A good picnic doesn’t require much more than a patch of grass, a shady tree and a lovely view – and it’s not hard to find a great picnic spot in the Cape Winelands. Many wine farms invite you to bring your own basket, increasingly however, you can pre-order a delicious gourmet picnic – complete with ‘proper’ crockery, cutlery, condiments and coffee to finish – at one of the many wineries that have realised there’s hardly a better way to showcase their wines.
Also read: Getaway’s favourite picnic recipes
Please note: most of these venues will require you to book beforehand, and it’s always best to confirm prices with the specific wine farms concerned.
Great picnics in the Cape Winelands
Picnics in Constantia
Some picnic spots have been going strong for several years – in Constantia, Buitenverwachting was among the first to take picnicking to a new level of sophistication at tables beneath oak trees around the beautiful gardens. The savoury platter is laden with things like snoek pâté, cold meats, meatballs and quiche along with salads and cheeses, while the sweet platter includes fruit kebabs, koeksisters and chocolate brandy truffles, all followed by tea or coffee (R145 a person). Hampers for kids under 10 are available at R45.
Contact: Tel 021 794 1012 or visit www.buitenverwachting.com
Picnics in Franschhoek
2. Le Pique Nique, Boschendal Wine Estate
At the gateway to the Franschhoek valley, Le Pique Nique at Boschendal remains an old favourite. Expect wicker baskets (R175 a person) unpacked onto tables beneath large umbrellas and fragrant pine trees. Dessert and filter coffee is served at the gazebo (Le Pavillion), one of Boschendal’s famous landmarks and also the name of its most picnic-friendly wine range. The menu includes things like farm-baked gammon, rare roast grass-fed Black Angus beef with onion & fennel marmalade and sweet mustard. There’s a vegetarian option too, while children’s fare includes a ham and cheese roll, chicken kebab, fresh fruit, chips, yoghurt, an iced fruit lolly and Jelly Tots (R75 a person).
Contact: Tel 021 870 4272 or visit www.boschendalrestaurants.co.za
3. Allée Bleue
If you love the dramatic Simonsberg setting but want to try something new, Allée Bleue also offers an elegant take on country picnics, from the gingham tablecloths to the ice bucket cradling a bottle of wine or two. The picnic includes pâtés, cheese, cold meats, salad, quiche and more. There’s also a vegetarian option and a R60 kids menu too. A jungle gym, jumping castle and trampoline will keep children amused for hours while you enjoy a leisurely lunch under the trees.
Live music on Sundays. Bookings are essential. Picnic baskets serve two people and cost R330 each (R165 a person).
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday and Public Holidays, 11:00 to 15:00
4. Rickety Bridge
In Franschhoek itself, Rickety Bridge offers a gourmet and regular picnic at R155 and R200 a person respectively, it’s essential that you book in advance – the picnic is laid out on the verandah, giving you a beautiful view over the mountains. Bookings are made for only 10 people or more.
Contact: Tel 021 876 2129 or visit www.ricketybridge.com
5. Mont Rochelle
Mont Rochelle really ups the ante with a few picnic options to be enjoyed next to the dam (blankets provided) or at tables alongside a boules court in the garden. Ranging between R170 and R450, you can expect cheese wedges, sticky chicken wings and cold meats, all the way up to pan-fried prawns and smoked salmon. Call them for details – and it’s best to book in advance.
Contact: Tel 021 876 2770 or visit www.montrochelle.co.za
6. Solms Delta
Fyndraai restaurant offers picnic baskets for R175 a person, or R290 for a couple. The menu includes delicious nibbles like tandoori chicken wings, beef tikka meatballs, roosterkoek and koeksisters. There is a kids picnic menu at R75 a person. Book in advance, and you’ll be able to while away the afternoon at a quiet spot on the forested banks of the Dwars River or overlooking the private Solms lake.
Contact: Tel 021 874 3937 (ext 115) or visit www.solms-delta.co.za
7. Franschhoek Kitchen
Picnic along the Franschhoek river under grand oak trees on the boutique wine estate of Holdenmanz. The Franschhoek Kitchen provides a packed basket of local cheeses and charcuterie, salads, fresh bread and a bottle of wine – for just R165 per person. Each basket for two includes a bottle of mineral water.
