The Western Cape and Winelands

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Western Cape and Winelands - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Boschendal

    With a history that dates back three centuries, this lovely estate is one of the Cape's major attractions. Recent renovations have added polish to an...

    With a history that dates back three centuries, this lovely estate is one of the Cape's major attractions. Recent renovations have added polish to an already top-notch estate. Cradled between the Simonsberg and Groot Drakenstein mountains at the base of Helshoogte Pass, Boschendal runs one of the most pleasant wine tastings in the region: on warm days you sit outside at wrought-iron tables under a spreading oak. In 1981, Boschendal was the first to pioneer a Blanc de Noir, a pink wine made in a white-wine style from black grapes. The Boschendal Blanc de Noir remains one of the best-selling wines of this style. The recently renovated Werf Restaurant serves excellent country-style cuisine, and picnic baskets are available to enjoy on the lawns. Hour-long vineyard tours and cellar tours are available; be sure to book ahead. You can also take a horse ride through the vines, and there's a jungle gym and hands-on farm activities for kids.

    R310 between Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, Groot Drakenstein, Mpumalanga, 7690, South Africa
    021-870–4210-winery

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R65
  • 2. Cederberg Private Cellar

    The Cederberg mountain range might be the last place you'd expect to find a vineyard, but that's what makes Cederberg Private Cellar so unusual. When...

    The Cederberg mountain range might be the last place you'd expect to find a vineyard, but that's what makes Cederberg Private Cellar so unusual. When old man Nieuwoudt, known to everyone as "Oom Pollie," planted the first vines in 1973, all his sheep-farming neighbors thought he had gone mad. Today, however, winemaker David Nieuwoudt and his small team are laughing all the way to the awards ceremonies. At an altitude of around 3,300 feet, this is the highest vineyard in the Western Cape, and consequently is almost completely disease-free.  All the wines are excellent; in fact, you'll struggle to see the labels for all the wine accolades pasted on the bottles. The Cederberg Observatory is an open-air wonder run by passionate stargazers who help you spot faraway galaxies with their super-powerful telescopes. The little farm shop usually stocks delicious koeksisters served with strong coffee.

    Algeria turnoff from the N7, Clanwilliam, Western Cape, 8136, South Africa
    027-482–2827

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R50, Closed Sun.
  • 3. Cederberg Wilderness Area

    Clanwilliam is close to the northern edge of the Cederberg, a mountain range known for its San rock paintings, its bizarre rock formations, and, once...

    Clanwilliam is close to the northern edge of the Cederberg, a mountain range known for its San rock paintings, its bizarre rock formations, and, once upon a time, its cedars. Most of the ancient cedars have been cut down, but a few specimens still survive in the more remote regions. The Cederberg is a hiking paradise—a wild, largely unspoiled area where you can disappear from civilization for days at a time. About 172,900 acres of this mountain range constitute what has been declared the Cederberg Wilderness Area. Try to visit in spring when the area is carpeted in orange, yellow, and white flowers. You can get hiking permits from Cape Nature or the local tourism offices in Clanwilliam or Citrusdal. Be sure to tell somebody if you are planning to hike in the area. A scenic dirt road that heads south out of town, past the tourism bureau and museum, winds for about 30 km (18 miles) into the Cederberg to Algeria, a Cape Nature campsite with self-catering cottages and tent sites set in an idyllic valley. Algeria is the starting point for several excellent hikes into the Cederberg. The short, one-hour hike to a waterfall is great, but it's worth going into the mountains for a day or two, for which you will need to book and obtain a permit through CapeNature or from one of the local farms, many of which have simple, self-catering cottages on their land.

    Algeria Forest Station, Clanwilliam, Western Cape, South Africa
    View Tours and Activities
  • 4. Clarence Drive

    It spans less than 25 km (15½ miles), but it is without question one of the most beautiful stretches of road in South Africa. Clarence...

