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.

Constantia wine region information

Constantia wine region

The Constantia wine region in affluent Constantia is one of South Africa’s most historic and prestigious wine-growing areas. Situated approximately 15 kilometres south of central Cape Town in the Western Cape, it is home to more than 10 active wine farms. Nine of these form part of the Constantia Wine Route. The wine farms extend across Constantia Valley, which lies to the east of the Constantiaberg mountain.

Constantia is famous for its flavourful high-quality wines. Prior to the 20th century, the area was celebrated for its Vin de Constance, a sweet dessert wine from Muscat de Frontignan grapes. Napoleon Bonaparte consumed many litres of it in the years leading up to his death. These days, the world recognises Constantia as a top producer of not only Muscat Blanc dessert wines but also premium Sauvignon Blanc and Bordeaux Blends.

Production of wine aside, the Cape’s Constantia has become a sought-after residential area over the years. The leafy suburb has beautiful family homes, excellent schools and top-notch amenities. It provides extraordinary views and has many adventurous and enjoyable activities suitable for both children and adults. Constantia is big on wine tasting and cuisine (especially fine dining) and tourist accommodation is superb.

Constantia wine region – wine tasting rooms and estates

The “cradle of winemaking in Cape Town”, Constantia, has a long history of wine manufacturing. In fact, the wine estates in this region saw the production of some of South Africa’s very first wines. Their legacy brings to light the admirable passion of the estate founders and personnel and their indisputable ability to create world-class wines that people love. The aromatic wines are delightful, as many have come to discover.

Due to the variety that exists within the wine region of Constantia, there’s a wine to satisfy most palates. The area’s assortment of estates, shops and wine tasting rooms make available various exclusive wine specialties (often paired with food) for visitors to enjoy as they take in splendid vistas. For those who appreciate aged wines, there are vintage tasting rooms. Estates will generally sell wine directly to the public.

Constantia Wine Route estates

Groot Constantia

This is the oldest wine estate in the Constantia wine region. It was established in 1685 by the VOC Governor of the Cape of Good Hope, Simon van der Stel. Groot Constantia is notable for its old-world-charm and Dutch architecture. It has a Cape Dutch Manor House, a wine museum and a cultural history museum, and visitors can relish wine and chocolate tastings. The estate produces award-winning dessert wine, specifically Grand Constance, as well as blends such as Constantia Cabernet Sauvignon and Gouverneurs Reserve Red.

Klein Constantia

Klein Constantia Wine Estate was born from its parent estate, Groot Constantia, and features lovely vineyards and scenery. The estate is set on the upper foothills of the Constantiaberg amidst lush greenery and longstanding trees, bestowing great views of Constantia Valley and False Bay. There’s a bistro on the property that offers a unique wine and food experience. Klein Constantia produces a top-shelf Estate range, an approachable KC variety, Vin de Constance and the premium red blends Anwilka and Petit Frère.


Buitenverwachting is an attractive wine farm on the slopes of the magnificent Constantiaberg facing the east. It is located about 12 kilometres from False Bay. Buitenverwachting is historical, originally forming part of Simon van der Stel’s Constantia Estate. The wine estate has been owned and cherished by several families. The fresh, full-body Sauvignon Blancs and reds that it produces today are the result of this and the area’s unique cool climate. The restaurant and coffee shop at Buitenverwachting serve delicious food, coffee and treats.

Constantia Uitsig

Uitsig Constantia gets its name for its position in Constantia Valley. The wine farm nestles between the east-facing slopes of Constantiaberg and False Bay. Here, glorious vineyards and mountains stretch on for yonks. Due to its position, climate and growing conditions, Constantia Uitsig specialises in producing white wines, particularly Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. On wine tastings, these are paired with an artisanal cheese and charcuterie platters. There is a restaurant, bike park and heritage market in Uitsig.

The other wine estates that make up the Constantia Wine Route are Eagles’ Nest, Constantia Glen, Silvermist Vineyards, Steenberg and Beau Constantia. All of these offer exclusive wine tasting experiences.

Constantia wine route estates
Groot Constantia is where it all started!

