Guide to the Cape Winelands for tourists

Cape Winelands

If you’re planning a Cape Town trip or thinking about visiting Cape Town in South Africa, then you don’t want to skip the Cape Winelands. This scenic tourist destination provides unique and breath-taking views of SA’s Western Cape province. It’s also a place where travellers can sample selections of the world’s finest wines and see exactly how they’re produced. An amazing experience for both the old and the young!

Historical tourist attractions like Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Boulders Beach are great, no doubt about it. However, you haven’t experienced the Western Cape completely until you’ve explored the Winelands and best wine tasting locations in Cape Town. This brief guide provides information to help you do just that.

About the Cape Winelands

The Winelands region in the Western Cape is situated to the north-east of Cape Town, approximately 40 kilometres away from ‘the Mother City’. Offering some of the most majestic scenery in all southern Africa, the area is rich in natural beauty and cultural heritage. The regional landscapes come together in the form of impressive mountains, lush green vineyards and gable-ended Cape Dutch farmsteads. Truly lovely!

In the Winelands, tourists can tour various wine estates to learn about wine production and taste South Africa’s world-renowned wines. Visitors can also stroll down attractive streets in historical town centres and visit monuments, museums and other attractions. There are outdoor activities such as hiking in most towns. Local restaurants, a few of which offer food and wine pairings, are some of the best in the country.

The Cape Winelands in South Africa cover a land mass of more than 22,000 square kilometres, incredibly (8,495+ square miles). Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington and Tulbagh are the towns which make up the backbone of the wine-producing region. Their wine routes account for hundreds of grape and wine producers, with grape cultivation in the large valleys dating all the way back to the 17th century.

Western Cape Winelands

Top wines from the Winelands

Many top South African wines are produced in the Cape and then exported to other countries for sale and consumption. As a matter of fact, South Africa is one of the top 10 wine producing countries in the world. In other words, that favourite red, white or rosé that you love sipping on might be from the Cape Winelands. Moreover, it is possible for wine lovers and connoisseurs to visit the wine land that produces it.

The most celebrated wines from the Winelands, also known as the “Boland” (Afrikaans for “land above”), are Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, the former being a cross between Cinsault and Pinot Noir. Other popular wines from the Winelands include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz and Merlot. Additionally, the area produces various red and white blends that people commonly purchase and consume.

Different wine routes in the Winelands

The Winelands of the Western Cape have many different wine routes. They are known for offering great wine tour experiences, particularly the larger ones. Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington, Franschhoek and Tulbagh are the traditional routes in the Cape Winelands. Then there are wine routes such as Constantia, Durbanville, Darling, Walker Bay and Helderberg, amongst others. A lot of these are an easy and convenient drive from Cape Town.

Most South African vineyards/wine farms can be found near the coast. The mild Mediterranean weather here is ideal for growing grapes, yielding up to 990 millimetres (39 inches) of rainfall yearly. There are currently around 560 wineries and 4 400 primary vineyard producers in the Cape. The Wine of Origin Scheme divides these into the regions of Boberg, Breede River Valley, Cape South Coast, Coastal, Klein Karoo and Olifants River.

Cape Winelands Constantia

Winelands tours in the Western Cape

There are a number of companies that offer private and group tours in the Cape Winelands. Unfortunately, not all are reputable, so it’s advisable to learn about the company you plan to tour through. At Hike Addicts, we offer a full-day Winelands tour and a half-day Winelands tour. Both affordable options provide pick up and drop off to accommodation, wine tastings at amazing wine estates with a certified tour guide and good food.

Full-day tours are suitable for local and international tourists planning to spend a day or more in the Cape. There’s certainly no shortage of accommodation and things to do. Half-day Winelands tours are appropriate if you’re going to be travelling to multiple provinces/cities/countries and will have limited time. The half day wine trip lasts roughly 4.5 hours, whereas full day tours in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek typically take up 8 hours.

More to the Winelands than just wine tasting

While wine tasting is the main reason people tour the Cape Winelands, it’s not the only reason. As mentioned, there are attractions and activities in towns. In Stellenbosch, specifically, visitors can hike, take e-bike tours, go on off-road scooter adventures, zipline in the forest and visit Butterfly World and the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden. It also has a farmers’ market and places to eat, notably a township theatre-restaurant.

In Franschhoek (“French Corner” in Afrikaans), tourists can enjoy chocolate tasting, mountain biking, visits to art galleries and antique stores, spa treatments and much more. This town is well-known for its excellent restaurants and accommodation establishments. Then, of course, in nearby Cape Town, there are full-day city tours and activities such as whale watching, shark cage diving and quad bike and horseback safaris.

