out into the secluded garden. Generous buffet breakfasts indoors or under the vine covered pergola. Within safe walking distance to award-winning restaurants, shops and galleries. Golf, fly-fishing, horse riding, wine tasting, hiking nearby.
La Providence, Self-Catering, FRANSCHHOEK
Noted for its wine production and luxurious guest accommodation, La Providence offers visitors the opportunity to experience Franschhoek in regal style.  The estate is located behind the famous Huguenot monument and is only five minutes’ walk to Franschhoek’s main road, which is home to several of the widely-acclaimed restaurants. The valley also boasts over forty wine estates, resulting in its title “Gourmet Capital of South Africa”.  In addition to some superb golf courses, the Franschhoek Winelands also provides a wonderful location for other outdoor pursuits such as horse riding and trout fishing. 
Le Quartier Francais, Guesthouse, FRANSCHHOEK
A little French, a little foreign, a little style they like to call Cape Provencal. Of course, some call it an Auberge, others an exclusive country inn. In any language, Le Quartier Français is a splash of style in the heart of the historic village of Franschhoek, a quaint corner of the Cape wine lands that is forever a little French. Set behind a delightful Provençal façade lined with a charming rose and lavender border, Le Quartier Français welcomes visitors from all over the globe who come here to dine in fine style and spend the night in a room with a spectacular view. A mélange of French, Malay and traditional South African dishes, Margot Janses’ menu tempts with a modern twist of the old Cape and the new.
Maison Chablis, Guest House, FRANSCHHOEK
White washed walls, beautiful garden and a sparkling swimming pool surround this elegant Georgian Guest House. Each of the beautifully decorated, spacious en-suite bedrooms has its own unique décor and character.  Owners Bradley Tyler and Peter Hager have ensured your stay will be a memorable one by welcoming you to their gracious guest house with a very special brand or warm and caring Cape hospitality, the attention to detail, sumptuous breakfast and friendly service, will make your stay with us a truly memorable one! 
La Petite Ferme, Self-Catering, FRANSCHHOEK
La Petite Ferme is set high on the northern slopes of the magnificent Franschhoek Mountains in a beautiful garden that extends upwards into the Cape's unique Fynbos. Overlooking a trout-filled lake and Franschhoek's charming village below, it is the ideal setting for a relaxing weekend of leisure. For those who wish to escape city life and experience the sheer joy of silence, beauty and unassuming simplicity in a charming country retreat, MontMartre is the ideal destination. Inside the Lodges you will find everything you will require to make your stay comfortable and unforgettable. Cool in summer because of their higher altitude and cosy in winter with ceramic fireplaces and logs at the door.
Plumwood Inn, Guesthouse, FRANSCHHOEK
Lying in what was once a plum orchard, on the edge of the old part of the village, Plumwood Inn is a mere two-minute amble from the village centre. Peering over plum trees and majestic mountains this is a place of timeless romance and peace. Soaking up the African sun at one of the sparkling salt water pools in the peaceful, cozy garden will make you feel rejuvenated. Plumwood Inn has been stylishly and creatively designed and decorated to create a warm and most relaxed ambiance. Roel & Lucienne from the Netherlands pride themselves in effortless sophistication & personalized service. Plumwood Inn has seven rooms, in both classic and contemporary style, in two adjacent properties.
Residence Klein Oliphants Hoek, Boutique Hotel, FRANSCHHOEK

Klein Oliphants Hoek is an elegant, sophisticated and comfortable Boutique Hotel with eight elegantly decorated but 'cozy' en suite rooms  - set in the heart of the Franschhoek village, pearl of the Cape Winelands. Built as a mission station in 1888, this stunning Boutique Hotel offers old-time chic, a touch of colonial splendour with warm, personalized and outstanding service. For guests looking for something extra special, we have suites with private pools or Jacuzzi set in secluded courtyards. Where Traditions & Trends Meet - The Restaurant is a charming take on a traditional South African country kitchen with just a hint of European sentiment. 
Val D'Or Guest House, FRANSCHHOEK
Only minutes from the centre of the Cape's culinary capital, lies Val d'Or where the welcome is warm, the tranquillity tangible and the ambience geared to your comfort. Sink into plump couches in the lounge with its intimate bar, sip a sundowner on the terrace overlooking vineyards and mountains, or enjoy a pre-prandial sherry on a winter evening.  Luxuriate in one of the spacious, individually decorated en-suites, or opt for a quaint garden unit. Wake to birdsong and linger over a bountiful breakfast. 
