South Africa’s winelands

One of our favorite areas of ​​South Africa (yes, there are many of them!) is the winelands in the Western Cape, they have so much to offer. Picturesque vineyards, restored farms in Cape Dutch style, excellent wine routes, fynbos and majestic mountain ranges as a backdrop, the list goes on… Many of the towns and villages in the winelands have historical buildings and monuments that tell of the area’s rich history, and during a visit you will experience so much more than just wine.

Groot Constantia

Groot Constantia

South Africa also has its very own grape variety, Pinotage, which was created in 1924 when Professor Abraham Izak Perold crossed the two varieties Pinot Noir and Cinsault. The latter was called at the time the Hermitage in South Africa, which explains the name Pinotage. However, it took many years before Pinotage received the attention it deserves, the international breakthrough came in 1989.

Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek

Huguenot Monument in Franschhoek

How much time you spend in the area, depends a lot on how interested you are – or how much you like – wine 🙂 You can choose to visit the winelands during the day with your base in Cape Town – within a radius of 100 km there is so much to see and do.

Beautiful house in Cape Dutch style

Beautiful house in Cape Dutch style

If you want to concentrate on a smaller area, make your way to charming Stellenbosch, which is considered to produce the best range of wines with hundreds of vineyards, or Franschhoek, located in one of the world’s most beautiful wine valleys. Both are within a short driving distance from each other through the beautiful Helshoogte Pass.

Harvest time at Ormonde in Darling

Harvest time at Ormonde in Darling

You can also stay at one of the many beautiful guesthouses available here and also enjoy really good food. Franschhoek is such as South Africa’s “food and wine capital” – many of the country’s hundred best restaurants are here!

winelands 5

Beautiful mountains as backdrop

You can also choose to have any of the winefarms as a base. Then you’ll stay at a winery where wine is produced and work is ongoing every day. They come in size large, as for example Spier, to size small as our favorite Temple Wines. Prices vary quite a bit…

Môreson outside of Franschhoek

Môreson outside of Franschhoek

For those of you who don’t want to be self-driving, there are excellent guided tours, both as full-day and half-day options, which provides transportation (even to and from Cape Town) in air-conditioned minibuses, wine tastings, cellar tours and time to discover areas on their own and much more.

Neethlingshof

Neethlingshof

Usually, when people talk about the winelands in South Africa, it is the areas around Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek that brought to mind. But there are so many other wine routes that all offer high-quality South African wines and beautiful scenery.

Boschendal

Boschendal

Please read more about all the wine regions in South Africa on our website Destination South Africa.

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Wedding

Lately we have – even if it has been a while – told you a lot about our trip to Cape Town. And we will surely have some more small treats from there, Cape Town really is full of wonerful experiences.

The trip to Cape Town had been planned a long time, but we added one more thing that we wanted to do while we were there. We threw in a small wedding 🙂

My Freddy proposed inside the Kruger National Park last August, at sunset by a dam full of hippos. Absolutely perfect… We knew early on that we wanted a small wedding, not a big spectacle that shrinks the bank account and makes you stress, and we agreed that combining a wedding with our trip to Cape Town was a very good idea. The only guest was Lina, who was also the bridesmaid, best man, ring bearer and our right-hand man..eh..woman.

In 2013 I helped a Swedish couple who wanted to get married in South Africa and I put them in touch with Weddings out of Africa who helped them with everything and they got married on top of Table Mountain. When we saw the pictures, I think both Freddy and I quietly thought that this might be it (but by then it was too early to talk about marriage).

We also asked Kirsty at Weddings out of Africa for help and we  too chose to get married on top of Table Mountain. There are some paperwork that needs to be sorted out before you can get married in South Africa and I will soon write a post and tell you exactly what is needed and how to proceed. If you are marrying a South African like I did, you must nowadays also go for an interview at the Department of Home Affairs.

So we booked a time, two days before the wedding, and the interview was a strangely unpleasant experience. I never thought it would be so hard to explain why you love someone, or answer any other questions, but despite my stuttering we were considered to be a genuine couple and we got permission to get married.

On February 25 the day had come and I had the pleasure of being prettified by a real pro who came “home” to us. If anyone ever needs someone who can do your hair and makeup I can really recommend Bernice Dodd.

Unfortunately a big fat cloud, the famous table cloth, decided to park right on top of the mountain and we couldn’t have the ceremony there, so we had it at the foot of the mountain instead but that was very nice too. After the ceremony, and the mandatory paperwork, we went to Signal Hill and Glen Forest with photographer Jilda G, she too is amazing.

The evening ended at the restaurant we chose – The Roundhouse Restaurant that offers really great food!

I’m super pleased with our day and very happy.

