The most common response I’ve gotten from people when telling them about my tipsy adventures in the Cape Winelands is “South Africa has vineyards?” Not only does South Africa have vineyards, but they are some of the most stunning I’ve ever seen—and the wine is pretty amazing (not that I’m an expert or anything).
Our only regret with the Cape Winelands is that we didn’t stay longer. We only had time to visit two of South Africa’s best wine regions; Stellenbosch, which is known for its high quality red wines and Franschhoek, which is known for its European-style wines. The drive from our hotel in Camps Bay to our Airbnb in Stellenbosch took about an hour and some change. We enjoyed a wine tasting at Waterford Estate that evening and a full-blown wine tour in Franschhoek the next day.
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Wine Tasting in Stellenbosch
If you love wine but don’t want to go too hard when you first reach the Cape Winelands, I highly recommend a laid-back wine tasting. This is what we opted for when we first arrived. It was a low-key, relaxing experience and a small taste of the shenanigans we were about to get into the next day.
The tasting took place at the Waterford Estate Tasting Room where we opted for the “Wine & Chocolate Experience” for R75 per person (about $6 USD). Full disclosure—I am one of the worst wine tasters imaginable. Thankfully my friend Coribbia is a true wine enthusiast and helped teach me how to properly taste wine. She basically helped me slow down and pay attention to the flavors and aromas. So glad she did that, because South African wine is truly special when you take the time to appreciate it.
Wine Tour in Franschhoek
The next day we stepped it up and did an all-day hop-on hop-off wine tour of the nearby wine region Franschhoek. The 30-minute drive to get there rewarded us with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains and valleys. At times it didn’t even seem real. The way the clouds rolled over the landscapes were like something out of a dream.
We picked up our tickets for the Franschhoek Wine Tram and hopped aboard. The cost was R220 (about $17 USD). We spent the day being transported throughout the Franschhoek valleys, stopping at various places to taste wine, enjoy lunch, and frolic in vineyards. At one point, my friend Jannae noted I looked as if I was reenacting a scene from the Sound of Music.
Please note this experience lasts alllll day. So if you end up trying this out, remember not to feel pressured to finish every drink you are given. Half the people in the tour group didn’t even make it to the last stop. They were knocked out on the tram!
What’s your favorite wine? Drop a comment and let me know!
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