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Cape Winelands

Less than an hour east from Cape Town lies a stunning countryside region where stately farm mansions look out over sweeping vineyards that meet the dramatic jagged mountainscapes of the Cape Fold range.

The Cape Fold mountain range is a fold and thrust belt of late Paleozoic age, which affected the sequence of sedimentary rock layers of the Cape Supergroup in the southwestern corner of South Africa.

As the name suggests the district is primarily known for its wine production, a tradition that has existed here since the very first settlers came to the Cape more than 300 years ago. The region’s suited Mediterranean climate make it the largest wine producing region in South Africa and each year more than a million liters of wine is made here.

The winemaking tradition in the Cape region is one of the World's oldest and most renowned.

The epicenter of the Cape Winelands is the valleys that contain the towns of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest town after Cape Town, is situated on the banks of the Eerste River at the foot of the impressive Cape Fold mountain range. Its streets are lined with oak trees and prime examples of colonial buildings in the Cape Dutch style. Although Stellenbosch is famous for its wine culture and being a university town, it also boasts a range of boutiques, art galleries and museums.

Charge your camera's batteries - the winelands offer incredible views and the best wines.

Franschhoek, which translates as “French Corner”, was established in the late 17th century as French Huguenot refugees settled in the area. They brought with them their knowledge of vine cultivation and their original farmlands went on to become world-renowned wine estates. The town boasts beautifully preserved Cape Dutch architecture, dozens of outstanding restaurants, boutiques and contemporary art galleries.

Budget-focused accommodation such as backpacker hostels are less plentiful in the Cape Winelands than in the more central areas of Cape Town, but the region offers superb accommodation ranging from mid-range self-catering villas to bespoke guest houses and exclusive villas on its various wine estates.

Highlights

• With its collection of world-class wine farms, the Cape Winelands is the country’s top region for wine tasting tours. The famous open-air Wine Tram, which transports passengers between wine estates, is one of the most unique ways of exploring the Franschhoek Valley.

• Stellenbosch and Franschhoek play host to various annual festivals which are centered around the celebration of wine, champagne, art, literary and music.

• Franschhoek is home to some of the country’s premier art galleries, especially those that feature contemporary South African art and ceramics

• Restaurants in Franschhoek and its surrounding wine estates rate amongst the best in the country and the town is often referred to as the food and wine capital of South Africa. Diners can look forward to exceptional cuisine featuring local favourite as well as international dishes.

Practical advice

• The Cape Winelands are roughly 30 minutes from the nearest international airport and 45 minutes from Cape Town’s city center. Regular shuttle and taxi transfers are available while all major car rental companies have offices in both locations.

• Several sightseeing bus tours and private tour operators offer day trips to the Cape Winelands departing from Cape Town. Combination trips to other noteworthy tourist destinations are possible too.

• The Cape Winelands are notoriously hot in summer with average temperatures around 30C and some days as high as 40C. Bring appropriate light clothing, sunscreen and a hat.


Popular Cape Town Safaris

These popular itineraries can be customised to match your budget and travel dates

 | Cosmopolitan Cape Town and Kruger Tour (7 days)

Cosmopolitan Cape Town and Kruger Tour (7 days)

Discover the Big Cats in the Kruger National Park and enjoy the bustling harbour, world-class beaches and top-notch vineyards in Cape Town...

 | South African Bush and Beach Journey (10 days)

South African Bush and Beach Journey (10 days)

Explore the magic of Cape Town followed by the Scenic Garden Route and finally the Big Five members at the Kruger National Park...

 | Luxurious Cape Town and Victoria Falls Tour (8 days)

Luxurious Cape Town and Victoria Falls Tour (8 days)

Two countries in 8 days may seem like a lot but with this well thought out itinerary you will see some of the regions most iconic destinations without feeling like you are rushing through it…

 | Nature, Romance and Exclusivity - A Complete African Honeymoon (14 days)

Nature, Romance and Exclusivity - A Complete African Honeymoon (14 days)

This exclusive African honeymoon through East and Southern Africa is the perfect way to celebrate the start of your new journey together...

 | Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa Safari Adventure (19 days)

Africa safari adventure will take you to the tip of the African continent...

 | Two weeks in South Africa - a luxury rail safari

Two weeks in South Africa - a luxury rail safari

Experience the best that South Africa has to offer: it's white-sand beaches, lush green wine-lands and find the Big Five wildlife in the Kruger National Park. ...

 | Road Trip through Cape Town’s Finest (10 Days)

Road Trip through Cape Town's Finest (10 Days)

Explore Cape Town and its surrounding highlights in luxury on a looped route that both starts and ends in South Africa’s Mother City....

Mountain Walk | Cape Town, Whale Coast and Victoria Falls Tour (10 days)

Cape Town, Whale Coast and Victoria Falls Tour (10 days)

Experience a safari adventure that combines the very best of Victoria Falls with the undeniable highlights of Cape Town and the Whale Coast....

 | Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger Luxury Journey (9 days)

Cape Town, the Winelands and Kruger Luxury Journey (9 days)

Experience Cape Town, the lush Cape Winelands and a safari in the Kruger National Park and you'll fall under South Africa's spell...

Exterior view of Ngala Tented Camp | Delightful Cape Town and Kruger Luxury Safari (12 days)

Delightful Cape Town and Kruger Luxury Safari (12 days)

Combine Cape Town and the surrounding Cape Winelands with a safari in the Kruger National Park for a relaxing and exhilarating South African safari...

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