Whether it is its magnificent natural beauty, its rich cultural heritage or its world-renowned wines, the Winelands Region is synonymous with all the best that the Cape has to offer. A 45-minute drive from Cape Town brings you to this area where splendid mountains form a dramatic backdrop to lush vineyards and gabled Cape Dutch homesteads steeped in history. Come experience the hospitality and beauty of Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek and Pniel. The diversity of the Winelands will capture every heart.
Follow in the footsteps of our ancestors as you stroll along the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in the country. Our colourful history comes to life in the splendidly restored Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian buildings in each town. Monuments such as the Huguenot Memorial and Afrikaans Language Monument and the many outstanding museums provide a fascinating glimpse into the past.
The excellent wines produced in this area are world-renowned You will be spoilt for choice between small, boutique wineries and the larger, more commercial wine estates.
Taste the fruit of the vintner’s labour in the magnificent surrounds that are so characteristic of the Winelands, or join the winemaker on a tour of his cellar where the precious harvest is lovingly transformed into every wine lover’s delight. To revive fatigued taste buds, the Winelands boasts some of the finest restaurants in the Cape, offering from traditional fare to the more exotic. And don’t miss out on other culinary delights produced in the region such as cheese, olives, herbs, berries and much more.
With its ragged mountains and fertile valleys, the Winelands is paradise to nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts. Invigorating hikes through the many nature reserves in the area will have you marvelling at the indigenous fynbos that flourishes here. Whether you enjoy the thrill of tearing down the hillside on a mountain bike, or relaxing next to a tranquil river catching trout, the exhilaration of a hot-air balloon-ride over the granite outcrops of Paarl Mountain or savouring the beauty of the setting sun on horseback, the Winelands will surpass your every expectation.
Franschhoek, first known as Die Oliphantshoek, was renamed after the arrival of the French Huguenots. The Huguenot Monument was built in 1938 to commemorate the 250th anniversary of their arrival, and the Huguenot Museum depicts the genealogical history of these families. The Franschhoek Wine Route has about 20 members. Visitors can also enjoy various hiking trails and historical walks.
Paarl lies between the second-largest granite rock in the world and the Du Toit’s Kloof Mountains, and is famous for its unique architectural heritage confined to two square kilometres. The Afrikaanse Taalmonument is situated on the slopes of the Paarl Mountain, and the Afrikaanse Taalmuseum is in the centre of the town. Visitors can also go to Butterfly World and the Arboretum with over 700 species of trees. There are also various arts and crafts shops. The Paarl Mountain and Nature Reserve is noted for its enormous 500-million-year-old granite rocks. The Paarl Wine Route has some 24 members.
Stellenbosch is the second-oldest town in South Africa, and is also known as the Eikestad (town of oaks). Visitors can go on various historical walks. Dorp Street consists of one of the longest rows of old buildings still existing in the country. The Stellenbosch Village Museum consists of four homesteads and gardens ranging from the late 17th to the middle 19th centuries. The Simon van der Stel Festival takes place in October each year to commemorate the birthday of the founder of Stellenbosch. There are a number of nature reserves in the area. At the Oude Libertas Amphitheatre, visitors can enjoy concerts, ballets and other entertainment staged from December to March. The Stellenbosch Wine Route has more than 40 members.
Wellington is the home of South Africa’s dried fruit industry. Most of South Africa’s vine-cutting nurseries are found here. Strawberries, raspberries, youngberries and Cape gooseberries can be picked by visitors on Wellington’s own berry farm. There are various hiking and horse trails, as well as leather, fruit, historical, religious and educational tours. The Wellington Wine Route comprises seven members.
The well-known Spier Wine Estate was established in 1679. Visitors to the Estate can now enjoy a close encounter with Inca, Shadow and Spier, three of the five tame cheetahs who live there. In keeping with an ongoing pledge to conserve and preserve South Africa’s natural heritage, Spier has allocated land on the Estate to a group of hand-raised cheetahs in the care of Cheetah Outreach. The Fund was created to save the cheetah from becoming extinct. With just 12 000 cheetahs remaining, the cheetah could be extinct within the next 15 years if the decline is not halted.
Each year, from November to March, the Spier Arts Trust brings summer alive with the SAA Summer Festival. Already after only a few acclaimed seasons of the Festival, the 1 155-seat Spier open-air amphitheatre, on the banks of the Eerste River, is being dubbed as the premier Cape venue for enchanting musical and other performances of exceptionally rare quality