In desperate need of an escape from the never-ending demands of daily life? Looking for a breathtakingly beautiful location to rest, relax and indulge? Then how about an indulgent winter winelands getaway? The Cape Winelands is a go-to for travellers from far and wide who are in search of tranquillity and a diverse array of experiences to remember.
Here’s what you can look forward to on a Winelands escape in winter:
What would a visit to the Winelands be without a decent dose of the region’s specialty? The question is, which wine estates should feature on your list when you’re keen to quench your thirst and satisfy your curiosity with a wine tasting (or five)? From Bellingham to Babylonstoren, Spier to Eikehof, the options are endless, and it’s safe to say that you really can’t go wrong. Having said that, if you love a good glass of Chenin Blanc, Ken Forrester Wines in Stellenbosch is a must – and if you’re a fan of Shiraz, Boekenhoutskloof in the beautiful Franschhoek valley is the place to be.
Hoping to satisfy your hunger or sweet tooth in conjunction with your thirst when visiting a winery in the Winelands? You’ll be thrilled to discover that there are plenty of wonderful wine pairings up for grabs if you know where to look. Here are a few favourites to keep in mind:
- Villiera’s nougat and MCC pairing
- Bartinney’s Cape fynbos and wine pairing
- Middelvlei’s boerebraai tapas and wine pairing
- Delheim’s fynbos cupcakes and wine pairing
- Brenaissance’s pizza and wine pairing
- Môreson’s charcuterie, wine and MCC pairing
- Grande Provence’s three-way oysters and wine pairing
- Perdeberg Winery’s marshmallows and wine pairing
- Fairview’s goat’s milk cheese and wine pairing
The accommodation options in the Cape Winelands are true embodiments of the magnificence and luxury of the region. Finding a lavish base from which to enjoy the many pleasures of your surroundings is key to amplifying the overall experience. Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa is one such delight, promising guests’ comfort beyond compare.
“Guests can savour some me-time with a spa treatment out in the sunshine, courtesy of the outdoor massage garden, followed by pre-dinner drinks with a view of the spectacular sunset from the Terrace Bar and Lounge,” says Sharmila Ragunanan, group marketing manager for Dream Hotels & Resorts.
“There’s also plenty of opportunity for guests to tuck into a decadent three-course meal at one of the two premium onsite restaurants, or simply recline by the pool with a cocktail in hand and relax to their heart’s content,” she adds.
Many of the country’s top chefs operate within the Cape Winelands and you’re bound to come across a 5-star restaurant in practically every direction that you turn. In short, you’re definitely spoilt for choice if you fancy yourself a foodie! Here’s a list of some of the leading restaurants to visit and a few details regarding what makes them so special:
- Babel at Babylonstoren: Sit down to a farm-to-table meal with sweeping views of the Simonsberg Mountains as the backdrop. The menu changes seasonally. Don’t forget to savour the winter-warming tea and cheese pairing experience if you pop in for breakfast or lunch.
- Chefs Warehouse at Maison: Chef Liam Tomlin and chef David Schneider are the experts behind the mind-boggling flavours on every plate served at Chefs Warehouse. The tapas-inspired menu means there’s sure to be something for every palate.
- Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate: Indochine is celebrated for drawing on Cape Malay and Asian cuisine to create a variety of innovative dishes. Patrons can choose to dine al fresco and enjoy views of Table Mountain.
- Protégé Restaurant in Franschhoek: Best-known for its Social Sunday Suppers, Protégé is every travellers’ favourite for casual fine dining. From wagyu potsticker to gamefish tataki, you’re definitely going to try something unique that you’ve never had the pleasure of trying before.
- The Table at De Meye: Here, you can savour a set, three-course, sharing style menu that changes every week to keep your taste-buds guessing. The restaurant supports local, small-scale farmers so ingredients are always fresh and full of flavour.
- Le Verger: For your next private event, how about dining in a glass conservatory with spectacular views of the Franschhoek Valley? One of the Dream Hotels & Resorts properties, Le Franschhoek Hotel and Spa’s stunning Le Verger restaurant provides an unforgettable and unique winelands setting. Try familiar winter favourites such as classic beef burgers and steaming malva puddings.
Adventures out in nature
While you’re likely to spend a great deal of time soaking up the aforementioned experiences at various wine estates and in luxurious restaurants during your winter getaway, be sure to set some time aside to explore the great outdoors, too. After all, the Winelands are known to be one of the most gorgeous places in South Africa! There will definitely be a chill in the air, but it’s nothing a warm jacket and a pair of comfy boots can’t fix.
Think long, leisurely hikes through the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, walking tours that take you past cosy little bookshops and privately-owned chocolatiers, Scootours and e-bike tours, as well as laid-back picnics on sprawling lawns where the kids can run free, and parents can relax. Inspired? Start planning your winter wonderland escape today. There are some incredible deals to be had if you’re quick enough to take advantage!