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May 17, 2011

Cape Winelands tours: Five unique experiences


The Cape Winelands. Photo courtesy Mark Turner

Savouring the taste of the Cape Winelands’ pride and joy is an enjoyable experience and one steeped in history.

From the pioneer fertile farm established by Cape Town’s first Governor, Simon van der Stel, during the late 1600s in Constantia to the Franschhoek wine estates founded by the French Huguenots settlers around 1692, the Mother City’s viticulture has grown from strength to strength.

Today, we have several thriving wine valleys including Stellenbosch, Constantia, Franschhoek, Paarl and Wellington. Pinotage, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignons are produced with expertise at esteemed wine estates, including the historic Groot Constantia (home of the Governor’s original manor), Zevenwacht in Stellenbosch and Grand Provence Estate in Franschoek.

Although driving may be the easiest way to get around these picturesque areas, there are several other fun and exciting ways to do so too:

Winelands Ballooning

For breathtaking views of the luscious winelands and an awe-inspiring sunrise, you have to try the hot air balloon ride over the Berg River Valley.

A gentle yet pleasant ride, you’ll be able to see the mountains, vineyards and more than seem to stretch out for forever. With a starting call at the crack of dawn, a hearty breakfast and the ride of lifetime, the Winelands Ballooning is definitely worth a try.

Location: Paarl, Cape Town
Cost: R 2 850 - R 3 100
Contact: +27 (0)21 422 0868
Website: www.extremescene.co.za

City Sightseeing Bus Wine Tour

Hop on and off the fun City Sightseeing Tour Bus on their daily wine tour.

Trekking through the beautiful Constantia Valley, you’ll be introduced to the fine wines produced at the historic Groot Constantia and Eagles’ Nest wine estates, as well as discovering some little known facts about these impressive vineyards.

Location: Constantia Valley, Cape Town
Cost: R 120 - R 200
Contact: +27 (0)21 511 6000
Website: www.citysightseeing.co.za

Classic Cars Constantia Wine Tour

If cruising through the Constantia Winelands in a sexy vintage car while sipping on the best wine sounds like your idea of fun, then you have to try the Classic Cars Constantia Wine Tour.

Choose from over 50 elegant automobiles to be chauffeured in as you explore the winelands and brush up on your viticulture history. A tour of three of the top vineyards and a gourmet lunch at the best restaurant in the area will leave you begging for more.

Location: Constantia Valley, Cape Town
Contact: +27 (0)21 422 3652
Website: www.revel.co.za

Bikes ‘n Wines

Combine your love for mountain biking with your love for wine tasting with the Bike ’n Wines Tour.

Cycling through the picturesque Stellenbosch Winelands, you will visit up to four of the best wine estates and enjoy tastings of more than 15 premier South African wines, as well as a selection of rich cheeses and chocolates. With insightful talks by some of the best wine experts and visits to the cellars, this is one tour you don’t want to miss.

Location: Stellenbosch
Cost: R450
Contact: +27 (0)21 448 7473
Website: www.bikesnwines.com

Goat Rapid Transit

Do your bit to reduce the Mother City’s carbon footprint by travelling by goat to the gorgeous Fairview wine estate in Paarl.

Hitch a ride on the goat wagon at the Paarl Station and get an unusual view of the winelands. Twenty four custom made wagons, pulled by specially trained billies will be your mode of transport with refreshments served on board. We kid you not!

Location: Paarl, Cape Town
Contact: +27 (0)21 863 2450
Website: www.fairview.co.za

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