History of winemaking in Constantia

Winemaking is an age-old practice in Constantia that dates back well over 300 years. Constantia is so large and fertile that it gave birth to multiple wine estates. Simon van de Stel’s influence and actions brought about the foundations of Groot Constantia. During the years that followed, the estate expanded, and today the Constantia wine region is a wine-making wonderland that stimulates the senses of wine lovers worldwide.

Constantia’s wines grew in popularity in the 18th century, thanks to prominent royals, aristocrats and icons. They fell in love with the sweet crisp wine, then called Constantia Wyn. Simon van de Stel manufactured the first Constantia Wyn in the late 1600s. In the 1720s, Johannes Colijn took over, producing it in the cellar at Hoop op Constantia. Later, the wines were produced in the Cloete Cellar. It still stands at Groot Constantia.

In the 1880s, an outbreak of grape phylloxera devastated the Cape’s vineyards. After this event, the production of sweet Constantia wines continued. However, on a very small scale. Then, in 1980, a new wine beginning dawned, with Duggie Jooste purchasing Klein Constantia. He collaborated with winemaker Ross Gower and Professor Chris Orferr to re-create the early Constantia wines made from Muscat Blanc à Petits Grains.

Groot Constantia
The Cloete Cellar at Groot Constantia.

Things to do in Constantia

Constantia is amongst the Western Cape’s greenest areas, with gorgeous fields sprawling on for kilometres and miles. The vineyards open up to meet the mountainous backdrop, painting the perfect picture of nature on any day. A visit to the naturally gifted area provides a lot of opportunities to explore the beautiful surrounds, go on wine tasting tours through wine farms in Constantia and engage in a range of pleasurable activities.

A selection of bars, music festivals, live shows and eateries exist in and around Constantia. For those looking to wind down and relax, the Constantia wine region has wellness spas and cultural and outdoor activities. Outside activities are always a good option because of the region’s incredible beauty. Whether you are walking, cycling, running, hiking, having a picnic or touring a nature reserve, you’re bound to enjoy yourself.

The wine region of Constantia is a nature lover’s delight and the cellar wine tours are fantastic. A Constantia wine tour takes visitors deep into the world of winemaking. On a guided Constantia Wine Route tour (you will want to book through a reputable tour company), you learn about the history of the region and its estates and wines. You also get to sample the appetising flavours and smells of delectable wines and foods.

Wine farm picnics
There’s nothing like a relaxing wine farm picnic in Constantia.

Constantia Cape Town Accommodation

As mentioned, Constantia offers terrific accommodation. Options include five-star luxury hotels such as The Last Word Constantia, Nova Constantia and Silvermist Mountain Lodge and boutique hotels such as Cellars Hohenort, The Andros and others. In addition, there are numerous guest houses, bed and breakfasts and affordable self-catering accommodations. You won’t struggle to find a place to stay in Constantia.

The Constantia Wine Route is a short distance and drive from central Cape Town. Therefore, visitors to the Constantia wine region will often stay in their accommodation in Cape Town rather than relocating to Constantia. Tourists also have the option of staying in scenic Camps Bay, which is about 25 minutes from Constantia Valley. This area is well known for its upmarket accommodation and stunning beaches.

Constantia accommodation
The Cellars Hohenort Hotel in Constantia, Cape Town.

Getting to Constantia from Cape Town

Because Constantia is near to downtown Cape Town, travelling between the two destinations is quick and convenient. This is one reason why Constantia is a desirable suburb to reside in. Of course, the proximity also suits those planning to stay in temporary accommodations. Scouting for a venue for a special occasion? Constantia won’t disappoint, whether it’s a wedding, an anniversary, a birthday party or a work function.

Getting to Constantia from Cape Town central is quite simple and there are a few different routes that drivers can take. The shortest metropolitan route is via the M3 but travellers can also easily reach their destination using the M63 or the N2. Motorists will typically reach Constantia in under 30 minutes with either route. If there is a lot of traffic on the roads and/or if there aren’t roadworks in progress, then it could take longer.

If you’re interested in visiting the Constantia wine region for a memorable wine tasting tour, you can book through our website here. Alternatively, contact us here if you’d like more information.