Winelands, South Africa - Need a Plan

Mar 24th, 2015, 02:46 PM
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Winelands, South Africa - Need a Plan

After 4 nights in Cape Town, we plan to head to the Winelands for a couple of nights, giving us one full day in the area. While I am a wine drinker and my wife will go along to be a good sport, we will probably want to confine our tastings to later in the afternoon, both on the day we arrive and on the full day. Otherwise, we would be happy with a 2 hour hike, shopping and just driving around and taking in the scenery and any major sites. What I am looking for is suggestions on where to base ourselves - there are a lot of options. I have no wineries in particular that I want to visit and the lodging options seem to be diverse and plentiful. We tend to favor places to stay that are smaller and at the upper end, which seems to be obtainable for 2000 to 2500 ZAR. We are going next February and it would be nice to be in an area where there would be a good hike, some sites, some shopping for my wife, several good wineries for tastings and good places for dinner that don't require a long drive or any at all. Any thoughts?
Craig is offline  
Mar 25th, 2015, 06:19 AM
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Howzit Craig,

I recommend you base yourself in or around Franschhoek, which offers hikes or mountain biking in the surrounding hills & vineyards, a plethora of world-class wineries, and great shopping and dining options in the village itself...and all only a walk or very short drive away, thus allowing one to happily indulge into the afternoon and evening.
Richard Branson's "Mont Rochelle" has received pretty good reviews since re-opening last year, though it might be a tad too large (22 rooms) for you. I'm sure other Fodorites have far better accommodation suggestions.
Happy travels,
Darren Humphrys
DarrenHumphrys is offline  
Mar 25th, 2015, 09:58 AM
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I second the recommendation of Franschhoek. We loved Akademie Street Guest Houses but it's above your price range.
Patty is offline  
Mar 25th, 2015, 06:52 PM
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We stayed at Quatier Francais on our honeymoon which was luxurious and memorable, but it has been 15 years . I believe it is still highly rated and no doubt still expensive! The restaurant was excellent and the wine list was superb, I still remember the sommelier's recommendation.

Franschoek certainly has some shopping but it's the kind of shops you find in all resort towns (think St Helena in the Napa Valley) with a South African spin, it's all very upscale and very much on the beaten path but pleasant nonetheless.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Mar 26th, 2015, 12:01 AM
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Howzit again Craig,
Further to the general agreement on Franschhoek, both the Tsonga concept store ( and Huguenot Fine Chocolatier ( may interest your discerning shopper wife
DarrenHumphrys is offline  
Mar 30th, 2015, 07:46 AM
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Sorry Franschhoek lovers but I would definitely recommend Stellenbosch over Franschhoek to stay. It's a lovely old student town with oak lined tree, nice shops, a vast choice of places to stay and numerous restaurants. We have just returned from a stay there (trip report to follow when I have time). My son and his wife didn't like to drive themselves and booked a trip with Tuk Tuk Stellies which they enjoyed very much. Check the Tripadvisor reports on them please.
With regard to wineries I would suggest you combine both old and new ones. Example: Lanzerac, Boschendal or Zorgvliet (old) and Hidden Valley (great view) (restaurant Overture is superb), Dornier. One farm you absolutely cannot miss is Vergelegen, in Somerset West. This our absolute favorite. The house dates back to the early 1700's and the enormous camphor trees are stunning Book a picnic lunch under the camphor trees and afterwards stroll through the gardens. One day really is not enough though.
Writing this I want to go back immediately! Enjoy your trip.
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Mar 31st, 2015, 05:26 AM
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It was several years ago so things may have changed, but I stayed at the Plumwood Inn in Franschhoek and enjoyed it a lot. I found it comfortable and welcoming with plenty of room, though I'd probably call it mid-range more than high end. It's two short blocks off the main street and easy walking distance to everything in town.
DonTopaz is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2015, 02:08 AM
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Stellenbosch is a nice day visit but would rather stay in Franschoek.
MyAfrica_Jaco1 is offline  
Apr 3rd, 2015, 09:09 AM
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Both those towns have much to offer. Stellenbosch, although there is a university, is more of a "real" town than Franschhoek, which is largely devoted to boutiques oriented toward visitors. At least that was my impression over two visits. Shopping might be better there but there are number of nice antique/vintage shops in Stellenbosch. Find out when the market happens in Stellenbosch, which also has a very good house museum.

I liked Akademie Street Guesthouses very much but the bar in accommodations is very high in that area so there are many other options that would be less pricey in the same neighborhood, which is walking distance to the center of town (mostly along one main street).
ekscrunchy is online now  
Apr 4th, 2015, 12:23 PM
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Thanks for all the feedback - hopefully we'll get a chance to visit both towns.
Craig is offline  
Apr 28th, 2015, 04:33 AM
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I'm on the side of Franschhoek, for the sheer beauty of this stunning valley surrounded by mountains...and the 40 wine estates mostly lining the main street into town...and the fabulous shopping street full of cafes and restaurants.
There's also the Wine Tram, which takes you to a few estates and if you stay in the village you won't have to drive. Or do a wine tasting on's amazing how well you can ride after a couple of glasses of vino!
You will certainly find a good centrally located upmarket guest house in your price range - you may like Ashbourne House or for luxury self-catering The Ivy apartments are beautiful and well positioned at the bottom of the shopping street.

Carrie, Fair Trade Safaris non-profit operator
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