South Africa is today one of the major producers and exporters of wines worldwide, and has been producing wine since the middle of the 17th century. The Cape Winelands are ony a short drive from Cape Town and are set amongst rolling mountain slopes and valleys, with some of the oldest surviving colonial architecture in South Africa.
There are literally scores of wine estates, and whilst the region can be easily visited in a day trip from Cape Town, staying in the area will give you more opportunity to search out the labels you are familiar with from home or to go on a voyage of discovery and find new favourites.
Staying a couple of nights in the beautiful village of Franschhoek allows you to enjoy the scenery, wines, and foods of this charming region. Franschhoek has earned itself the title of ‘Food and Wine Capital of South Africa’, and quite rightly so. In the village itself, there are many award winning restaurants, and many of the surrounding vineyards also offer excellent lunches as well as wine tasting.
Stellenbosch, only a mere 40 minutes drive from Cape Town, is a pretty university town, with whitewashed Cape Dutch architecture along oak-lined avenues set around a pleasant green, which has earned it its other name of ‘Eikestad’ – the Town of Oaks. Situated right in the heart of the Winelands, Stellenbosch is a perfect base from which to explore the surrounding area, and the Stellenbosch Wine Route is not only the oldest wine route in South Africa, but also arguably the country’s most famous, with over 100 cellars.