    It spans less than 25 km (15½ miles), but it is without question one of the most beautiful stretches of road in South Africa. Clarence Drive—less poetically known as the R44—begins as you leave Gordon's Bay headed south. Sandwiched between ocean and mountain, the road winds around more than 70 bends on its way to the hamlet of Rooi Els. There are plenty of places to pull over though, and you'll make good use of them because Clarence Drive is a photographer's dream. On a clear day you'll see right across False Bay all the way to Cape Point. Keep an eye out for baboons when you're driving; they're usually in no great hurry when crossing the road.

    Clarence Dr., Somerset West, Western Cape, South Africa
  • 5. De Hoop Nature Reserve

    Covering 88,900 acres of isolated coastal terrain as well as the undersea world below the waves, this reserve deserves its status as a UNESCO World...

    Covering 88,900 acres of isolated coastal terrain as well as the undersea world below the waves, this reserve deserves its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Massive sand dunes, rolling mountains, and rare lowland fynbos are home to eland, bontebok, and Cape mountain zebra, as well as more than 250 species of birds. (Keep an eye out for the blue crane, South Africa’s national bird.) Though the reserve is only three hours from Cape Town, it feels a world away.  This is a fantastic place to watch whales from the shore—not quite as easy as in Hermanus, but much less crowded. You can also hike the enormously popular Whale Trail, which runs through the reserve. A shuttle service takes your bags to each new stop, so all you have to carry is a small day pack and a water bottle between overnight stops. Book up to a year in advance to enjoy the Whale Trail, or try to snag a last-minute cancellation. Self-catering cottages sleep up to four people and range from basic to fully equipped. You can still enjoy De Hoop without doing the Whale Trail; there are delightful day hikes, beautiful and largely unpeopled beaches and excellent bird-watching, including a viewing platform where you can lie down and watch Cape vultures swooping overhead. Access is via a dirt road between Bredasdorp and Malgas. From Bredasdorp take the R319 to Swellendam. At about 6 km (4 miles) turn right at the sign posted De Hoop/Malgas/Infanta. Follow the road for 35 km (21.2 miles) until you see the sign for the reserve

    Between Bredasdorp and Malgas, Bredasdorp, Western Cape, South Africa
    028-542–1253

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: R50
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  • 6. Kanonkop

    In the days when the Dutch East India Company stopped in Cape Town en route to the East, a ship would fire a cannon as...

    In the days when the Dutch East India Company stopped in Cape Town en route to the East, a ship would fire a cannon as it entered the harbor to let farmers know provisions were needed. A set of relay cannons on the hilltops would carry the message inland. One such cannon was on this farm, which was then called Kanonkop, Afrikaans for Cannon Hill. The beauty of Kanonkop today is not in its history or its buildings, but in its wine. Paul Sauer, a blend of about 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 15% Cabernet Franc, rakes in awards both in South Africa and internationally year after year. The Kanonkop Black Label Pinotage is an iconic wine produced in small quantities and sold only from the farm. There are no guided tours, but during harvest you can do a walkabout in the cellar to see the action. An added attraction is the art gallery featuring works from 50 leading South African artists. It's a wonderful selection of the totally traditional to the strikingly modern.

    R44, between Paarl and Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, 7607, South Africa
    021-884–4656

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R75, Closed Sun.
  • 7. Spice Route Winery

    Charles Back, the owner of Fairview, also owns the neighboring farm in Paarl. Spice Route produces deep-flavored wines, using mostly untrellised "bush" vines. This practice,...

    Charles Back, the owner of Fairview, also owns the neighboring farm in Paarl. Spice Route produces deep-flavored wines, using mostly untrellised "bush" vines. This practice, which is uncommon outside of South Africa, leads to fruit with great flavor intensity but lower volumes. Try the Spice Route Chakalaka, a signature Swartland blend, which has clove and savory notes. There is good reason to spend an entire day on the estate: artisan shops include Barley & Biltong Emporium; De Villiers Chocolate, where you can join a tutored chocolate pairing; and the Cape Brewing Company, which offers craft beer tasting. At the Grapperia, you can taste grappa and schnapps made on-site and nibble on pizza and charcuterie. There's ice cream for the kids, plus lovely lawns and two jungle gyms.

    Suider-Agter-Paarl Rd., Paarl, Western Cape, 7646, South Africa
    021-863–5200

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R75
  • 8. Spier

    This is one of the oldest farms in the area, established in 1692 on the banks of the Eerste River. The farm produces excellent wines,...