More Franschhoek Accommodation
Paarl (meaning "Pearl" in Dutch and called "Die Pêrel" in Afrikaans) is the third oldest European settlement in the Republic of South Africa (after Cape Town and Stellenbosch) and forms part of the Western Cape Province. The 2001 census reports Paarl to have a population of approximately 108,000 which makes it the largest town in the Cape Winelands. It is situated about 60 kilometers northeast of Cape Town in the Western Cape Province and is renowned for its illustrious past and haunting scenic beauty. Paarl is unusual in South Africa in that the name of the place is pronounced differently in English and Afrikaans: in English it is 'Paarl' (rhymes with marl) but in Afrikaans it is 'Pêrel' ('Pair-uhl'), although still spelt Paarl. An unusual feature of the name of the town is that Afrikaners customarily attach the definite article to it: people say (in Afrikaans), "I live in the Pearl" (in die Paarl), rather than "I live in Pearl". This idiosyncrasy has a parallel in Australia: "I live in the Alice", meaning I live in Alice Springs.
The district is particularly well known for its Pearl Mountain or "Paarl Rock". This huge granite rock is formed by three rounded outcrops that make up Paarl Mountain and has been compared in majesty to Uluru (formerly known as Ayers Rock) in Australia. (However, they are not geologically similar. Paarl Rock consists of intrusive igneous rock, while Uluru is a sedimentary remnant).
Like many towns in the Cape Winelands, Paarl is home to a prosperous community, with many well maintained and attractive Cape Dutch houses, beautiful gardens and streets lined with old oak trees.
Grande Roche Hotel, PAARL
Grande Roche is situated on the site of the old De Nieuwe Plantatie in the Drakenstein valley of Paarl, South Africa. Its heritage dates back to 1717 when a grant of land was given to Hermanus Bosman. Over the years the homestead grew and changed and, in 1876, it was renovated to reflect the then popular Victorian style. The farm was bought and modernised by the Du Toit family in 1926 and after a fire in 1953 it was rebuilt as a Victorian manor house. It was finally restored to its original Cape Dutch splendour after careful research in 1991 and transformed into a luxury hotel. In 1993, the fastidious restoration was acknowledged when the Grande Roche Estate was declared a national monument.
Jacaranda B&B, PAARL
Paarl Tourism starts at Jacaranda B&B Guest house Accommodation close to Cape Town in the Cape Winelands, Western Cape, South Africa, with its Golf Courses, Horse Riding and famous Wine Routes. The white brick Mediterranean arches open to inside outside flow of sunlight and bright spaces. Unique artwork adorns the walls echoing tones of subtle colour and texture. We take great pride in our personal hospitality and our guests enjoy and relax in our home as part of their holiday experience. The well stocked bar with African flavour opens out onto the large patio, which is surrounded by herbs and flowers. Individual sunbathing areas surround the large dazzling pool.
Mooi Bly Landgoed Mooi Bly Landgoed Estate, Between PAARL & WELLINGTON
A 60 minutes drive from Cape Town, somewhere between Paarl and Wellington, on the slopes of the Du Toit Kloof Mountains, you'll find the beautiful estate called Mooi Bly Landgoed. You will be able to enjoy four fully equipped cottages with all comfort available. Each cottage has a kitchen that is situated next to cozy lounge and a terrace to watch the sunset while having a barbeque (Afrikaans word is "Braai").  Owned by the family Wouters consists of 4 members, father Luc and mother Anne-Marie, daughter Liesbeth and son-in-law Erik who originally come from Antwerp, Belgium. Are you looking for a nice and peaceful holiday resort in the middle of the vineyards? 
Oukraal Guesthouse B&B, PAARL
Mediterranean style villa ( AA Superior, 4 Star).  Owned by Ken and Lorraine (English spoken).  5 large rooms, en suite, safe, coffee making facilities, TV, air conditioners. Most rooms have balconies with lovely views of the valley, and surrounding mountains. It has a swimming pool in a landscaped terraced garden. Bar-b-q and guest kitchenette facilities available. Guest house is 5 min walk from town. Close to shopping areas, restaurants, and numerous wine tasting estates. Paarl has many attractions such as Butterfly world, Lion Park, horseriding, museums etc. 
Seidelberg Wine Estate, Between PAARL & WELLINGTON
“A little bit of heaven in the Winelands” was how one visitor to our historic Wine Estate summarized his experience. Elevated high on Paarl Mountain the farm has one of the most scenic and magnificent views over the Cape flats and Table Mountain.  Three newly renovated historical country houses on Seidelberg Wine Estate offer luxury and spacious accommodation combined with old fashion hospitality.  All private situated country houses are equipped with wireless internet, satellite TV, safe, fire place and air-condition. The recreation facilities offer swimming pool, sauna and tennis court. 
Villa Chapelle, Guest House/B&B, PAARL
Three air-conditioned luxury double/twin rooms are en suite, colour TV, M-net, safe, hairdryer, secure parking with separate entrance to garden, pool and entertainment area … all with vistas out over the valley. Enjoy the hospitality of your hosts, Mack and Mariaan, who will assist you with daily itineraries that include scenic drives over mountain passes, golf, hiking, 4x4 trials, horse riding, birding, musical evenings, art route and hot air ballooning, trout fishing, to name but a few. There are several renowned golf courses within easy access. Wining and dining is a specialty of the region and, whether you prefer traditional South African, French, Italian or Chinese, you will be spoiled for choice.  We offer dinner on request. 
More Paarl Accommodation

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