Hukana Muscato – it means drink wine in South African English. Jokes aside, a vineyard hotel in South Africa is the perfect place to pair an elegant rosé with a gourmet picnic, choose a fresh Semillon for an al fresco lunch under aged oaks, sip an expressive Chardonnay during a family feast, or drink a toast by the fireplace with a dignified glass of Pinot Noir. Stretching from Cape Town, the beautiful Boland (meaning upland) region of South Africa is a superb wine-producing area boasting spectacular scenery and glorious weather. Along with Paarl, the magnificent mountain ranges around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek provide ideal microclimates for vines. Packed with strikingly beautiful vineyards, lavish landscapes, and quaint little towns, the wine growing region of South Africa makes for a blissful vacation away from it all. What’s more, a stay at a vineyard hotel in South Africa is the best way to enjoy breathtaking sunsets on the southern-most tip of Africa.
Right next door to Cape Town, the Constantia valley wine region, encircled by mountainous surroundings, boasts some of the oldest wine estates and homesteads along with award-winning wines and restaurants. A Mediterranean climate combined with fertile soil makes the Cape Winelands in the Western Cape one of the most renowned wine producing areas worldwide, with all of the grape varietals cultivated in South Africa originating from the Vitis vinifera species brought from Europe. Sip on a Sauvignon Blanc, enjoy a Pinot Noir or indulge in a Shiraz (also called Syrah) while dining al fresco or having a picnic at one of the plethora of wine estates surrounded by stunning natural beauty, like Groot Constantia, one of the oldest and most famous wine farms. A private wine tour is a must while staying at a vineyard hotel in South Africa. What’s more, you can combine your trip to a vineyard hotel in this region with a beach holiday, since you’re never more than 50 km from the coast, or venture further inland to go on safari.
One of the prettiest towns in the Cape, Franschhoek clings proudly to its French roots. Situated further inland, Franschhoek is the best place to embrace Huguenot heritage – 300 years ago the French Huguenots took refuge from the inquisition here and settled in this spectacular valley, bringing their vines along with them. Franschhoek is Dutch for “French Quarter,” so many of the names of streets, wine farms and restaurants here still have French names. Bursting with art galleries, boutiques and stylish guesthouses, Franschhoek is a great place to take in picturesque scenery while sipping on quality wine at a vineyard hotel. It’s also a great base from which to explore other charming towns like Swellendam and Hermanus, or to take the gorgeous Garden Route, sandwiched between majestic mountains and the Indian Ocean, enjoying the striking scenery and some of South Africa’s best beaches along the way to the Eastern Cape.
A stay at a vineyard hotel in South Africa is sure to be combined with a wine tasting tour along the N1 to Paarl or the N2 towards Stellenbosch, nestled at the heart of South Africa’s prime wine region. Hundreds of estates producing world-class wines are scattered in and around Stellenbosch, an elegant, historical town on the banks of the Eerste river, full of interesting museums, superior hotels and one of the country’s oldest universities. Located just 50km east of Cape Town, the charming oak tree lined streets of Stellenbosch are chockfull of cafes, clubs, bars, and restaurants constantly abuzz with locals, students, and tourists. Stellenbosch is South Africa’s second oldest city and small enough that it can be easily be explored on foot. A walking tour of Stellenbosch provides captivating glimpses of colonial Dutch architecture that perfectly illustrates the history of this city. In 1971, the first official wine route was founded by Frans Malan of Simonsig, Spatz Sperling of Delheim and Niel Joubert of Spier, culminating in a large variety of cellars producing some of the country’s most acclaimed wines today. Choose a fresh Blanc de Noir or a beautifully complex Chardonnay for a toast while enjoying the sunset at the end of a perfect day at a vineyard hotel in South Africa.
Paarl is often overlooked by tourists and visitors who head to the more well-known wine districts of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Surrounded by regal mountain ranges, set on the banks of the Berg river with interesting Cape Dutch architecture and elegant homesteads, Paarl is positively charming. It also boasts the world’s largest granite outcrop from which you can enjoy spectacular, far-reaching views over the city. The city boasts many cultural and outdoor activities to enjoy while being in close proximity to both Stellenbosch and Cape Town. Besides visiting one of the many wine estates in the region, or enjoying a wine or brandy tour, there are also a number of hiking trails ranging from short walks to multi-day trails, and sanctuaries, parks and nature reserves to explore, such as Die Vonds Snake Park, Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve, Crocodile Farm and Paarl Bird Sanctuary. Culture vultures will enjoy talking the 12km ride along the longest main road in South Africa to see the mix of Cape Dutch, Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco architecture along the way. You can even pair your love of the outdoors and wine by embarking on the Laborie Wine Hiking Trail where you will be captivated by the Cape’s biodiversity in the form of flora and birdlife. If you are after an idyllic getaway that is also an unpretentious, family-friendly destination, a vineyard hotel in South Africa, paired with a wine to please every palate, is the perfect fit for you.