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South Africa

Stellenbosch & Cape Winelands holidays

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Wine tours? No worries.

If you’re considering a holiday to South Africa, a safari is probably top of your to-do list. But the Rainbow Nation is just as famous for its wine as its wildlife. A trip to Stellenbosch and the Cape Winelands gives you the chance to taste some delicious vintages in sun-soaked valleys, while gazing at the surrounding mountains.

Lying just 30 miles east of Cape Town, the Cape Winelands district covers 8,000 square miles. This vast wine-making region is split into five areas, the most famous of which is Stellenbosch. The Mediterranean-like climate in the Winelands is perfect for vineyards, but each winery has its own methods – so it’s worth visiting a few. Whether you ride the Franschhoek Wine Tram or join a tasting tour, you’ll be able to try a variety of wine. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most famous Stellenbosch wine, but Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot grapes are also planted here. Further north, in the town of Paarl, Pinotage and Chenin Blanc are the most commonly produced wines. And if you go wine-tasting in Franschhoek, you’ll be treated to rich Shiraz and sparkling white wine, made from Chardonnay grapes. 

But your holiday to the South Africa Winelands doesn’t have to focus entirely on wine – unless, of course, you want it to. If you fancy a change of pace, there are plenty of other things to see and do here. Spend a day exploring the town of Stellenbosch, where you’ll find museums, markets and hip coffee shops, plus some beautiful Dutch architecture. Or go hiking along the trails of Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve, where you’ll have lovely views of the Franschhoek Mountains and the vineyard-filled valley below. You’ll also find that a lot of hotels in the Cape Winelands offer exciting activities, such a horse riding, bike hire and Segway tours.

If you want to extend your holiday, the Cape Winelands are within easy reach of colourful Cape Town, Hermanus – the whale-watching capital of South Africa – and the Cederberg Mountains. Or you could head east and drive along the famous Garden Route, ticking off Mossel Bay and Knysna. Whatever you’re dreaming of, our experts will help you plan every detail.

Stellenbosch

Franschhoek

Cederberg Mountains

Best time to go

Stellenbosch

You can’t go on holiday to the Cape Winelands without visiting Stellenbosch. The second-oldest town in South Africa, this charming place is filled with Cape Dutch architecture, tree-lined streets and plenty of history. You can easily walk around the compact centre, hopping between cosy coffee shops, boutiques and art galleries. And in the surrounding foothills, you’ll find the famous Stellenbosch vineyards.

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Encompassing more than 200 wineries, Stellenbosch has five wine routes – Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Berg and Stellenbosch Valley. It’s best to visit a few Stellenbosch vineyards, if you can, as each one has its own distinct personality and produce. Make sure you try a glass of Pinotage – this fruity red was first created in Stellenbosch in 1924.

There are a number of places to stay here, but Spier Hotel Stellenbosch is the most famous. Dating back to 1692, it’s one South Africa’s oldest wine farms. As well as producing award-winning wines, they also grow all their fruit and vegetables organically on site – so you can enjoy an authentic taste of Stellenbosch.

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Franschhoek

Travel 30 miles east of Stellenbosch and you’ll reach the scenic Franschhoek Valley. Like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek is one of the oldest towns in South Africa – French Huguenots settled here in 1688, and the town’s name literally means ‘French Corner’. You’ll notice that a lot of vineyards still use their French name, and the wine here is very different to elsewhere in the Cape Winelands.

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Show Less

Thanks to its French heritage, Franschhoek is adept at producing sparkling white wine. Most vineyards use the traditional ‘Methode Cap Classique’, which is the same method used to make Champagne. So, if you enjoy a glass of bubbly, a visit to Franschhoek is a must. You’ll also be able to try crisp whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, and full-bodied reds like Merlot and Pinot Noir.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram is the best way to explore. This open-air tram meanders through some of South Africa’s most notable wine estates, and the hop-on hop-off system means it’s easy for you to go at your own pace. You’ll have great views of the surrounding mountains, too.

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Show Less

Cederberg Mountains

In total contrast to the lush Cape Winleands, the Cederberg Mountains – about 100 miles north – are a rusty shade of orange, with jagged peaks and incredible rock formations. Spanning for 70 hectares, this wilderness area is filled with hiking trails, and is also popular with rock-climbers. You can visit Stadsaal Caves and see ancient rock paintings, swim in natural pools at Maalgat, or simply drive through the mountains and admire the scenery.

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A trip to the Cederberg Mountains also gives you the chance to spot some of South Africa’s famous wildlife. You’re likely to see antelope, baboons and dassies – large ostrich-like birds. If you keep your eyes peeled, you could also spot an aardvark, a honey badger or a Cape fox. And, if you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard.

