During this series, we will be exploring some of the best wine regions in the world to travel to, providing you with a few top tips to help you on your way. This week, we head to a food and drink haven…
Stellenbosch – South Africa
Sitting just out side Cape Town, Stellenbosch is South Africa’s premier wine region. This small University town is steeped in history and surrounded by some of the worlds finest vineyards. Having previously been a Dutch colony, there still remains much colonial architecture, giving the town a unique vibe.
Surrounded by a dramatic landscape, Stellenbosch is famous for producing wines such as Syrah, Chenin Blanc and Viognier, as well as producing fine quality Chardonnay, Merlot, Rose and Cabernet.
Why should you visit?
Set in beautiful landscape, Stellenbosch offers visitors more than just great wine. Stellenbosch is on the doorstep of some incredibly beautiful nature reserves, including the Jonkershoek and Jan Marais nature reserves which means that there are many walking routes around the town, if you visit the local tourism office you will be able to pick up a guide for the local hiking trails.
Despite Stellenbosch being a relatively quaint town, scratch beneath the surface and you will find a whole new side to the town. For food lovers (like us!) you can enjoy the ‘Bites & Sites’ food tour, which will introduce you to the culinary history of the area and South African cuisine, Cape Malay, Kasi and traditional Afrikaans.
Cape Town is just a stones throw away from Stellenbosch and has so much to offer, no visit to the region would be complete without spending a little bit of time in the ‘Mother City’.
For food and wine lovers, it is a paradise. With a vibrant restaurant scene, Cape Town is one of the worlds premier food destinations thanks to the local landscape. Cape Town benefits from its position on the coast, with the fertile land behind, meaning that the local food is some of the freshest and exciting anywhere in the world. The world famous V&A waterfront is home to many high end restaurants with incredible views over the harbour, being so prestigious expect a price tag to match! We think that the most exciting food can be found throughout the city, by exploring just off the waterfront in the main CPD. In 2018, Cape Town has seen countless new restaurants open, and in 2019 that trend is set to continue!
Cape Town has something for everyone, we know it is great for food and wine, but also history, extreme sports, beaches and shopping. Everywhere you go on the peninsular you will find great beaches, but why not take a trip out on a boat and go cage diving with Great White Sharks? For those of you who are more risk averse, it is important to visit Robin Island and learn more of the history of South Africa. Robin Island is where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years and is widely recognised as a symbol of “the triumph of the human spirit over adversity, suffering and injustice”, it is impossible to visit and not be moved.
Lastly, no visit would be complete without a trip to Table Mountain, which imposes itself on the peninsula. The best times to visit are in the either in the morning (but it tends to get quite busy) or in the evening to catch one of the most magnificent sunsets on the continent. The ‘tablecloth’ generally descends on the mountain early afternoon, and watching it disappear is a real spectacle not to be missed!
How to get there?
Fly into Cape Town and have a 2 centre trip! Cape Town is the major city of the region, and is fun and vibrant. It is well worth staying in Cape Town for a few nights at the beginning and end of your trip to make the most of the city as there is so much to see and do.
Stellenbosch is just a 45 minute car journey from Cape Town CPD, or just 40 minutes from the international airport, so is very convenient. A glass of Chenin Blanc on the V&A Waterfront anyone?
If you are completing the ‘Garden Route’, you can tag Stellenbosch onto the trip by catching an internal flight at the end of your road trip straight into Cape Town.
When to visit?
November to March are the best months to visit based on the weather, as it will be warm and balmy. As a consequence these are also the busiest months for tourists, so we would recommend avoiding January and perhaps go at either the beginning or the end of the season.
Next time we are off to the USA, and the legendary Napa Valley!