    This is one of the oldest farms in the area, established in 1692 on the banks of the Eerste River. The farm produces excellent wines, which go from strength to strength. The flagships are the Frans K. Smit red and white blends, named after the winemaker. Also try the 21 Gables Chenin Blanc and Pinotage—both excellent. The farm's owners value biodiversity and arts and culture: their enormous art collection is displayed across the farm's public spaces, and their farm-grown produce is used in the restaurants. You can order a picnic and enjoy it on the banks of the river. Visit Eagle Encounters, an on-site rehabilitation center for raptors—your kids will never want to leave. And if you just can't drag them away there is a delightful hotel on site complete with kids' club, so you can sip while they play.

    Lynedoch Rd., Stellenbosch, Western Cape, 7599, South Africa
    021-809–1100

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R50–R70
  • 9. Tokara

    Perched on the crest of the Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, Tokara is the brainchild of banker G. T. Ferreira. For a city slicker...

    Perched on the crest of the Helshoogte Pass between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, Tokara is the brainchild of banker G. T. Ferreira. For a city slicker with lots of money, he's done everything right and has scooped up awards. The Chardonnay was once voted one of the top 10 wines from around the world at the Chardonnay-du-Monde Awards. The flagship red, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, and Malbec, is well worth taking home. Be on the lookout for the farm's limited-release Pinotage, taken from one block on the foothills of the Simonsberg. Tokara also has farms in the cooler Elgin and Hemel-en-Aarde regions, which means it can produce a stunning white wine blend (Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon) with plenty of complexity. The farm also presses its own premium olive oil, which you can buy from the Olive Shed. The restaurant is a foodie's delight, and the Delicatessen is a perfect venue for a breakfast or light lunch. Kids love the free-form jungle gym—as good-looking as any contemporary sculpture—and the weaver's nest they can climb into that hangs in a huge oak.

    Off R310, between Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Western Cape, 7600, South Africa
    021-808–5900-vineyard

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R100
  • 10. Vergelegen

    Established in 1700 by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, who succeeded his father as governor of the Cape, this traditional thatched Cape Dutch homestead looks...

    Established in 1700 by Willem Adriaan van der Stel, who succeeded his father as governor of the Cape, this traditional thatched Cape Dutch homestead looks like something from a fairy tale. An octagonal walled garden aflame with flowers surrounds it, and huge camphor trees, planted over 300 years ago, stand as gnarled sentinels. The homestead is now a museum, furnished in period style. Other historic buildings include a magnificent library and the old stables, which is now the Stables Restaurant, where you can have breakfast or lunch while looking onto the Hottentots Holland Mountains. You can also purchase a picnic to enjoy in the grounds during the summer months.  Vergelegen's flagship wines include Vergelegen V (a full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon), and Vergelegen GVB Red, a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc.  Reservations are recommended for the hour-long wine tours, but no children are allowed. Note that there are also 70 steep stairs leading to the cellar. Apart from award-winning wine, there are 18 themed gardens, including the Camellia Garden of Excellence—a collection of more than 1,000 plants which flower during the winter months (June–August). There's also a lovely children's play area adjacent to the restaurant.

    Lourensford Rd., Somerset West, Western Cape, 7130, South Africa
    021-847–2100

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Entrance R10, tastings R40, tours R75
  • 11. Warwick

    This Ratcliffe-family-run farm is all business. Norma Ratcliffe, the grande dame of the estate, spent a couple of years in France perfecting traditional techniques, which...

    This Ratcliffe-family-run farm is all business. Norma Ratcliffe, the grande dame of the estate, spent a couple of years in France perfecting traditional techniques, which have influenced Warwick's reds. The first female winemaker in South Africa, Norma pioneered the way for a new breed of young women who are now making their mark in the industry. Trilogy is a stylish and complex red made with Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Another great red, the Three Cape Ladies, was named after the indomitable Ratcliffe women, and is a fabulous blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinotage. The Cabernet Franc is undoubtedly one of the best wines made from this varietal in the Winelands. There are kid-friendly vineyard tours that compare grape varietals to the Big Five animals. Afterward, enjoy a picnic on the lawn.