Contact: Tel 021 876 2729 or visit www.holdenmanz.com
Picnics in Stellenbosch
You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to picnicking at Spier. You can sit around the lake or meander down the banks of the Eerste River. Choose your picnic box online or visit the takeaway picnic deli Eight to Go. Online you have the following choices: gourmet picnic (R320 a couple), relaxed picnic (R270 a couple), gluten-free picnic (R320 a couple), vegetarian picnic (R285 a couple), and a kids picnic (R90 a child). At Eight to Go, situated close to the tasting room, you can fill your basket with fresh breads and sandwiches, roast chicken and much more as you make your way through the deli. Spier is spacious and comfortable and you can choose to take a seat at the picnic benches or lounge on the lawns. Picnic bookings must be made 24 hours in advance.
Contact: Tel 021 809 1153 or visit www.spier.co.za
For Cape specialties with a German touch, try the picnic barrel platters at Blaauwklippen. In addition to pâtés and cheeses, you’ll get a selection of cold meats, wienerwurst, fried halloumi, and a variety of sweet treats like berry cheesecakes and fudge (R200 a person excluding beverages). The kids basket costs R55 per child, and includes toffee apples, chocolate chip muffins, and strawberry yoghurt.
Contact: Tel 021 880 8222 or visit www.blaauwklippen.com
At Zorgvliet, you can create your own basket at the deli, or choose between a number of options. The snack basket (for R390) for two includes charcuterie, quiche of the day and gourmet cheese and crackers, as well as a bottle of wine. If there will be more of you, the Picnic Basket for four includes a whole roasted chicken, baguette and preserves, salads and a bottle of wine. For children there’s a jungle gym and a basket containing choice of beef burger or chicken wings, crisps, a drink of choice and a toy for R90.
Contact: Tel 021 885 1399 or visit www.zorgvlietwines.com
Long known for its unpretentious hospitality, Hartenberg offers a country picnic hamper packed to the brim with Eleanor’s snoek pâté, cold meats, local cheeses including goat’s cheese and brie, a pork, chicken and lamb terrine, baby potato and fine bean salad and seasonal fruit dessert (R350 per basket for two including a bottle of wine). Focusing on sustainability, the ingredients are sourced locally and the picnic containers are made of biodegradable materials. Enjoy it on the lawns, or take it with you along the estate’s popular wetland walk.
Contact: Tel 021 865 2541 or visit www.hartenbergestate.com
Warwick is simply gorgeous: you can sit on the lawns spilling out onto the dam, where you can relax under umbrellas on scatter cushions and beanbags while being served by your own picnic butler. The picnic costs R375 for two – pretzel sticks, two beautiful salads (think asparagus, red pepper and pea), a selection of cheeses, salami and coppa, and a biltong pate are among the goodies you’ll find.
Contact: Tel 021 884 4410 or visit www.warwickwine.com
Hermitage restaurant at Hazendal offers a picnic (R290 for two) comprising homemade bread, snoek pâté, spinach and feta quiche, Greek salad with fresh homemade rolls, chicken kebabs, creamy potato salad, sliced ham, cheese and biscuits, chocolate brownies and fresh fruit salad. On Sunday afternoons you can also enjoy live music/theatre in the Plaasteater.
Contact: Tel 021 903 5034 or visit www.hazendal.co.za
14. Morgenhof Estate
Morgenhof offers two meat picnics as well as a vegetarian option: all include a Greek salad, three cheeses and preserves, fresh ciabatta, and black sesame wafers. The vegetarian option (R215 for two) also includes a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, a trio of cream cheese and pesto, and marinated mushroom, aubergine and sun-dried tomatoes. The gourmet option (R350 for two) includes a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc, a smoked salmon and mint cucumber wrap, biltong pâté, and bruschetta. Bring your own blanket and sit anywhere on the beautiful lawns. If you’re going to be a group of ten or more, it’s best to book in advance.
