The wine region of the Western Cape is in my opinion, the most underrated wine region of the world. It’s not undiscovered by any means, but it is lost in the shadows of places like France, Italy, Mendoza, and Napa Valley. I can safely say that Cape Town’s wine region is more stunning than all of the aforementioned, not to mention a hell of a lot cheaper with wine tastings that average R40. For those visiting South Africa, a visit to the wine region is an absolute must. I’ve visited many more wine farms than what I will list below so make sure to read about all of the wine farms I’ve visited in Cape Town.
While I’d highly recommend a few nights stay in the fabulous wine country, not everyone has the time so I’ve come up with the ultimate one to two day wine tour for those looking to do day trips from Cape Town. Although I’d like to think I’m a sommelier at heart, I am mostly just an amateur that likes to drink wine. Almost all the wine I’ve had during my time in South Africa is great, I’m just focused on which wineries (they’re called wine farms in South Africa), are the most stunning and picturesque.
Getting from Cape Town to the Wine Country
The wine region is 30 minutes-1 hour away from Cape Town. The closest wine region is Constantia which is a mere 20 minutes from the main parts of the city. Stellenbosch is a bit further away with Franschhoek being further out. Back in the days, driving or hiring a cab driver for the day were likely the only options for those that wanted to see the wine region. Although I’ve driven myself numerous times around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek after a few tastings, I wouldn’t recommend the average visitor to mirror what I do 🙂
Thankfully, modern technology has introduced Uber to wine enthusiasts. Nowadays, there’s no reason to drive yourself anymore when there are Ubers readily available all over Cape Town and the wine regions. An Uber from Cape Town to Stellenbosch city is R300-400 which split between two or three people is worth not having to deal with South African police. Ubers are readily available for pickups in between wine farms. It should be easy to have a solid day on under R1,000 for transportation.
Of course, some cab drivers will negotiate and you may be able to hire a driver for the entire day for around that same price.
One Day Itinerary from Cape Town to Stellenbosch
Everyone is different when it comes to what they enjoy and how they like to enjoy a wine tasting. My itinerary might be bit rushed for some, and too slow for others. Nevertheless, there are SO many beautiful wine farms to choose from and this is just one of thousands of combinations you can make. I’m not here to lecture on wine, but merely offer an itinerary for the average person to enjoy the wine country as I would. This is also great if you’re looking to honeymoon in South Africa and can only visit the wine region for a day.
8:00am – Leave Cape Town
Leave early from Cape Town. The Wine regions open around 9am so you’ll want to leave by 8:30am to get a full day in. It takes roughly 30 minutes to get from downtown Cape Town to the first place.
Start your day with one of the oldest and most beautiful wine farms in South Africa. Vergelegen is amongst South Africa’s top wine producers. Located in Somerset West, this wine farm offers world-class wines at the modern tasting center, and informal diving at the Stebles bistro, and fine dining at The Camphors signature restaurant.
10:00am – 11:00am: Morgenster
Located next door to Vergelegen, Morgenster is famous for its wine as well as olive oil production. If you’re a big fan of olives, olive oil, and olive oil & bread, this is the perfect place. They offer wine tastings with olive oil pairings, which can perfectly together. The views from the front porch where you have your tastings is absolutely breathtaking as well. Make sure to try the truffle olive oil!
11:30-1:30pm: Waterkloof Wine Estate
Staying within Somerset West, the next stop is Waterkloof Wine Estate. This is one of the most picturesque and stunning wine farms I’ve ever been to. The wine farm is perched at the top of a hill with panoramic views of False Bay from its modern, yet classy interior. Have lunch here at their award winning restaurant offering some of the best South African fare in the area.
2:00pm-3:00pm – Tokara Wine Estate
From Waterkloof, take another Uber further into the mountains of Stellenbosch to Tokara wine estate on the Helshoogte pass. The wine at Tokara is consistent winners of numerous wine awards and the best part? The tastings are 100% free. The views are also quite incredible as well.
3:30pm-5:00pm: Delaire Graff Wine Estate
Saving the most stunning for last, Delaire Graff wine estate is in my opinion the most stunning of the many wine farms I visited in South Africa, and in the world. The views of the mountains and vines from their massive estate is nothing short of breath-taking. Their wine is some of the best I’ve had, and their restaurants are consistently rated as some of the best in South Africa. They also have a luxury hotel here (for those that can afford it), as well as a diamond store. If you need to impress someone other than yourself, this is the best place to do it in my opinion.
5:30pm: Return to Cape Town
Delaire Graff stays open later than most of the wine farms in the area. Nevertheless, 6pm is likely the latest the tasting rooms will be open so now will be the time to return to Cape Town fully knowing you need to come back asap (Perhaps the next day). When you’re back in Cape Town, finish the day with a hike up Lions Head. Enjoy one of Africa’s best views and sunsets with a bottle from your favorite wine farm of the day. Doesn’t get much better than this.
Where to Stay for one night
The only thing better than a day in South Africa’s wine country is two days. For those that can swing it (and I still highly recommend it), is to spend one day in Stellenbosch, stay in Stellenbosch for the evening, and then make your way to Franschhoek the next day. There are countless places to stay in the Stellenbosch area from guesthouses in Stellenbosch town to the numerous wine farms that also have lodging.
If you’d like to treat yourselves, I’d highly recommend a one night stay at the Clouds Estate, which is conveniently located to Delaire Graff, the last wine farm on the itinerary from above. It’s hands down my favorite and most memorable stay in Stellenbosch. While I stayed here for a few nights (which I can also recommend), one night is better than nothing. Prices generally range from R2,000 to R3,500 depending on the time of year and rates all include an amazing breakfast overlooking the mountains. The wine here is also fantastic so it makes for a great place to start your day of wine tasting!
Other options I can recommend are also near the Helsghoote Pass which I find to have the most stunning views of the region. Molenvliet and Banhoek lodge are also fantastic options in the heart of this area with spectacular views.
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