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IIf you think South Africa’s winelands are breath-taking on the ground, wait till you see a few from above. Cape Winelands adventure options even extend to the skies: you can paraglide, skydive, or soar in a glider, helicopter, gyrocopter or hot-air balloon, for unsurpassed views of the picturesque wine country below.
The winelands of Western Cape province are criss-crossed by cycle paths too, on and off-road. You can opt for a fast-flowing tarred-road cycle, with intermittent wine tasting and picnic stops, or get serious about mountain-biking and enter the ABSA Cape Epic MTB race – a 707km, 7-stage, 8-day team race.
It’s the ultimate winelands mountain-bike experience, and adventurous day riders are permitted to join in for certain stages. The race finishes at Lourensford Wine Estate, and the post-race celebration is… well, epic.
IIf you’re not into bikes, run through the scenic Helderberg; the annual Mr Price Winelands Marathon and Half Marathon is a qualifier for both the Two Oceans and the Comrades marathons. You run a beautiful, undulating route through the winelands of Stellenbosch and Somerset West. There is also an 8km and a 16km trail run. Walkers and wheelchair athletes are welcome at all 3 events.
During the Breedekloof Outdoor Festival, white-water raft, fish in the Breede River, or find that granny gear and winch yourself up the Du Toitskloof, Slanghoek Valley and the Louwshoek passes around Rawsonville. Soak those aching muscles in Goudini’s natural hot springs before visiting a few of the Breedekloof’s 24 wine estates.
Not for the faint of heart, but for some cliff-leaping, bum-sliding, pool-plunging, rock-climbing Cape Winelands sport, go kloofing (canyoning) in the Hottentots Holland Mountains outside Grabouw, and Suicide Gorge in the Liemietberg range outside Paarl.
Fancy being footloose in the fynbos? Slackpack or quad-bike the Green Mountain Trail in Elgin, visiting orchards, forests, dams, flower farms and of course, wine estates.
On the Calitzdorp Donkey Trail, hee-haw with happiness because the ass carries your baggage through the Gamkaskloof Valley in the Swartberg for 4 days, leaving you to admire the spectacular scenery and to enjoy the port-wine cellars and ostrich farms en route.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Tel: +27(0)21 876 3603
Tel: +27 (0)21 883 3584
Tel: +27 (0)23 349 1791
Elgin Valley Tourism
Tel: +27 (0)71 267 9785
Cape Epic enquiries:
Tel: +27 (0)21 511 4766
The Donkey Trail
Cell: +27 (0)83 628 9394
Best time to visit
Outdoor activities in Western Cape are best between late spring (October/November) and autumn (March – May). The height of summer can be blazingly hot, while winters are wet, cool and windy.
Tours to do
Contact listed tour operators or relevant local tourism authorities at the links below to find tours that align to your sporting and sightseeing interests.
Length of stay
The ABSA Cape Epic races lasts for 7 days and 8 nights. The Donkey Trail is a 4-day, 3-night trail. Most other sports activities are 1-day events.
What to pack
Sunblock, a hat and sunglasses are recommended for anyone planning to be outdoors in SA. Bring appropriate gear if participating in a sports-specific event such as running, cycling or hiking. Comfortable clothes will do for flying, casual horse riding or jumping activities.
- Breedekloof Wine Route
- Calitzdorp Tourism Association
- Elgin Valley Tourism
- The Donkey Trail
- Green Mountain Trail