Cape Town South Africa

Tips for travellers touring the Cape’s Winelands

  • Start by tasting dry white wines first. Then, move on to red wines, and lastly, sweet wines. Sparkling wines are useful for clearing the palate in between. It’s best not to swallow all the wines; use a spittoon.
  • There are cellars that don’t accept outside glasses and require that wine tasters purchase one. This can be a good thing, as wine glasses make for nice souvenirs. Ask if there’s a limit to how much you can taste.
  • Most cellars sell boxes of select vintages that come stylishly packaged. You can give these away to people as gifts! You can also purchase mixed wine cases and have them delivered to wherever you want.

Interested in visiting the Cape Winelands in South Africa for a wine tasting tour? Book now through our website or contact us here for more information.

The Constantia Wine Route in Cape Town

Constantia Wine Route

No visit to Cape Town is complete without a tour of the Constantia Wine Route, a rich and diverse wine-making destination with many wonderful attractions. The structures on the estates here are grand and historic, the world-class wines are delightful and the astounding landscapes will take your breath away!

Constantia’s Wine Route hums with the sweet serenity of the Western Cape countryside. Its natural unspoilt beauty makes it the perfect escape from any bustling city. Conveniently, though, the wine farm gems of Constantia are just a short drive away from the Cape Town city centre. Less than 20 minutes.

A brief look at Constantia’s history and offerings…

Constantia Wine Route history

Simon van der Stel, VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope built a Cape Dutch-style manor house and began to produce wine on the grounds of Groot Constantia. The land was granted to him in 1685. In addition to wine production, Van der Stel used the grounds to grow vegetables and begin cattle farming. After his death in 1712, the estate was divided into three – Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia and Bergvliet – and sold.

The part of the estate with Van der Stel’s manor house was sold to the Cloete family in 1779. Cloete upgraded the mansion. In addition, he planted extensive vineyards and added a wine cellar. In 1885, the estate, which had come to be known for its production of Constantia dessert wine, was sold to the government of the Cape of Good Hope. However, the house had to be restored following a devastating fire in 1925.

After becoming part of the South African Cultural History Museum in 1969 (the old manor house, that is), the Groot Constantia Trust took possession of the estate in 1993. Since then, several other Cape Town estates have joined Groot Constantia to form the lovely Constantia Wine Route. The original manor house now features an exhibition focusing on rural slavery and slave life during the Cape colonial period.

Groot Constantia Manor House
The Groot Constantia Manor House.

Wine tasting and food

Estates that joined Groot Constantia include Klein Constantia, Constantia Uitsig, Buitenverwachting, Steenberg and Constantia Glen. These are some of the best wine farms in Cape Town, each with their signature wines and unique history and tourist attractions in the Constantia Wine Region of the Cape Winelands. Eagles’ Nest, Silvermist Vineyards and Beau Constantia are other estates forming part of the scenic wine route.

As you might expect, wine tasting is a major reason why people visit the Constantia Wine Route in Cape Town. And with so many fertile wine estates to explore, visitors are spoilt for choice. From award-winning dessert wines to full-bodied whites and premium red wine blends, Constantia has it all. Furthermore, one can enjoy delicious food and wine pairings and there are some fantastic restaurants on the estates.

Restaurants that serve mouth-watering foods in Constantia include Jonkershuis Constantia, Green Vine Eatery, Bistro Sixteen82, the Greenhouse at Cellars Hohenort, Tryn, La Colombe and Beyond Restaurant. The Bistro @ Klein Constantia, Chardonnay Deli and Blockhouse Kitchen are other food establishments that are well worth visiting. Eating and drinking isn’t all that there is to do on the Constantia Wine Route, though.

Beau Constantia wine and food pairing
A Beau Constantia wine and food pairing.

Constantia Wine Tour and wines

On a Hike Addicts Constantia Wine Tour, you get to explore five-star wine estates with lush sweeping vineyards and beautiful buildings steeped in history. You’ll learn about the wineries and get personal insights into how winemakers produce wines, as you sample them in the process. These are world-famous wines that you commonly find on public ‘best wine’ lists. As a tour bonus, you get to sample delectable foods.

Groot Constantia produces wine greats such as Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon, Gouverneurs Reserve Red and, of course, Grand Constance. Klein Constantia continues its tradition of producing the naturally sweet Vin de Constance. It also manufactures red blends like Anwilka and Petit Frère and various white and red “Estate” wines. Additionally, they offer an affordable “KC Range” on the Constantia Wine Route.

The Constantia Uitsig estate specialises in the production of the white wine favourites Sémillon, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. They also make a selection of blends, namely Natura Vista, Red Horizon and Méthod Cap Classique. Buitenverwachting, which has a unique cool climate, produces rich Sauvignon Blancs and reds. Moreover, it has a “Vintage” range. These are just some of the wines available on a few estates.

Groot Constantia Wines
Groot Constantia wine range.

Ready to discover the Constantia Wine Route in Cape Town? Book a wine tour of Constantia through our website now. Alternatively, contact us if you have questions about the tour or would like to learn more.