Hugs,
Mrs. Lindgren-King 🙂

Fish on the Rocks

When you visit Cape Town please go to Hout Bay and the restaurant Fish on the Rocks. The restaurant is located at the very far end of the harbour, in a rather unassuming venue. It’s not something you just happen to drive past, one must know that it’s there. It’s no fine dining, but they sure know how to cook.
This is probably the best fast food I’ve ever eaten. Large portions and wonderfully cooked fresh seafood. All three of us chose Fish & Chips and Calamari and that’s a hearty lunch. So increadibly good! 🙂 If there are any leftovers there are plenty of seagulls that literally hang in the air and that are happy to receive some food. For bird photographers (amateurs!) such as Lina and I, this was an incredibly fun experience.

Right next to the restaurant is Bay Harbour Market, a really lovely market open on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. They offer something different than the usual tourist markets, I saw a lot of things I wouldn’t mind buying. There are also lots of yummy food, if you haven’t still feel hungry after your visit at Fish on the Rocks that is…

Adjacent to the market are also a few shops and art galleries. Freddy and I left with a large candle holder made of a piece of an old wine barrel.

End  your visit in Hout Bay with a walk on the beach and stroll around the marina with all the colourful boats and children that plunge into the water, without an ounce of fear.

Sunset Beach

We’ll continue on the theme of sunsets, it’s hard to get enough of them… 🙂 We had one of our evenings at Sunset Beach in Milnerton north of Cape Town. We made it very easy for us, bought pizza and drinks of your choice and sat down and waited for the sun to go down.

Simple pleasure with wonderful memories!

Signal Hill

During one of our first days in Cape Town we went to Signal Hill in the late afternoon. We had packed a simple picnic and we parked ourselves at one of the tables. You can also take a blanket and sit down on the slope and look out over Green Point/Sea Point and Robben Island out there in the ocean. You’re also surrounded by Table Mountain, which in honour of the day had the table cloth on, and Lion’s Head.

If you want, you can take a photo of you in the giant yellow frame which has been there since 2014 to celebrate that Table Mountain was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. These frames are dotted around Cape Town, including the V&A Waterfront and in Bloubergstrand. Unfortunately, the queue was way too long with photo crazy Asian tourists, so we gave up on that idea … But, we had the pleasure to see a lot of whales down in the bay and also what must have been lots of dolphins – all you could see was a white foam that was moving over the surface of the ocean. Awesome!

When we were there it was very windy and a bit chilly, but it was nice nevertheless. The sunset here is very beautiful, so we really recommend this! Have a designated driver and take a good bottle of South African (of course!) wine along…

When the sun dropped below the horizon everyone ran to their cars all at the same time, to escape the wind. This, along with a couple of tourist buses which very effectively blocked the way going down, resulted in a queue down the mountain. So it’s probably a good idea to not go here on a weekend if possible. Or to not be in a hurry to leave!

On the way down, you can stop at several lookout point (just make sure you pull over properly so you’re not blocking the way!) and here you’ll have a very beautiful view of Cape Town. In the evening the city lights up and becomes, if possible, even more beautiful, which brings out the inner photographer (who also wishes for a better camera or a tripod, or just less wind :))

This was really a wonderful evening and we’ll definitely return!

En route to Cape Town!

We have just arrived back home after nearly two glorious weeks in Cape Town and the surrounding areas. On February 21st, Lina, Freddy and I packed us and a whole lot of stuff into the car and headed south. Its about a 1 400 km drive, so we chose to stay one night along the way. There is not a whole lot of places to choose from, and as we’ve done previous times we have driven this route, we stopped in Beaufort West. In Beaufort West you sleep, fill up with fuel and eat, that’s all this tired little town has to offer.

We had booked a very neat self-catering accommodation on the outskirts of town, Haus Holzapfel, and the next day we continued our journey. We stopped in Matjiesfontein, just under 250 km from Cape Town. This is a well-preserved Victorian railway village, and here you’ll find ,for example, a museum with a collection of historic cars and trains. Rovos Rail stops here during the journey between Pretoria and Cape Town.

We arrived in Cape Town just in time for rush hour traffic which, if you live in Johannesburg, was not so bad and we found our way to the townhouse in Rondebosch that good friends let us use.

We had two exciting weeks, so stay tuned for more!

Cape Town from above

I thought this was really cool!

It’s not as if Cape Town offers ugly and boring views of the ground. The fact that Cape Town is one of the world’s most beautiful cities is something most people know, even if you have not been lucky enough to visit the city. No one can really understand why we chose to live in Johannesburg, but that’s another story …

But to see Cape Town like this from above really adds something extra. This great video was made by a tourist in Cape Town in August this year, with the help of a drone. Watch the movie and enjoy, I suggest you choose full screen!

See more films by Eric Cheng