    R44, between Stellenbosch and Klapmuts, Elsenburg, Western Cape, 7607, South Africa
    021-884–4410

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R50–R100
  • 12. Afrikaanse Taalmonument

    Set high on a hill overlooking Paarl, the towering Afrikaanse Taalmonument is a fascinating step back into the past. It was designed by architect Jan...

    Set high on a hill overlooking Paarl, the towering Afrikaanse Taalmonument is a fascinating step back into the past. It was designed by architect Jan van Wijk and built with Paarl granite and cement. The rising curve of the main pillar represents the growth and potential of Afrikaans. When it was unveiled in 1975, the monument was as much a gesture of political victory as it was a paean to the Afrikaans language. Ironically, the monument—although built during apartheid—gives recognition to all the diverse origins of Afrikaans (from Africa, Europe, and Asia). Afrikaans is one of South Africa's 11 official languages and although it is gradually coming under threat, attempts are being made to ensure that the rich culture isn't lost. The view from the top of the hill is incredible, taking in Table Mountain, False Bay, Paarl Valley, and the various mountain ranges of the Winelands. A short, paved walking trail leads around the hillside past impressive fynbos specimens, particularly proteas.  You can buy a picnic basket at the monument's restaurant and find a pretty spot to enjoy the wonderful view.

    Afrikaanse Taalmonument Rd., Paarl, Western Cape, 7646, South Africa
    021-863–0543

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: R40
  • 13. Allée Bleue

    Set against the dramatic Drakenstein Mountains and surrounded by vineyards and orchards, Allée Bleue is one of the oldest wine farms in the Cape. This...

    Set against the dramatic Drakenstein Mountains and surrounded by vineyards and orchards, Allée Bleue is one of the oldest wine farms in the Cape. This picturesque estate is well known for its fresh and fruity white wines and well-matured, spicy reds. You can taste their award-winning wines on the tree-shaded terrace overlooking the vineyards or by an open fire in the tasting room. Bistro Allée Bleue offers breakfast and light lunches on weekend, or in summer you can buy a picnic basket filled with a selection of salads, breads, nibbles, cheeses, and desserts. There's even a kids' picnic menu, along with a jungle gym, trampoline, sand pit, and jumping castle to keep the little ones occupied. The farm also produces a range of fruit including pears, plums, and nectarines.

    Intersection of R45 and R310, Franschhoek, Western Cape, 7680, South Africa
    021-874–1021

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R40
  • 14. Allesverloren

    The red wines here are big, bold, and delicious. Packed with black-currant and tobacco flavors, and with a lingering fruitcake finish, the port (called the...

    The red wines here are big, bold, and delicious. Packed with black-currant and tobacco flavors, and with a lingering fruitcake finish, the port (called the Allesverloren Fine Old Vintage) is an award-winner and perfect for cool winter evenings. A family-friendly restaurant and pub on the premises means you can dine in a beautiful setting. Translated from Afrikaans, Allesverloren means "all is lost." The bleak name derives from a story from the early 1700s, when the widow Cloete owned this farm. Legend has it that she left the farm for a few weeks to attend a church gathering in town, and in her absence the resentful tribespeople set her homestead alight. When she came back to a smoldering ruin, she declared, "Allesverloren," and the name stuck. These days though, there's plenty to celebrate and plenty of reasons to visit.

    R311, 7306, South Africa
    022-461–2320

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R35, Closed Sun.
  • 15. Avalon Springs

    The area's only hot springs open to day visitors, Avalon Springs is not the most stylish, and the architecture leaves a lot to be desired....

    The area's only hot springs open to day visitors, Avalon Springs is not the most stylish, and the architecture leaves a lot to be desired. But if you look beyond this and the numerous signs carrying stern warnings and instructions, you'll get some good insights into South African culture as people splash around in the various pools. If you're not staying at the resort, you can rent bikes from the village and cycle to the springs, where you can spend a few hours before heading home again. Try to visit on a weekday, as it can get unpleasantly crowded on weekends.

