Tasting and touring through the Winelands of the Western Cape

The Cape Winelands are situated in the Boland, northeast of Cape Town, and are regarded as some of the most beautiful areas in South Africa. It has been named as such due to the predominance of wine making farms in the area that produce some of the best wines in the world.

Established by the Dutch settlers in the 1600's with the first wine being produced by the founder of the Cape, Jan van Riebeeck, in 1659. This area has a long history and culture of wine making and contains most of the vineyards in South Africa.

It has a Mediterranean climate perfect for growing vineyards. The summers are dry and very warm and the winters are wet and a tad chilly. The area is mountainous with several peaks almost reaching 2000 metres. The wine farms occupy the fertile valleys in between these spectacular mountain ranges.

Some of the most prestigious wines originate from the Paarl, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Constantia areas and have won many accolades over the past few decades. The most notable wine farms one should visit whilst touring the wine routes are Fairview, Delheim, Simonsig and Spier, just to name but a few.

Dutch style architecture is prevalent throughout this region with hundreds of beautiful homesteads still in magnificent condition. Built by the Dutch settlers as early as the 17th century and preserved by their current day occupants, you won't find a better place to take you back to what life was like living on a wine estate in the 1600's.

Touring the wine farms can be achieved by following one of the many wine routes available, however, it is advised that one make use of the many wine tour operators as the routes are extensive. Popular wine routes include; Stellenbosch Wine Route , Durbanville Wine Route , Franschhoek Wine Route and the Helderberg Wine Route.

The Cape Winelands are not only just renowned for its superb wines and awe inspiring scenery. It has a fantastic choice of restaurants offering the very best cuisine, suitable for the food connoisseur or the pick up and go family on the move. Notable restaurants to place on your itinerary are Pierneef at la Motte and Reubens in Franschhoek.

For those that wish to experience a bit more of the natural outdoor-beauty there are a host of activities in which one can partake, like Horse Trails through the Valley, Wineland Ballooning, 4X4 Trails and Mountain Biking. This is an outdoor lovers' paradise.

The Winelands are truly an experience, on the taste and visual senses, that one must not miss especially that the area is so closely located to Cape Town. A short taxi ride or a tour operator bus trip (recommended) out of the city, and into a totally different world, will invigorate the body and mind.

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