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Franschhoek & The Winelands

Just a short hop from Cape Town, venturing into the ‘uplands’, you'll find yourself in the heart of South Africa’s superb wine making region, the oldest wine industry outside of Europe.

Franschhoek, Stellenbosch and Paarl make up the core of the Winelands, nestled in the magnificent and rugged Cape Fold Mountain ranges, where the verdant valleys provide ideal micro-climates for the vines. Here you can enjoy the slower pace of life as you sample the grapes at quaint farmsteads and vineyards against the spectacular mountainous backdrop – the sunsets here are spectacular. These areas are particularly well-known for the high-quality tastings of South Africa’s renowned Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, but you should also look out for the new producers who have expertly blended Bordeaux with great results.

Stellenbosch is an age old established wine town, which has an elegant colonial vibe with some interesting cultural museums to punctuate the quaffing of seriously good wines. There’s been a colonial settlement here since the end of the 17th century when the Dutch first founded the town.

If you like to pair gourmet foods with your wines, then head to South Africa’s gastronomic centre, Franschhoek, where you can find fine dining and innovative cuisine overlooking idyllic vineyard views. For a more informal vibe Tuk Tuk Microbrewery on the high street serves up a delicious Mexican menu with a plethora of craft beers. You can also explore this unique region aboard the Wine Tram, a half-bus half-tram which transports you around a loop of stops to experience the activities each vineyard has to offer such as wine tastings, cellar tours, picnic lunches or simply jump off and stroll through the beautiful vineyards. After long lazy afternoons with a wine glass in hand, work up a sweat in the Mont Rochelle hiking area in the hills above Franschhoek. Signposted, with a range of routes available and cracking views of the koppies (mountains) these hikes provide a welcome break from the over-indulging and a good reason to re-indulge afterwards!

For those interested in more than just the vines we highly recommend a visit to the Franschhoek Motor Museum with its collection of vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles dating back over 100 years, this is sure to captivate even those not-so-keen motorists. We recommend you spend a few days in this region, staying in a romantic farmhouse or a boutique hotel to round off your day in luxury.

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