Journey to South Africa

Day Four: The Cape Winelands

Sadly, the next day we had to leave Cape Town. I could have stayed another week and still wanted to stay longer. There is so much to do there and the landscape is so beautiful. There was also a lot of shopping to do that we never got around to.  (Happy early anniversary, sweetie!)  Hopefully we can find some good shops later on the tour. Unfortunately we awoke to another day of the tablecloth cloud, so we didn´t get to go up Table Mountain, which is apparently a must see while in Cape Town. I was disappointed but didn´t dwell on it too much because today was a day of wine tasting in the towns of Paarl, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch.

Jon and I love wine and we were happy to get to taste the difference between Chilean and South African wine. Our first stop was Fairview, a winery outside of Paarl known for its cheeses. They have a cute gimmick using goats as the label of the winery. Outside the winery they have a tower and three mountain goats, kind of like the llama pen outside Emiliana. They took the old lables of French wine and changed them to goat themed names such as Goats do Roam instead of Cotes du Rhone. I´m a sucker when companies put some thought into their marketing, so I was a fan.

One of the goats at Fairview

When we got inside we were able to choose six different wines from their list. We were also allowed to take our wine over to the cheese display area and pig out on different cheeses like feta and fig, blue cheese, camembert, and brie. Both the wine and the cheese were good. My favorite was this really stinky, creamy goat cheese covered in ash. It tasted kind of like how goats smell. No one else liked it, but I sure did. For the sake of my marriage though, I decided not to buy it because it made my breath very stinky.

Our guide, Pepe, and me at wine tasting

We drove on to the next winery in Franschhoek, separated by the Paarl Valley by a very tall coastal mountain range.   Franschhoek stands for French corner. French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution settled this area and discovered it was a great climate for growing wine, and I´m sure glad they did. In Franschoek we had a nice lunch at La Motte. They had a beautiful pond, river, and bridge leading to a luxurious tasting room. Jon kept calling it La Monet because the garden was so beautiful like Monet´s paintings.

View of the Franschhoek Valley from above
In the gardens of La Motte. The picture doesn’t do it justice
I loved the chandeliers in the restaurant at La Motte
Yummy meal of Springbok at La Motte


Wine tasting is always so fun and there were a TON of wineries that we passed along the way. Again, you could have spent weeks there. Our last stop of the day was at Delaire-Graff, a winery high on a hilltop with an amazing manicured garden at the entrance. The tasting room and restaurants were extremely opulent and the view down to the valley was unbeatable. I was a little put off by the winemaker´s desire to show off all his wealth in his winery. Who really needs a jewelry store full of diamonds at a winery? I guess diamond moguls do. I had the five course wine tasting all by myself so was a little tipsy which was fun. Jon´s yellow fever shot was kicking in that day so he wasn´t feeling so well. He was shivering and feverish. While I drank the wine, Pepe, Jon, and I got in a lengthy discussion about American politics and comparing the two countries´ governments. It was fun!

View of the valley from Delaire-Graff
Delaire-Graff Winery in Stellenbosch
Looking out at the Helshoogte Valley from Delaire-Graff. (Don’t worry, I can’t pronounce these Afrikaans words either…)

After our last winery of the day we headed to our hotel, the Banhoek Lodge. Once we walked to our enormous room on the second floor surrounded by glass windows and the best view of the vineyards I wished we had finished wine tasting earlier and just enjoyed our room. The room had a wrap around porch to look out at the view and we could have had a bottle of wine there as the sun set. Oh well, it was an AMAZING location for a boutique hotel.

The View out to the valley from our room in Banhoek Lodge. The wind was so crazy that night it blew the vase with the flower over and it shattered.
View out the window from Banhoek Lodge. Not bad!

Pepe had made a reservation at a well-regarded restaurant in Stellenbosch for us for dinner called Terroire. We ate out on a patio and the sunset through the trees was magnificent. The food was good as well, although we waited a REALLY long time to get served again. Pepe asked when we wanted her to pick us up from the restaurant. She originally said 9:30. Considering it was only seven, we thought that was too long so we said 9:00. Well, when she arrived two hours later we were still eating our mains. Luckily my mushroom linguini was delicious and Jon´s kudu steak was cooked perfectly. We opted for no dessert since we were so full from all the food we´d eaten that day. It´s interesting to pre pay for all your meals, as we did when we booked the tour with Pepe. You can order whatever you want, and she pays the bill.  I don´t think we´ve been doing such a good job of maximizing the money we spend on food, but I will try to do more of that in the future.


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  1. Rachel

    So much fun to read about your trip, and brings back great memories of my own trip in. 2010! We went to Fairview also when we were in the Winelands. Have a GREAT rest of your time in South Africa!


  2. Sissy

    This day sounds perfect and right up my alley! Everything sounds so yummy that you have eaten. Hopefully Jon recovered from the aftermath of his shot- why did it take so long to kick in?!?


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