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YYou don’t have to travel far to get a taste of the Cape Winelands. Just head on over to Franschhoek or Stellenbosch (or both) where you can sip, swirl and swallow your way through some of the best wines South Africa has to offer.
Tucked away in the Groot Drakenstein Mountains, the Franschhoek Wine Route is considered South Africa’s “gourmet capital”. Franschhoek translates to “French corner” and the entire region has hints of its historical beginnings, and you will experience a pervasive French influence in the wine making, dining, art and design. If you love food and adore luxury, then this is the place for you.
The Franschhoek winelands falls within both the Western Cape’s coastal wine-growing region and forms part of the Paarl wine district. There are 43 active wineries along the route, ranging from popular brands like Boschendal and L’Ormarins to very small, artisan producers like My Wyn (pronounced “My Vayn”) and Black Elephant Vintners. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, Chardonnay and Semillon farmers make up the bulk of the vineyard plantings in Franschhoek, making Franschhoek a “must do” for every wine lover.
Stellenbosch owes its name to the former governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel. He established this settlement on the banks of the Eerste River in 1679, making it the second-oldest formal settlement in South Africa.
IIt lies between the impressive Simonsberg Mountains and the more modest Papegaaiberg (“Parrot Mountain”) and is a beautiful university town with oak tree-lined streets and students whizzing past whitewashed, original Cape Dutch buildings on their bicycles. With its many sidewalk cafes and restaurants, it's an idyllic setting to explore on foot.
Many leading wine estates are located here; and Stellenbosch is home to some of the best restaurants in the country. Look out for Rust en Vrede, Jordan and Terroir, all of which have made it on to the Eat Out award list for the top 10 restaurants in the country.
Known for their natural beauty, charm and unique offerings, you can be sure to find some of the world’s top wines, delicious local food and a fantastic family experience in both Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.