    Uitvlucht St., Montagu, Western Cape, 6720, South Africa
    023-614–1150

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Weekdays R100, weekends R120
  • 16. Avondale Wine

    Although the farm was established as early as 1693, current owners Johnny and Ginny Grieve have done some serious reorganizing in the vineyards and built...

    Although the farm was established as early as 1693, current owners Johnny and Ginny Grieve have done some serious reorganizing in the vineyards and built a state-of-the-art cellar that's dug into a dry riverbed. Avondale started producing wines in 1999, making it one of the newer kids on the block. The winery hit the ground running, and its wines win one award after another. The reds are especially good, and the intense Paarl summers result in full-bodied grapes that deliver knockout flavors. Great care is taken to maintain top-quality soil, and no pesticides or herbicides are used. If you're interested in the wine-making process, book an Eco Wine Safari and visit Avondale's state-of-the-art gravity-flow cellar, constructed three stories underground. There are also gentle hikes and a bike track, or if you're looking for something less energetic, book a table at the fabulous Faber restaurant.

    Lustigan Rd., off R301, Paarl, Western Cape, 7624, South Africa
    021-863–1976

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R75
  • 17. Bain's Kloof Pass Road

    Built by engineer Andrew Geddes Bain and opened in 1853, Bain's Kloof Pass Road links Wellington to Ceres and Worcester. The road, an extension of...

    Built by engineer Andrew Geddes Bain and opened in 1853, Bain's Kloof Pass Road links Wellington to Ceres and Worcester. The road, an extension of the R303, winds north from Wellington and through the Hawekwa Mountains, revealing breathtaking views across the valley below. On a clear day you can see as far as the coast. The road has a good tar surface, but unlike many Western Cape passes, Bain's Kloof has not been widened much since it was built, so take your time and enjoy the views. There are places where you can park and walk down to lovely, refreshing mountain pools—great on a hot summer's day.

    Bain's Kloof Pass Rd., Paarl, Western Cape, South Africa
  • 18. Baths

    Hot Spring

    After a grueling hike in the Cederberg, there's no better way to relax than at the Baths, where hot mineral water gushes from a natural spring...

    After a grueling hike in the Cederberg, there's no better way to relax than at the Baths, where hot mineral water gushes from a natural spring. The waters' curative powers have been talked about for centuries, and although the formal baths were established in 1739, there's little doubt that indigenous San and Bushmen spent time here as well. In 1903 the hot springs were bought by James McGregor, and his great-grandchildren run them today. On-site are self-catering facilities and a restaurant. You can also go as a day visitor, but you must book at least a day in advance.

    16 km (10 miles) outside Citrusdal; follow signs, Citrusdal, Western Cape, 7340, South Africa
    022-921–8026

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Weekdays R40, weekends R80
  • 19. Beaumont Family Wines

    You can't miss the old white gates of Beaumont Wines. This is a fabulous family-run winery. It's just sufficiently scruffy to create an ambience of...

    You can't miss the old white gates of Beaumont Wines. This is a fabulous family-run winery. It's just sufficiently scruffy to create an ambience of age and country charm without actually being untidy. But, charm aside, it's the wine you come here for, and it really is worth the detour. Beaumont produces a range of dependable, notable wines, like their flagship Hope Marguerite, a wooded Chenin Blanc.

    R43, Bot River, Western Cape, 7185, South Africa
    028-284–9194

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tastings R75
  • 20. Bontebok National Park

    Covering just 6,880 acres of coastal fynbos, Bontebok National Park the smallest of South Africa's national parks. Don't expect to see big game here—the park...

    Covering just 6,880 acres of coastal fynbos, Bontebok National Park the smallest of South Africa's national parks. Don't expect to see big game here—the park contains no elephants, lions, or rhinos. What you will see are bontebok, graceful white-face antelope nearly exterminated by hunters in the early 20th century, as well as red hartebeest, Cape grysbok, steenbok, duiker, and the endangered Cape mountain zebra. There are simple accommodations in the reserve and camping facilities. For day visitors there are a number of short but beautiful walks—seeing wildlife on foot is a wonderful experience.

    Off N2, Swellendam, Western Cape, South Africa
    028-514–2735

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: R150

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