The Cape Winelands of South Africa

Where are the Cape Winelands of South Africa?

The main body of the Cape winelands of South Africa is a large area of land that covers over 10,000 km2, extending northwards and eastwards from Cape Town, with its most historic region of Constantia, to the regions of Stellenbosch, Helderberg, Paarl, Franschhoek, Durbanville, Wellington, Worcester, Darling, Swartland, west coast, Riebeek West, Riebeek Kasteel, Hemel en Aarde, Robertson, Tulbagh, the Hex River, Elgin, Walker Bay, Bot River, Breedekloof and Villiersdorp. Beyond these regions, one enters the wine areas of the Klein Karoo, the Garden Route, the Southern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal (a 2 hour flight from Cape Town).

Abbey Manor Cape Town Wine Tasting b

What are the top 5 touring regions in the Cape winelands of South Africa?

On a tourist level, the bulk of wine tourism and the top 6 regions takes place around:Cape Winelands

  1. Constantia
  2. Stellenbosch
  3. Helderberg
  4. Franschhoek
  5. Paarl

With its plethora of over 140 producers, Stellenbosch (a 40 minute drive from Cape Town) offers the heart of the industry and is the most visited of all Cape wine regions soaking up a traffic of over 70% of wine tourist visitors.

The best hotels in the Cape Winelands of South Africa?

The finest Cape wineland hotels are a treat to indulge in as they are so conducive to relaxation and a total de-stress. The mere nature of being surrounded by vineyards and breath-taking views is enough for anyone to simply unwind and forget the daily trials of forging a career, running a business or bringing up a family. Located with a wine region these hotels are invariably influenced by the high standards and demands for great cuisine, and as a result, many possess outstanding world class restaurants to boot. Here are my favorites with their restaurants in brackets.

The top 8 hotels in the Cape winelands of South Africa?

  1. The Cellars Hohenort, Constantia (The Green House Rest.)
  2. Steenberg, Constantia (Catharina’s Rest.)
  3. Constantia Uitsig, Constantia 
  4. La Residence, Franschhoek (in house)
  5. Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek (The Tasting Room Rest.)
  6. Mont Rochelle Mountain Hotel & Spa, Franschhoek (Mange Tour Rest.)
  7. Grande Roche Hotel & Spa, Paarl (Bosman’s Rest.)
  8. Delaire Lodge, Stellenbosch (Indochine Rest.)

Grand Roche Hotel Winelands b Grande Provence wines b

What to do in the Cape winelands of South Africa?

There is no end of things to do, see, taste, experience, enjoy, and to simply cruise around the wineland districts. There’s something for everyone, young and old, much of it based around wine and gastronomy, but also offering pursuits for the more energetic and active among us. In no particular order, here are my world beaters of things to enjoy:

Constantia Top 10?

  1. A historic tour of Groot Constantia followed by a wine tasting
  2. Wine tasting at Buitenverwachting followed by lunch in their restaurant, or a picnic on the lawn (to be pre-booked)
  3. A wander through the botanical gardens of Kirstenbosch
  4. Early afternoon walk in Newlands forest followed by a late afternoon wine tasting at Beau Constantia whilst inhaling their sweeping views of the valley
  5. A drive to Muizenberg to discover the Rhodes Cottage Museum, dedicated to an icon of the 19th century: Cecil John Rhodes
  6. A morning visit to The Heart transplant Museum of Cape Town, a fascinating insight into the race of the first ever successful heart transplant and Dr.Christian Barnard
  7. A round of golf at Steenberg Golf Course
  8. A visit and private tour of Groot Schuur Stately home (by appointment directly)
  9. Hike up Table Mountain (a 3 hour ascent)
  10. An afternoon visit to Mostert’s Mill (built by Sybrand Mostert in 1796) followed by tea at the Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Town

Stellenbosch Top 10?

  1. Mountain biking in Jonkershoek Nature Reserve followed by lunch at Stark Conde’s Postcard Cafe or a wine tasting on their island lake
  2. The Rupert Art Museum
  3. A walk through the historic center and guided tour of Olof Berg Huis, Grosvenor House, Blettermanshuis and Schroeders Huis
  4. Chocolate and wine tasting at Waterford Estate
  5. A round of golf at De Zalze Golf Club
  6. A hike in the forest of Paradyskloof followed by tea or a drink at Majeka House
  7. Red wine tasting at Rust en Vrede Wine Estate followed by a winemakers lunch of grain fed chalmar steak and chips
  8. A weekend visit to the Audacia Root 44 market attraction with a myriad of things to do, taste and see for all the family
  9. Visit to the Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary and Wine Estate, followed by an MCC bubbly tasting
  10. Wine & Grappa tasting at Dalla Cia’s before an al fresco lunch in their restaurant, Pane e Vino

Franschhoek Top 10?

  1. The Huguenot Museum
  2. Wine tasting at Boekenhoutskloof (making sure to take in a glimpse of the old cottage at the back of the property!)
  3. A visit of the old Cape Dutch homestead of Boschendal, before wine tasting, followed by a ‘posh-picnic’ on the lawns (must pre-book)
  4. Franschhoek Motor Museum (the finest on the African continent, and of the best in the world)
  5. A walk through the gardens of Babylonstoren Farm (especially in October when the Clivia’s are in bloom), followed by lunch in their Babel Restaurant
  6. Wine tasting at Anthonij Rupert followed by lunch at their Antipasti Restaurant
  7. Horse back wine tasting through the valley
  8. A long lazy lunch at La Petite Ferme (book well in advance)
  9. The Pierneef Art Collection, the Rupert Museum, wine tasting, followed by lunch at La Motte Wine Estate
  10. The Orchid Nursery and wine tasting at Moreson Wine Farm

The Helderberg Top 8?

My home base, so this is a little biased.. !

  1. Vergelegen – visit the historic homestead, the gardens (the chamellia’s bloom in September), winery tour, wine tasting, lunch at The Stables or dinner at The Camphors Restaurant
  2. A hike up the Helderberg Nature Reserve (3 hours up and 2.5 hours down) or a simple amble around the lake and lower reserve
  3. A wine and olive oil tasting at Morgenster wine estate (make a point of viewing the exterior of the old manor house)
  4. A round of golf at Erinvale Golf Course
  5. A couple of hours on The Strand beach and a swim in the ocean
  6. Visit the Cheetah Sanctuary followed by an early evening bevvy at the Triggerfish microbrewery
  7. Fly-fishing on the damn at Eikendal wine farm
  8. A long lazy lunch at Overture Restaurant on Hidden Valley Wine Estate soaking up their breath-taking views

A more dreamy landscape and destination to visit, for both local and foreign tourists alike, one could not imagine. The Cape possesses a unique charm and picturesque beauty, admired by all and envied by most.

Post created by Richard Hilton, Founding MD of Greatest Africa.

Spier Hotel wine b

Lanzerac Hotel wine cellar b

About the Author
Richard is the Founding MD of Greatest Africa & Richard Hilton Vineyards. He lives in Somerset West with his wife and two daughters. He is passionate about the Cape, travel, global wines, wine education and sharing his experiences of this beautiful country that he calls home.