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Show Less

Best time to visit the Cape Winelands

There’s no bad time to go on holiday to South Africa’s Winelands. New vintages are released between September and April, but you can go on a wine tour any time of year. In winter, you can sip rich reds while you snuggle up by the fire, while summer is all about al fresco lunches and wine-tasting in the sun.

December to February is the hottest time of year, when temperatures often reach 28oC. But the weather is dry and mild from November all the way through to April, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine.

Show More
Show Less

When planning your holiday, it’s also worth considering where else you’d like to go in South Africa. If you’d like to travel along the Garden Route as well, you’ll want to visit during the warmer months. But if whale-watching in Hermanus is on your wish-list, you’ll need to plan your trip between June and December.

Show More
Show Less

Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch

You can’t go on holiday to the Cape Winelands without visiting Stellenbosch. The second-oldest town in South Africa, this charming place is filled with Cape Dutch architecture, tree-lined streets and plenty of history. You can easily walk around the compact centre, hopping between cosy coffee shops, boutiques and art galleries. And in the surrounding foothills, you’ll find the famous Stellenbosch vineyards.

Show More
Show Less

Encompassing more than 200 wineries, Stellenbosch has five wine routes – Bottelary Hills, Greater Simonsberg, Helderberg, Stellenbosch Berg and Stellenbosch Valley. It’s best to visit a few Stellenbosch vineyards, if you can, as each one has its own distinct personality and produce. Make sure you try a glass of Pinotage – this fruity red was first created in Stellenbosch in 1924.

There are a number of places to stay here, but Spier Hotel Stellenbosch is the most famous. Dating back to 1692, it’s one South Africa’s oldest wine farms. As well as producing award-winning wines, they also grow all their fruit and vegetables organically on site – so you can enjoy an authentic taste of Stellenbosch.

Show More
Show Less

Franschhoek

Franschhoek

Travel 30 miles east of Stellenbosch and you’ll reach the scenic Franschhoek Valley. Like Stellenbosch, Franschhoek is one of the oldest towns in South Africa – French Huguenots settled here in 1688, and the town’s name literally means ‘French Corner’. You’ll notice that a lot of vineyards still use their French name, and the wine here is very different to elsewhere in the Cape Winelands.

Show More
Show Less

Thanks to its French heritage, Franschhoek is adept at producing sparkling white wine. Most vineyards use the traditional ‘Methode Cap Classique’, which is the same method used to make Champagne. So, if you enjoy a glass of bubbly, a visit to Franschhoek is a must. You’ll also be able to try crisp whites like Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, and full-bodied reds like Merlot and Pinot Noir.

The Franschhoek Wine Tram is the best way to explore. This open-air tram meanders through some of South Africa’s most notable wine estates, and the hop-on hop-off system means it’s easy for you to go at your own pace. You’ll have great views of the surrounding mountains, too.

Show More
Show Less

Cederberg Mountains

Cederberg Mountains

In total contrast to the lush Cape Winleands, the Cederberg Mountains – about 100 miles north – are a rusty shade of orange, with jagged peaks and incredible rock formations. Spanning for 70 hectares, this wilderness area is filled with hiking trails, and is also popular with rock-climbers. You can visit Stadsaal Caves and see ancient rock paintings, swim in natural pools at Maalgat, or simply drive through the mountains and admire the scenery.

Show More
Show Less

A trip to the Cederberg Mountains also gives you the chance to spot some of South Africa’s famous wildlife. You’re likely to see antelope, baboons and dassies – large ostrich-like birds. If you keep your eyes peeled, you could also spot an aardvark, a honey badger or a Cape fox. And, if you’re really lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of the elusive leopard.

Show More
Show Less

Best time to go

Best time to visit the Cape Winelands

There’s no bad time to go on holiday to South Africa’s Winelands. New vintages are released between September and April, but you can go on a wine tour any time of year. In winter, you can sip rich reds while you snuggle up by the fire, while summer is all about al fresco lunches and wine-tasting in the sun.

December to February is the hottest time of year, when temperatures often reach 28oC. But the weather is dry and mild from November all the way through to April, so you have plenty of time to enjoy the sunshine.

Show More
Show Less

When planning your holiday, it’s also worth considering where else you’d like to go in South Africa. If you’d like to travel along the Garden Route as well, you’ll want to visit during the warmer months. But if whale-watching in Hermanus is on your wish-list, you’ll need to plan your trip between June and December.

Show More
Show Less

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