A Relaxing Day in the Cape Winelands

A Relaxing Day in the Cape Winelands

When we awoke this morning, a thick fog had descended on Cape Town. Fortunately, most of the fog burned off by the time we were ready to embark on our day of tastings in the Cape Winelands, leaving only a misty haze in the distance.

Our first stop was the Spice Route Winery in Paarl, which means “pearl” in Afrikaans and is named after a granite mountain that gives off a pearlescent shine after the rains.

Spice Route Winery
Spice Route Winery

We tasted six excellent local wines and enjoyed a lovely view. In addition to wine tastings, the Spice Route Winery offers a great introduction to an array of South African and African fine foods, from cured meats to chocolates to craft beer.

View from Spice Route Winery in Paarl.
View from Spice Route Winery in Paarl.

We took the Wine Route from Paarl to Franschhoek, an area settled by Huguenots in the seventeenth century, stopping outside Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), where Nelson Mandela spent the last 14 months of his political imprisonment for resisting apharteid.

Statue of Nelson Mandela outside Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), where he spent the last 14 months of his political imprisonment for resisting apharteid
Statue of Nelson Mandela outside Drakenstein Correctional Centre (formerly Victor Verster Prison), where he spent the last 14 months of his political imprisonment for resisting apharteid

We had a gourmet lunch at La Petit Ferme Wine Estate in Franschhoek.

Amarula cheesecake for desert at La Petite Ferme Wine Estate, Franschhoek
Amarula cheesecake for desert at La Petite Ferme Wine Estate, Franschhoek. Amarula is a South African cream liquor made from marula fruit.
La Petite Ferme Wine Estate, Franschhoek
La Petite Ferme Wine Estate, Franschhoek

After lunch, we enjoyed a walk through downtown Franschhoek to take in its small gardens, contemporary African art galleries, jewelry and craft shops, and chocolatiers. Then it was on to Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest European settlement after Cape Town and home to Stellenbosch University. We saw many fine examples of Cape Dutch architecture, with its stucco walls and thatch roofs.

A traditional Cape Dutch building with thatch roof
A traditional Cape Dutch building with thatch roof

By then it was late afternoon, and we had burned off all the wine from the morning’s tastings. We stopped at Asara Wine Estate and Hotel in Stellenbosch for another tasting featuring two white dinner wines, two reds, and a dessert white wine.

Our hostess explains the features of various wines during a tasting at Asara Vineyard.
Our hostess explains the features of various wines during a tasting at Asara Vineyard.
Asara Vineyard's wine cellar
Asara Vineyard’s wine cellar

By the time we were done with our tasting, the sun was out in full force. What a beautiful conclusion to our journey through the Cape Winelands!

Asara Wine Estate, Stellenbosch
Asara Wine Estate, Stellenbosch

See more of the day’s photos on our Flickr page.

(This post was written by Kathryn Kingsbury, Ujuzi’s¬†communications coordinator.)