South Africa is home to some of the best travel spots in the continent, each region offering a unique experience and activities that will sweep you off your feet. A trip to the wine region of South Africa, which spreads across the nation’s coastal region, makes an unforgettable vacation, with gorgeous scenery and delectable cuisine accompanied by world-class wine.
Boasting 400 wineries dotted across the Western Cape, each town celebrates award-winning, globally renowned wine brands such as Nedenburg, Roodeburg, and Vilafote which are just three of many wines that are manufactured for export beyond South Africa’s borders. If you carry a penchant for exploring Winelands and learning the deep history of celebrated vineyards, then a trip to South Africa’s wine country should be high on your list of travel experiences to add knock off your bucket list. Here’s why…
A foodie’s paradise
The region is laced with many food spots to indulge in some top-quality dishes after a wine-tasting session. From cheap eats to fancy a la carte meals, natural and organic eating, with locally sourced ingredients and freshly caught seafood from the South Atlantic Ocean, one truly has countless bespoke experiences to choose from.
When in the Mother City of Cape Town, visit the famous V & A Waterfront Food Market in Cape Town, where you will find many vendors offering delicious food and snacks to sink your teeth into as you take in the refreshing view. With plentiful restaurants to pick from, especially for those looking for a more elegant meal setting, you are sure to be handed a wine menu, with selections to pair with your dish of choice.
Home of the Pinotage
Pinotage is a red wine grape that is unique to South Africa only. Cultivated in 1925, it is a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsaut and produces a deep red variety of wines with smoky, earthy flavors and sweetness. The wine became famous for the first time after it became the champion wine at a Cape Wine Show in 1959. Today, South Africa exports about 19 million liters a year, contributing billions in Rands to the South African economy. As you explore the wine lands, you will learn more about the origins of Pinotage while sipping a few sips along the way!
Unique Wine Tastings
Tourists can easily think that if they have had one wine-tasting experience, they have had them all. But exploring South Africa’s wine route tells a different story. Each wine-tasting experience is quite different, giving wine connoisseurs exciting opportunities to try something new at each pitstop. Pairings will range from sweets including an assortment of chocolate ad macaroons to more savory options that include wine paired with tapas or traditional options like flammkuchen, a pizza-like flatbread topped with cream, onions, and bacon.
At J.C. Le Roux, South Africa’s leading winery of delicate bubbles, one can look forward to being treated to a stylish wine-tasting experience with breathtaking mountains as a backdrop. Your sparkling wine may be paired with some nougat, meringues, and even marshmallows! Whichever winery you choose, you will be guaranteed an educational experience as you learn not only about the flavors of the wine but also its history and why it tastes the way it does.
Discover the Wine Towns of Western Cape
Along the wine trail, you will find the most unique towns with a rich history based on winemaking as each town boasts a premium wine list of internationally renowned wines. Franschhoek is one of South Africa’s oldest settlements, founded in 1688 by French Huguenots. This beautiful vineyard only an hour away from Cape Town, is the perfect escape from the city and a place for wine, food, and stunning views.
Although there are other vineyards with more to offer, Franschhoek is loved by tourists for its vintage charm and scenery. The small village consists of Dutch-style houses, quaint boutiques, and gourmet spots offering delicious food which will undoubtedly make your trip so memorable. There are great places to stay in Franschhoek too, including high-quality boutique hotels that offer luxurious personalized service. Although costing a pretty penny, a stay at any one of these is worth the splurge.
The Wine tram is Franschoek’s most loved feature as tourists hop on to the tram and enjoy the views of the winelands without having to drive. Hop on and off as you explore the vineyards and indulge in some wine tasting and food pairings. Food and wine are always a great way to spend the day.
Stellenbosch, the university town of the Western Cape is also popular for its Dutch architecture, and rich history, with hundreds of wine estates with vineyards offering some of the best wine brands in South Africa. Stellenbosch is the second oldest town in South Africa, but one wouldn’t think it, with its vibrant atmosphere as college students bring a sense of youthfulness to the town and the public art installations around the town, bring in a modern vibe.
The popular ‘Bites and Sites’ activity is a popular tour among tourists, which is a food tour that allows tourists to visit the town’s most popular restaurants and food spots and enjoy a hearty meal, taste some biltong (dried and cured meat) and sip on some wine. If you are an art lover then you will also love exploring this town and discovering some unique locally made pieces.
These are just two examples of some of the best vineyard towns in the country. Each offers a unique experience and wine-tasting adventure.
The Cape Winelands are beautiful, with breathtaking landscapes and endless coastlines. A trip to this region will be filled with rich history and culture, an exploration of wineries, a little relaxed adventure, and expansive culinary experiences wines are paired with locally produced cheese, cured meats and so much more!