Cape Winelands

An area of exquisite beauty with verdant green vineyards, oak avenues leading to elegant Cape Dutch wine estates and the charming towns.

Overview

The Cape Winelands is an area of exquisite beauty with verdant green vineyards, oak avenues leading to elegant Cape Dutch wine estates and the charming towns. It is only 45 minutes from Cape Town, so you can visit from there. But, if you have time, we recommend staying a couple of nights to really savour the area. It contains some of the most charming towns and villages in South Africa: Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Tulbagh. Here rocky mountains overlook green vineyards and oak avenues lead to elegant Cape Dutch wine estates.

Indeed the main pleasure of the Cape Winelands is the enjoyment of the good life. Appreciating the wine and the Cape Dutch architecture, and enjoying lazy meals in their excellent restaurants. Browsing in shops and art galleries or taking scenic drives or walks in the mountains. This corner of South Africa is not somewhere to be hurried.

Check out the four main areas to stay below:

Stellenbosch - central and historic so easy to get to everywhere

Franschhoek - pretty and quaint, surrounded by mountains

Somerset West - closer to the sea and Hermanus so makes a good to base to explore several areas.

Northern Winelands of Tulbagh, Wellington and Paarl - more off the beaten track and unspoilt.

Features

Why you may love it

  • Explore the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch. This bustling university town offers a stunning mountain backdrop, interesting boutiques and white gabled Cape Dutch homesteads. All blending in tranquil harmony.
  • Soak up the rural charm of the Huguenot settlement of Franschhoek, the foodie capital of South Africa. Enjoy its excellent restaurants, galleries, boutiques and the Franschhoek Motor Museum.
  • Enjoy wine-tasting at some of the many wine estates, perhaps taking a Cellar tour as well. The Franschhoek Wine Tram makes for a novel form of transport for visiting the wine estates.
  • Relax over a delicious lunch and then meander through the gardens of Babylonstoren, reminiscent of Villandry in France.
  • Watch champagne bottles opened by sword at Haute Cabriere Wine Estate.
  • Check out active options such as mountain biking, hiking and horse trails through the vineyards of the Cape Winelands.
  • Experience world-class golf at Erinvale, De Zalze, Pearl Valley amongst others.

Explore the Cape Winelands map

When to visit Cape Winelands

November to March

Summer

The Winelands has a similar climate to Cape Town - dry Mediterranean climate – but being more inland, it tends to be hotter. So for sun-seekers aiming to escape the northern hemisphere winter, this is the perfect time to visit. This is the time of the main grape harvest so the vineyards look lush and green. But naturally you are unlikely to encounter the wine-maker on a cellar tour.
AVG RAINFALL 24 mm
MAX TEMP 29 ℃ / 84 ℉
MIN TEMP 15 ℃ / 59 ℉

April to mid-May

Autumn

I like this time of year in the Winelands. Though it is cooler, it’s a great time to be active as the sun is not so scorching. Plus there are fewer visitors so it’s easier to book one of the popular restaurants and the vineyards have their autumn colours.
AVG RAINFALL 93 mm
MAX TEMP 22 ℃ / 72 ℉
MIN TEMP 10 ℃ / 50 ℉

Mid-May to August

Winter

This is our “winter” and yes it does feel wintery with the bare winter vines. But this is a gentle winter. You may have rain, but it only rains for 2-3 days every 10 days on average, so you may have no rain during your stay. Winelands hotels offer great winter rates from May onwards, so you’ll find your money goes a little further.
AVG RAINFALL 119 mm
MAX TEMP 18 ℃ / 64 ℉
MIN TEMP 7 ℃ / 45 ℉

September to mid-November

Spring

The spring is another of our favourite times to visit, unless you are seeking heat in a big way! It starts in September when it can be variable so bring a range of clothing. Or there could be late-season passing showers. By October onwards its getting much warmer and this is when Winelands gardens are at their best with beautiful displays of roses and indigenous fynbos.
AVG RAINFALL 59 mm
MAX TEMP 24 ℃ / 75 ℉
MIN TEMP 11 ℃ / 52 ℉

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Kate Bergh

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Did you know
  • Wine Tourism15 wine routes and 2 brandy routes
  • HistoryFirst wine was bottled in 1659

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