Information on the Table Mountain cable car

Table Mountain cable car

The Table Mountain cable car in Cape Town is one of the oldest, fastest means of getting up Table Mountain. It enables hikers to get up the mountain while avoiding rugged, rough terrain. Since its inception, the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway has continued to evolve, consistently providing tourists with thrilling experiences.

Here’s some information on the cable car on Table Mountain…

Table Mountain cable car tickets and crowds

Summer is peak tourist season for Table Mountain in Cape Town and warm summer days are ideal for a cable car trip. The downside is that there are often long queues at the Cableway. There are different ticket options and Cape Town tourists can purchase tickets for rides in the morning or the afternoon.

Mornings tend to be more crowded at the Table Mountain Cableway. Unsurprisingly, weekends and public holidays also typically attract more people. Visitors flock to the Table Mountain cable car in December normally, while January, February and March are less busy but still hot. The air is a lot cooler on top of the mountain. When the “tablecloth” cloud hovers over it, the air becomes cold, misty and/or dewy.

At the Table Mountain top

Once you reach the top of Table Mountain, pop in at the Table Mountain Café. You can have a breakfast, lunch or something from the gourmet deli, refuelling for your return to ground level. There is also a Wi-Fi Lounge where you can recharge electrical devices, check your email and the like. It’s enjoyable to have a bite to eat as you kick back and enjoy majestic views from the Table Mountain Cableway Wi-fi Lounge balcony.

The Table Mountain cable car in Cape Town regularly offers promo specials. These deals make it possible for tourists on a budget to enjoy a magically scenic ride without breaking the bank. Note that the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway closes during annual maintenance periods and when weather conditions are poor.

Table Mountain WiFi Lounge
The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway WiFi Lounge.

Table Mountain Cableway tours

Table Mountain tours never fail to impress. They provide excitement, adventure, fun and beautiful sightings. There are a number of available hikes and tours on Table Mountain. These may be divided at the tour operator’s discretion into various hiking routes and excursions and include cable car rides. Either way, you are bound to have a great time. You can complete a Table Mountain tour in just a few hours on half-day tours.

It is no secret that tourists can buy their own Table Mountain tickets and make their way up the mountain in the Table Mountain cable car without any assistance. However, if you want to get the most out of your aerial ride, then taking a guided tour is a better option. With a professional Table Mountain guide, you can learn about the mountain and its Mother City. Of course, you also get to not worry about planning.

Table Mountain is not just another mountain, just as Cape Town is not just another city. There are numerous fascinating things that make the mountain and city unique. These include rare indigenous flora and fauna, ancient rock formations and a rich history. To maximise our Table Mountain cable car tours, we pair them with experiences in other Cape Town tourist destinations, such as Cape Point and the Cape Winelands.

If you’re not going to be hiking up Table Mountain, then you are going by cable car. And if you’re going to be doing either, then consider a guided tour through Hike Addicts. Our tours are hassle-free and a guide escorts you professionally, sharing knowledge, telling stories and revealing interesting Table Mountain facts.

Getting to the Table Mountain Cableway station

Tourists to Table Mountain for Cape Town hiking and Table Mountain cable car tours in peak season may drive their own vehicles. Driving in the city is simple. The roads, while quite narrow, are easy to navigate and the signs are clear. Table Mountain stands out from anywhere in Cape Town. You may want to think about using alternative transport, though, to avoid the issues of traffic congestion and limited parking.

The MyCiTi bus is a good alternative transport option. It runs to the Corner of Kloof Nek and Table Mountain Road every half hour. Check out the MyCiTi bus timetables here. Uber, which has really taken off in Cape Town, is another option and it takes you straight to the Table Mountain Cableway station. You can download the app here. Finally, you have the options of meter taxis and guided Table Mountain tours.

Taking a guided tour is the best way to go about getting to the Table Mountain cable station. Tour companies provide hands-on information, tipping you on the dos, don’ts and musts. Additionally, they know the best times to go, where to park and usually have a few secret little tricks. Touring buses and some shuttle services have special permits that allow pick-ups, drop-offs and parking right outside the cable car station.

Table Mountain Cableway station
The Table Mountain Lower Cableway Station.

Table Mountain cable car parking

There is parking outside the Table Mountain Cableway station along the side of road the entire way. That is, with the exception of some corners and dedicated areas in close proximity.

There are another two parking lots at the bottom of Tafelberg Road, as you turn off Kloof Nek. It’s a somewhat lengthy walk to the lower cable car station from here but it’s worth it if it is late in the day and traffic is building up. The parking area is about 1.5 km (1 mile) from the station and it’s an uphill walk. There is, however, a free shuttle that runs between this parking lot and the cable car station every 20 minutes.

Early morning, before a hike and the station opens, there is plenty of parking. Hiking up Table Mountain and taking the Table Mountain cable car is recommended by Hike Addicts. Contact us for more information.