This tour is ideal as a full day trip from Cape Town visiting both Stellenbosch and Franschhoek or, alternatively, you could finish up in Franschhoek if you are planning to stay a few nights there.
This delightful drive winds its way through superb mountain ranges, vineyards and Cape Dutch homesteads. Your first stop is Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa, with canal lined avenues, and magnificent examples of Cape Dutch architecture. Simon van der Stel was the first settler to spot the opportunities offered by the lush area between the two branches of the Eerste Rivier, setting up camp here in 1679. The fertile valley was soon settled on by farmers who planted the region’s first vines a few short years later – and today, the valley boasts more private cellars than any other Western Cape region (with over 100 open to the public).
But there’s more to Stellenbosch than wineries. This leafy town is home to some of the country’s top restaurants and award-winning producers. Schoon De Companje is famous for its superb ciabatta, sourdough bread (sprinkled with chocolate or cinnamon), rye and breadsticks. While you’re there, grab a coffee and browse the wine counter, artisan ice cream and charcuterie stands. It’s a great spot to pick up an interesting gift or two. Stellenbosch locals are spoilt for choice with a variety of top quality delis like Wild Peacock, for truffle oil and Valrhona chocolate, Joostenberg Deli and Oom Samie se Winkel, an old-style trading store stocked with interesting preserves and spices.
You’ll then make your way to Waterford Wine Estate for a wine safari. Jump on board the modified Land Rover, and enjoy the drive through the vineyards of the scenic Waterford Estate. Stopping at various points along the way, you will learn all about the various types of grapes, and techniques used to make Waterford Wines, finally stopping at the wooden deck to enjoy a wine tasting with a difference, set right amidst the vineyards and with spectacular views.
Onward to Franschhoek over the scenic Helshoogte Pass (also known as the R310), one of the most travelled routes in the Winelands, linking the wine districts of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and passing through the little farming villages of Kylemore, Johannesdal and Pniel.
Hands down, one of the most celebrated wine and food destinations in South Africa, the beautiful Franschhoek Valley, was established by French Huguenot refugees in 1688, and is a captivating blend of European charm and spectacular verdant scenery. The main street is dotted with high-end boutiques, fine dining restaurants, art galleries and cafés, and it is the perfect setting for lunch (own account). After lunch take a stroll through village and stop off for a further wine tasting at one of the renowned estates in this area before your return to your hotel.