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The Cape Winelands

(Article by Liz K)

The Cape Winelands District is a landlocked area situated between the West Coast and Overberg coastal regions,  adjacent to the Cape Metropole, encompassing an area of 22 309 km². This vast area with its mountainous surrounds is the source of many legendary Cape wines.

Apart from all the magnificent wine-farms, the Cape Winelands is also home to many quaint little towns and villages that are full of historical significance, wondrous places to visit and fun things to do.

Franschhoek


Farm for sale in Franschhoek

The magnificent Franschhoek Valley is nestled between towering mountains and since the days that the French Huguenot refugees first settled here in 1688 it has grown into the gourmet food and wine heartland of South Africa. 

Sit back in one of the famed restaurants with breath-taking views of the surrounding award-winning wine estates and magnificent mountains, and tantalise your tastebuds with international cuisine prepared by top chefs and glorious local wines or visit the vineyards for a tasting.

Meander through the tree-lined streets and visit some of the wonderful specialist stores, shops, galleries or arts and crafts studios, or visit during one of the many festivals held in the quaint and picturesque village, such as the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival, the Franschoek Bastille Festival, Franschhoek Uncorked, the Franschoek Open Gardens Festival, or the Franschhoek Literary Festival.  

Franschhoek is also very popular for weddings, horse-riding, paragliding, hiking, fly fishing, golf, walking and cycling.

Paarl


5 Bedroom House for sale in Paarl

Paarl is renowned for its cultural and architectural heritage, historical charm, breathtaking scenery, wine and fruit farms, large area of unspoilt natural beauty, and for the Victor Verster Prison, now known as the Drakenstein Prison, through whose doors Nelson Mandela took his first steps to freedom.

The Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is a beautiful spot for hiking, picnics, fishing, mountain biking, and its picturesque landscape of fynbos vegetation, wild olives, rock candlewoods, wagon trees and massive rounded granite rock formations known as Paarl Rock.

Other places of interest are the Limietberg Nature Reserve, Paarl Arboretum, Paarl Bird Sanctuary, the Drakenstein Lion Park, Butterfly World, Le Bonheur Crocodile Park. The Strooidak Church, the oldest Dutch Reformed Church in the country still in use, Paarl Museum, the Afrikaans Language Museum and Afrikaans Taalmonument also bear visiting.

Stellenbosch


4 Bedroom House for sale in Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa is also fondly known as `Eikestad’ meaning `City of Oaks’ and its Cape-Dutch style architecture, rich history and cultural heritage can be seen everywhere. Architects and Town Planners through the years ensure that the aesthetic values of Stellenbosch remain intact by meticulously restoring buildings throughout the town.

Stellenbosch is surrounded by spectacular mountains, great examples of the Cape Dutch farmhouses and some of the world’s most famous vineyards. The town itself is a vibrant and bustling student environment that hosts the internationally renowned Stellenbosch University.

Tulbagh


7 Bedroom Farm for sale in Tulbagh

Tulbagh is famous for its heritage and marvellous country living, national monuments and the fact that the town was nearly flattened by an earthquake in 1969, although most buildings have been restored to near their former glory. 

The wine route consists of graceful old farmhouses interspersed with some modern state-of-the-art cellars. One can also find a smattering of micro-producers and boutique wineries. The atmosphere is laid-back and friendly, and the locals offer handcrafted Belgian chocolates, cheese, olives, dried fruit, and various other arts and crafts.

The area is also famous for romantic country weddings, gemstones, crystals, the longest zipline in Africa, rock art viewing, horse riding, bird watching, and much more.

Montagu


14 Bedroom Guest House for sale in Montagu

Montagu is about 2 hours drive from Cape Town on Route 62, the longest wine-route in the world, and the gateway to the Klein Karoo. Apart from the great wines, Montagu is famous for its hot mineral springs, known for their healing powers.

Montagu is also famous for its architecturally and historically fascinating buildings, and in Long Street alone there are 14 national monuments.

Visit the village museum to find out more about Montagu’s historical past and the medicinal herb garden. Nature’s Garden showcases a cornucopia of flora and birdlife, and there are many mountain hikes, nature trails, scenic walks and other outdoor pursuits to enjoy.

McGregor


8 Bedroom Guest House for sale in McGregor

McGregor is a perfectly preserved and unspoilt little village from a bygone era that is surrounded by mountains and rolling fields of lucerne and rosemary, whitewashed thatched cottages, old stone lei water channels, olive groves, fruit orchards and vineyards.

This tranquil little village is home to several local wineries and a plethora of artists, alternative healers, and others who enjoy the spirituality and wonderful nature in this oasis of serenity. Here you will find many outdoor walking and hiking trails, many kinds of alternative medicine, top-class art galleries, and a Saturday Morning Market where you can purchase a variety of homemade breads, jams, chutneys and other products.

Other interesting towns along the Cape Winelands Route include Bonnievale, Breedekloof, De Doorns, Dwarsrivier,  Rawsonville, Wellington, Wolseley, and Worcester.


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