The essence of the Cape Winelands is wine tasting.
You will discover, however, that there are so many wine estates jostling for your attention that you need something other than wine estates as your yard stick for selecting which ones to visit.
For this reason we’ve put together a list for you of 30 things to do in the Cape Winelands. Select what interests you most, and then visit the wine farms closest to you.
Alternatively, choose one of the winelands’ villages as a base for the weekend, and visit the wine estates closest to your town of choice…
1.TOYS AND MINIATURE MUSEUM, STELLENBOSCH
You don’t even need to be a collector to enjoy this collection of 1:12 scale miniatures, room boxes, miniature houses, antique dolls, cars, cuddly toys and other toys with a history.
2.SARONSBERG THEATRE, TULBAGH
This lovingly restored building serves as a theatre for a serious line-up of local talent.
3.DORP STREET’S GALLERY, STELLENBOSCH
Right in the historic centre of Stellenbosch, the gallery specialises in solo and group exhibitions of contemporary South African artists.
4.BALLOON OVER THE VINEYARDS, PAARL
Head over the winelands in a hot air balloon, over the Berg River and the vast valley, with the Drakenstein Mountains in the background.
5.TEA UNDER THE TREES, PAARL
Drink tea on the veranda of this period colonial home – the garden filled with oak trees, their bases planted thick with pink, white and mauve hydrangeas.
6.LIVE JAZZ AT VINEYARD BRASSERIE, FRANSCHHOEK
Every Friday night listen to jazz over a glass of wine at the Vineyard Brasserie – a not to be missed Franschhoek regular summer social event.
7.BABYLONSTOREN GARDENS, GROOT DRAKENSTEIN
An incredible food garden inspired by the 17th century gardens of the Dutch East Indian Company that fed the ships in Cape Town’s harbour.
8.SEGWAY GLIDING TOURS AT SPIER
The two-hour Spier Wine Farm and Vineyard Glide takes you around the farm and through the vineyards to learn the history and process of wine making.
9.COURTYARD MARKET AT THE WOODMILL
On the last Friday evening of every month head to The Woodmill, an indoor venue in the heart of Stellenbosch, for this array of artisan food, and live music.
10.FRANSCHHOEK VILLAGE MARKET
Under the trees at the Dutch Reformed Church on Huguenot Road every Saturday morning is a food, art and craft market where good food and community meet.
11.BOTTELARY HILLS MTB TRAIL
A series of routes, and various starting points, running across the 20 farms of the Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy, in the hills outside of Stellenbosch.
This farmers’ market takes place every Saturday in the paved courtyard of Oude Libertas come rain or shine. Expect incredible food products, handmade soaps, chocolate, artisan cheeses and breads and wine.
13.FRANSCHHOEK WINE BUS
A three-hour trip through vineyards, forest and orchards starting on the Rickety Bridge Wine Estate and heading up to Matoppie for drinks, snacks and magnificent views.
14.ORCHARDS COOKING SCHOOL, TULBAGH
Brush up on your cooking skills, or learn something new – Italian, Lebanese or Thai – at the cooking school on Odessa Farm.
15.LE BONHEUR CROCODILE FARM
Guided tours every 30 minutes. See over 1 000 crocodiles, over 10 baby crocs and an albino named Snowy.
16.DWARS RIVER ESCAPE ROUTE
Drive this route between Dwars River Valley at Helshoogte Pass to Groot Drakenstein visiting a mix of entrpreneurs, community projects and little businesses like Kylemore community crafters, a children’s feeding scheme and Johnson the wire worker.
17.BOEREBRAAI AT MIDDELVLEI
With a resident braai expert on hand for advice, or to braai for you, try your hand at having a braai or making a potjie in the traditional South African way.
18.THE CERAMICS GALLERY, FRANSCHHOEK
A working pottery studio and contemporary ceramics showroom of handmade pieces by David Walters and his daughter, Sarah.
19.ARTEFUNTO ART GALLERY, FRANSCHHOEK
Beautiful, handcrafted bamboo canvases for this functional fusion art, using inlays of eggshell, mother of pearl and other materials to create a unique art style.
20.GAME DRIVE IN THE BONTEBOK RIDGE RESERVE, WELLINGTON
A guided tour of the reserve on the back of an open Landrover through part of the Renosterveld Conservancy in the Limietberg Valley.
21.THE CHOCOLATE EXPERIENCE, FRANSCHHOEK
Learn about chocolate, taste chocolate and watch whilst chocolates are made at the boutique chocolaterie, Huguenot Fine Chocolates, on the main road of Franschhoek.
22.WINE TASTING BY BICYCLE
A different and more authentic view of a South African wine farm, combine mountain biking with wine tastings; access up to four Stellenbosch wine estates via private farm roads.
23.RUPERT MUSEUM, STELLENBOSCH
A showcase of the private art collection of Anton and Huberte Rupert, the museum is set in amongst the vineyards and oak trees on the banks of the Eerste River.
24.DIK DELTA FYNBOS CULINARY GARDENS AT SOLMS DELTA
An incredible indigenous culinary garden and fynbos park, Dik Delta lies on a previously neglected 15 hectares of Solms Delta Wine Estate, restored to include edible flora and indigenous fynbos, fat-tailed sheep and Sanga cattle.
25.WINE TASTING HORSE TRAIL
Ride through the vineyards and orchards of local vineyards for wine and olive tasting.
26.FRANSCHHOEK MOTOR MUSEUM
Over 100 years, and 220 vehicles, of motoring history in this exciting collection of cars, motorcycles, bicycles and memorabilia at L’Ormarins.
27.MONIKI’S BELGIAN CHOCOLATES
On the farm Schoonderzicht in the Witzenberg Mountains, go taste chocolates and truffles and stay for high tea (book ahead).
28.ELANDSPAD RIVER TRAIL
A 7 km trail in the Limietberg Nature Reserve close to Paarl.
29SEE A MOVIE AT THE SCREEN ROOM
An opulent private movie house with 24 soft fuscia pink leather armchairs and three two-seater couches. Tickets include a bottle of Champagne.
30WINDMEUL WINERY FARMERS’ MARKET
The real McCoy – organic vegetables, fruit, beef, lamb and mutton, chicken, pork and artisan breads, free-range eggs etc.