- Price (per person) – from US$36.46
- Duration – Approximately 8 hours
- Tour Departure Time – 9:00am
- Tour Availability – Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays only
- Pick-Up Place – City Sightseeing Booth, Aquarium 1, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
- Group Size – Large; with a capacity of about 40 on the double-decker bus
- Not Included in the Price – Lunch
Home to some of the world’s best wineries, this tour takes you through the wine regions of South Africa from Cape Town. Focused on Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, you get to experience wineries specializing in the deep reds and warm whites, of course with pairings to boot. Together with stops in Bloubergstrand Beach and Franschhoek’s town centre, where the best fine dining restaurants of the country are housed, this tour is definitely a must-do while in Cape Town.
Departing Cape Town from the City Sightseeing booth by the Aquarium in the V&A Waterfront on a double decker bus, pictured above, we made our first photo stop in Bloubergstrand Beach, which gives you a panoramic view of the magnificent Table Mountain and the city from afar. Onwards we went to begin our wine tour with a visit to the Backsberg Wine Estate.Established in 1916, Backsberg specializes in Red Wine, White Wine, and even Sparkling – I was such a fan of their Brut that we had to take two bottles back to Cape Town. The wine tour takes you through the process of wine-making, with an emphasis on how they age the wine, as they presented & talked about certain kinds of barrel materials used for aging that were best-suited for each kind of wine – things I never knew before, but was interesting to know. Although my favorite part of this tour was the wine & cheese pairing; and this is when I realized, I have no particularities with wine. I honestly cannot, for the life of me, tell what’s good and bad wine. While others appreciated the reds because of the “subtle hints of” this & that – fancy reviews my classless self would have never come up with – I couldn’t even finish the reds and I stuck to my usual appreciation for the white… just because! It was an interesting experience, but proved nonetheless that I am not cultured enough to differentiate tastes of wine and will most likely continue to stick to what I’m used to – hello: Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blance, Rosé, Prosecco, and Brut! After the wine tasting, we had a bit of time to roam the grounds that also housed a restaurant and a venue for special events. The surrounding areas gave even more charm to the already lovely place. From Backsberg, we went to Franschhoek’s town centre, where we were scheduled to have lunch – at our own expense – and roam the streets.I was famished at this point, so we immediately looked for a restaurant and stumbled upon Reuben’s Restaurant and Bar. There’s a menu right by the entrance, which presented us with not-so-affordable prices, but upon seeing that it had a 4.5 rating on Tripadvisor & 4.6 on GoogleReviews, we couldn’t pass up on this dining opportunity. It was only later that I found out that the town centre of Franschhoek, also known as the “French Corner,” is known for having South Africa’s top restaurants and is often described as the “food and wine capital” of the country. True to its reputation, we were not disappointed with the dishes we ordered in Reuben’s – from the bread platter, to the appetizers & our mains. The food was excellent, the ambience: perfect, and the service – outstanding!If ever you do end up on this side of the world, do have lunch in Reuben’s – I have high recommendations for the Beef Tartare, Pork Belly, and the Beef Brisket, pictured below. Since we spent too much time basking in the dining goodness of Reuben’s, we didn’t have much time remaining to explore the town thereafter, but we did get a glimpse of the Huguenot Monument, with nature as its backdrop. Onto the final stop of our tour: Vergenoegd Löw Wine Estate in Stellenbosch.Specializing in red wines, we were taken through their wine-making process, the particularities of it, their cellars, and their al fresco area for drinking & light dining. The tour ended, of course, with wine pairing – and as previously mentioned, since Red Wine is always last on my list, I only got to appreciate one out of the five glasses we were presented with. Again, this is probably my lack of being cultured, haha! The last highlight of this visit would have to be the duck parade, where more than a thousand runner ducks parade through the grounds. Why so many ducks, you ask? I had the same question, as I have quite a phobia of birds – including ducks – and apparently, it’s part of their pest management program on the estate, wherein the flock controls bugs and snails. I have to admit that it was quite stomach-turning for me to see a multitude of ducks speeding their way towards what seemed to be my direction. Nevertheless, it was daring of me to get close to them, but felt quite embarrassed of my fear, especially when I saw a toddler having no qualms about it whatsoever. As we bid farewell to Vergenoegd and headed back to Cape Town, I couldn’t help but appreciate the fact that I finally got on my first wine tour & it was in the fantastic country of South Africa.
This Franschhoek & Stellenbosch Wine Tour is a must-do for anyone who plans a trip to South Africa. Evident as it was in the pictures and narratives above, we had such a great time – and the landscapes were stunning.
It was an experience that reminded me of driving through the Tuscan vineyards and California wineries, but still had that special feel to it. So even if you’ve seen the places I just mentioned, this tour still must not be missed; whether or not you’re a wine connoisseur – the latter, where I obviously fall under – be sure to do the Franschhoek & Stellenbosch Wine Tour when you’re in South Africa!