South Africa’s Wine Routes
Considered by many to be the most beautiful in the world, the wine regions of South Africa are spread out over the Western and Northern Cape regions, covering 500 kilometers west to east and 700 kilometers north to south. The region encompasses a network of diverse and well run wine routes, affording visitors a varied experience. In addition to award winning wines, there are a wide range of activities from hiking and mountain biking to whale watching. All of which are set amongst stunning scenery.
Stellenbosch – In 1971, Stellenbosch became the first established wine route in South Africa and has become synonymous with quality with its organized network of wineries at which tourists can experience the product of the vine and tune into the soul of the Cape winelands. Compare Hotels in Stellenbosch
Durbanville – Situated in the Tygerberg Hills, a short, twenty minute drive from Cape Town, lies the Durbanville Wine Valley. With its acres of flourishing vineyards, award-winning wines and a hospitable atmosphere, this wine route is fast becoming the Cape’s destination of choice. The Durbanville Wine Valley consists of nine wineries, each offering the finest of wines and complemented by some of the best restaurants and intimate country kitchens in the winelands.
Franschhoek – Franschhoek, in the Western Cape, is a valley surrounded by vineyards that is regarded as one of the most beautiful in the world. Known as the gourmet capital of South Africa, Franschhoek is home to internationally acclaimed restaurants and wine cellars which produce award-winning wines. Annual festivals include the Bastille Festival in July, the Franschhoek Uncorked Festival in August and the celebrated Cap Classique and Champagne Festival in December. Compare Hotels in Franschhoek
Breedekloof – A natural playground of crystal clear streams and majestic mountains await visitors to the Breedekloof district. Just a one hour drive from Cape Town, Breedekloof includes 24 wineries in the Rawsonville, Slanghoek, Goudini and Breede River areas. The wineries range from small boutique cellars to estates and large co-operative wineries. The Breedekloof is much more than just a wine route as the beautiful environment is home to a wide range of outdoor activities. It also offers a variety of accommodation.
Constantia – The oldest wine making region in the southern hemisphere, dating back to 1685, Constantia Valley is the Cape’s most intimate wine route today. Enjoyed by Napoleon Bonaparte and royalty in the 18th century, Constantia Valley’s unique combination of terrain and climate produces some of the world’s finest wines which continue to earn accolades and international awards for consistently high standards and quality.
Darling – Located less than an hour drive from Cape Town along the windswept West Coast, the district is host to significant vineyard plantings influenced by seaside conditions of the nearby Atlantic Ocean. Darling is the first wine district to have been awarded full membership in the Biodiversity and Wine Initiative. The warm, friendly and hospitable cellars offer complimentary tastings which, together with a relaxing rural environment, provide compelling reasons to visit.
Klein Karoo – This diverse wine region in the southern Cape stretches along Route 62 from Montagu in the west to the Outeniqua mountains in the east. The Klein Karoo is situated between spectacular mountain ranges and its vines are grown on the high slopes of the ranges and in the fertile alluvial soil along the riverbanks. The Klein Karoo also offers visitors uniquely South African cuisine, a warm welcome and an unusual and diverse landscape.
Olifants – A stone’s throw from the west coast, with its charming fishing villages, lie the vineyards of the Olifants River region. Every year, after the first winter rains, the landscape is transformed into a carpet of wildflowers of every imaginable hue and fragrance, attracting visitors from far and wide.
Orange River – Orange River Wine Cellars offers an extensive range of dry whites, natural sweets and dry reds as well as dessert wines. The southern Kalahari landscape makes for a land of contrasts where flourishing vineyards, fed by the water from the Great Orange River, deliver special wines of quality.
Paarl – The wineries of Paarl Vintners produce quality wines and the majority of wineries in the region offer added attractions. Enjoy lunch under old oak trees, sample a range of cheeses and olives, watch glass blowers in action, or just sit back and let the natural beauty of the surroundings wash over you. Compare Hotels in Paarl
Robertson – An hour and a half drive from Cape Town on the popular Route 62 lies the Robertson Wine Valley. Tucked between the Langeberg and Riviersonderend mountain ranges, this wine route offers a landscape of roadways fringed by flowers and trees, majestic mountains and a river running through the valley. Compare Hotels in Robertson
Swartland – The Swartland is an ever changing kaleidoscope of color, stretching from the Paardeberg in the south to the Berg River in the north and includes the Riebeek Valley, Piketberg and Porterville areas. A total of 18 cellars, ranging from co-operatives to private wineries, are members of this route. Apart from the wine cellars, a fine selection of accommodation, eating establishments and other sites and attractions grace the Swartland.
Tulbagh – The Tulbagh Wine Route is dotted with graceful, old estates which have been home to generations of the same families and are institutions in the wine industry. It’s also interspersed with conspicuously new vineyards and architecturally designed, state of the art cellars belonging to more recent investors, micro-producers and boutique wineries. The village of Tulbagh is surrounded by majestic mountains and one of its attractions is Church Street with 32 national monuments taking the visitor a step back in time.
Wellington – Only a forty-five minute drive from Cape Town, Wellington is situated at the foot of the Groenberg Mountain. in a picturesque valley on the banks of the Kromme River. The majestic Hawequa Mountains stand as silent sentinels on the eastern border. At the foot of the mountains are the beautifully manicured vineyards and finely restored Cape Dutch homesteads, some of which have been declared national monuments. Compare Hotels in Wellington
Worcester – The Worcester Wine Route is situated in the Breede River Valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in South Africa. Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, this wide valley with its meandering rivers is a large and very important wine producing region. Worcester’s wines have become world renowned for their quality and diversity.
IMAGE VIA: sara.atkins on flickr