Exploring this picturesque region in a must for any visitor to the Cape
See and do
The Cape Winelands has a multitude of excellent wineries, top-notch food, scenic mountains and valleys and good dose of culture. Top of the list should be Stellenbosch Wine Routes (+27 21 886 4310) and Franschhoek Wine Route (+27 21 876 2861). The former is a university town while the latter has Gallic charm in barrel-loads with its French Huguenot heritage.
Between visiting the wine farms, take a stroll through the town centres. Babylonstoren (Klapmuts/Simondium Rd, Franschhoek, +27 21 863 3852, $1 per adult entrance fee). It’s one of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in South Africa and the formal gardens, modelled on the original Company Gardens in Cape Town as well as a monastery garden in France, is filled with seasonal abundance.
For a different take on wine tasting, take a horse ride through the vineyards (Paradise Stables, Robertsvlei Rd, Franschhoek, +27 21 876 2160) – who knows, your horsemanship may improve as you go. If the kids are tired of all the wining and dining, Le Bonheur Crocodile Farm (Babylonstoren Rd, $5, Simondium, +27 21 863 1142, $3.60 adults, $2.30 under 18s) is a good outing with over 1,000 crocs in their dams. You can even pet baby crocs on the tour.
The Winelands boasts some of the best restaurants in the country. The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français (16 Huguenot St, Franschhoek, +27 876 2151) has graced the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants list numerous times. Chef Margot Janse tempts the palate with multi-course menus. For a taste of French Huguenot, Cape Dutch and Cape Malay flavours, Pierneef à la Motte (La Motte Wine Estate, R45 Main Rd, Franschhoek, +27 21 876 8000) serves inspired dishes in a setting filled with oversized crockery chandeliers.
For a fun night in, the newly opened Delicious Hotels (11 Wilhelmina St, Franschhoek, +27 21 876 4232), part of the Le Quartier Français group, offers hip and affordable sleeps.