Planning wine-tasting holiday in South Africa? First of all, lucky you! South Africa’s Cape Winelands is a brilliant destination to choose for this kind of trip, thanks to its killer combination of amazing wines and equally stunning landscapes. Before you pack your bags and head to the airport, check out our list of unmissable experiences to have on a wine-themed getaway in South Africa.
1) Wine tastings
Ok, yes, this is probably a tad obvious, but it’s going to be the crux of your break, so we can’t leave it out! Our key tip here is that not all tastings are created equal, so it pays to do your research before you set off.
Perhaps the most important thing to think about is how much you already know about wine, and what it is you want to know. There are heaps of tours in the Cape Winelands that’ll give you general introduction to the wine that particular vineyard produces, or the wine-making process in general. But, if you know your stuff already, it’s worth seeking out something a little more specialist, like winemaker interaction tours.
As you’ve probably guessed from the name, these give you the chance to take a tour with serious experts – sometimes celebrated winemakers – as well as tour behind the scenes and even get the chance to taste from private cellars.
2) Franschhoek Valley
A gorgeous destination in the Cape Winelands, Franschhoek Valley should definitely feature on your itinerary. It’s reputedly one of the most scenic wine valleys in the world, so much so that it has a fairly steady influx of couples coming here to tie the knot.
As an added bonus, if you have a tasting here, you can often actually look out over the valleys where the grapes grew while you’re sipping the wine they ended up in, which is pretty special. Now, while it’s undoubtedly gorgeous here during the summer months, we reckon it’s actually well worth going in winter. Sounds a bit weird, but the landscape here is really lush during this period, and it’s ultra-cosy for couples, too.
The Cape Winelands is almost as famous for its cuisine as it is for wine, so hitting some of the top restaurants while you’re here is an absolute must. And, of course, make sure any meal you treat yourself to is accompanied by a good local wine; if you’re stuck for what to drink with the dish you’ve chosen, you’ll find waiters in all decent eateries will be able to give you pretty sound advice.
Among the places you should consider booking a table at is Bosman’s Restaurant at the Grand Roche Hotel in Paarl (a favourite town to stay in among people on wine-tasting holidays in the area). Truffle-flavoured goat’s cheese and apricot ice cream are just some of the treats you can look forward to tickling your taste buds with here.
4) Explore the great outdoors
If you can drag yourself away from the gorgeous vineyards and amazing restaurants, you’ll find there are loads of other things to do in the Cape Winelands. Variety is the spice of life, as they say, so it’s worth experiencing a little of the local scenery while you’re here – and there are loads of ways to do so.
There are the usual ways to explore, for example, like hiking and cycling, but those of you who fancy a little more action than that might prefer paragliding. There are also several golf courses, which should go down a treat if you like to relax with a round or two.
5) Discover Montagu
Last, but certainly not least, we think heading to Montagu is an unmissable experience while you’re here. This gorgeous town is rather conveniently situated on one of the world’s longest wine trails, Route 62, and is home to a hefty 45 wine cellars. Plus, it has its very own natural hot mineral springs (usually around 43 degrees C); a dip in these is the perfect way to complete your decadent break!