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Overview: We spent 2 nights in Stellenbosch, including an all-day wine tour.

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Arrival, Winery Tour, Departure
Satellite Photo: See this satellite map of the Stellenbosch area with pushpins and then zoom in at least once. Or the South Africa satellite map.
Arrival: We arrived in Stellenbosch, a university town in the winelands, in the late afternoon by rental car from Cape Town. There are many towns in the winelands, but the big three are Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl. These towns are close together; within an hour of Cape Town, a day trip is feasible. The scenery is wonderful, with vineyards and mountains as backdrops.
We stayed at the Stumble Inn Backpackers, where we "slummed" it in a private room without an en-suite bathroom (Susan was a trooper on this one; outside of Cape Town, it was easy to find backpackers with private rooms but not en-suite ones). The backpackers was a cluster of converted houses, with a decent sunny courtyard in back next to the open air lounges (roof but few walls). The bar closed and the music stopped at 23:00, making it easier to sleep. Plus the heart of town is in walking distance.
Dinner wine tasting Our first restaurant choice from our Lonely Planet guidebook (an inexpensive vegetarian resto) was closed, the first of several to have gone out of business since the guidebook went to press. So we enjoyed a very nice dinner in town at the upscale Wijnhuis (literally "wine house"). This second story resto had open air tables, plush loveseats and armchairs instead of chairs, and a romantic atmosphere. The food was excellent, and my springbok (a type of antelope) was outstanding!
After dinner we were too tired to go out, even if it was a Saturday night.
The next morning, we enjoyed a tasty but big-enough-plate-for-two breakfast from the "shack" in the garden at the backpackers; at the bar was a real espresso machine!
Winery Tour: The Easy Rider (based at the backpackers) all-day wine tour left at 10:30 one grumpy hungover driver and about 15 passengers in the "school bus" (which meant there were a few empty seats for extra room).
We had four wine tastings and a lunch stop (actual locations vary; this is where we went):

View at Delaire View at Dieu Doné 1. Scenic Delaire winery, on the outskirts of Stellenbosch, for an outdoor wine tasting and a description of the wine making process (normally there would be a cellar tour but it was harvest season).

2. Wine tasting at Dieu Donné in Franschhoek (literally "French corner") with a nice view back into the Franschhoek valley.
3. Lunch at ??? in Franschhoek (inc. a glass of wine); there were tortoises near the parking lot (no, they weren't on the menu!).

Goats Do Roam (at Fairview) One Too Many (at Seidelberg) 4. Wine & cheese tasting at Fairview winery in Paarl, with a live goat in a tower next to the parking lot (one of their labels is "Goats Do Roam").

5. Wine tasting in a "cave" at Seidelberg winery in south Paarl, with a view all the way back to Table Mountain in Cape Town.
We returned to the backpackers about 17:00; I had a great time and was definitely drunk, as I was also finishing Susan's wine tasting glasses. An hour later my body decided to reject the alcohol (I was just trying to fit in with the backpackers crowd: when in Rome...). While I slept it off, Susan fetched some fast food for dinner. Afterwards, she chatted with the backpackers owner about BEE (Black Economic Empowerment) and how he was "supposed" to get a Black business partner, even though he did not need a partner.
The next morning we enjoyed another breakfast in the sun (this time we shared one!) before checking out and walking to the Tourist Info centre down the road; we wanted to find more info on some wineries that a friend of Susan's had suggested. Armed with a winery map, we headed 15 min south to the huge estate of Vergelegen winery in Somerset West, where Susan bought a pricey vintage bottle for her friend.
Tree at Boschendal Then we drove to Franschhoek for lunch, backtracked to the old Boschendal winery (fairly equidistant of the 3 main towns) for a lovely outdoor wine tasting under a huge tree.
Young Baboon Departure: We finally left the winelands via the scenic steep road behind Franschhoek's valley, heading south for 2 hours through rural areas and back/dirt roads to Hermanus on the coast. Along the way we enjoyed baboons on the road and a big dammed lake.
Dinner at WijnhuisR237 + tip
sole in a champagne sauceR95
springbok w/ gorgonzolaR75
wine tasting (4 glasses)R30
185mL white wine glassR17
750mL waterR20
Breakfast at backpackersR70 + tip
muesli, fruit, yoghurt & toastR27 pp
juiceR6
cappuccinoR10

  Last modified on 2013.07.27 3744 visitors since 2006.11.12
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