Contact: Tel 021 889 2024, www.morgenhof.com
Remhoogte’s picnic basket (R300 for two adults sharing) contains spanakopita, french bread, platter of cold meats and salads, cheese platter, a dessert and a bottle of wine. Enjoy while watching zebra, wildebeest and springbok graze metres away against a breathtaking Simonsberg, Jonkershoek, Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountain backdrop.
Contact: Tel 021 889 5005 or visit www.remhoogte.co.za.
Now also home to a lion park, this estate has huge gardens dotted with gazebos and benches and there are many shady spots for spreading your own picnic blanket. Hudson’s restaurant offers deluxe picnic baskets containing a selection of cold meats and salads, fresh bread, a platter of cheeses, biscuits and preserves, fresh fruit and homemade muffins (R310 for two people). Wine is not included. Bunny buckets for small children include a hot dog, cheese, crisps, juice and sweets.
Contact: Tel 021 881 3590 or visit www.vredenheim.co.za.
On tree-shaded lawns sloping down to the lake, your basket could include treats like freshly baked French loaf with snoek pâté and chicken liver pate, rare roast beef sirloin with homemade mustard, chicken wrap, garden greens and baby tomatoes, potato salad, homemade spinach and feta quiche, selection of cheeses, biscuits and preserves, mini milk tart, koeksister and fresh fruit (R350 per basket for two). The kids’ basket includes a chicken drumstick and cheese roll, chips, lollipop and fruit juice (R60 a child). You can also pre-book a choice of two braai baskets with meats that you can then braai in a beautiful spot on the estate. These cost R395 and include pork neck, sirloin, chicken, lamb chops, garlic bread, and a selection of salads. Order to be made 72 hours in advance.
Contact: Tel 021 900 5700 or visit www.zevenwacht.co.za
Picnics in Paarl
18. Rhebokskloof Wine Estate
Breathtaking views and gardens make this a popular picnic spot, with baskets (R325 for two people) including a whole baby chicken, sourdough baguette, salmon terrine, a selection pâté and spreads such as hummus and olive tapenade, summer green salad, veggie cous cous salad, and a selection of Winelands cheeses. To finish, there’s a Belgian dark chocolate brownie and a summer fruit meringue. There’s also an option for kids, costing R95.
Contact: Tel 021 869 8386 or visit www.rhebokskloof.co.za.
During the harvest, you can order a picnic from Jason’s Hill restaurant and enjoy the surrounding Badsberg mountains. For only R59 per person, you can indulge in a chicken wrap, selection of cheeses, biltong, cold meats and something sweet to finish. If you’d like to include a bottle of wine, you’ll pay R120 per person. Kids can snack on a sweets, ham and cheese sandwich or croissant, a yoghurt and a cool drink (R59 a person). Blanket and glasses provided.
Contact: Tel 023 344 3256 or visit www.badsberg.co.za.
Picnics in Stanford
20. Klein River Cheeses
Enjoy delicious picnic lunches on the banks of the tranquil Klein River, under the trees on the extensive lawns or on the veranda of the beautifully renovated Picnic Shed. The basket option (R150 a couple) contains warm bread, mini quiches, seasonal salads, fruit or preserves, a Klein River cheese platter and cold meats; there is also a choose-your-own option. Kiddies mini picnics (R42 – R59) are served in individual picnic baskets. Wine isn’t included, but you can buy something to drink from the deli.
Contact: Tel 028 341 0693 or visit www.kleinrivercheese.co.za
Picnics in Robertson
21. Ashton Wine Cellar
Sit on the stoep or soft green grass (blankets provided) and tuck into ciabatta, a variety of cheeses, olives, figs, carpaccio, chocolate for dessert, and a bottle of wine or grape juice (R200 for two adults sharing, and R250 for three). The menu changes depending on what’s available, so check with them for the dates you’d like to visit. There’s a Jungle gym for kids and a giant chess board for intellectuals!
Contact: Tel 023 615 1135 or visit www.ashtonkelder.co.za.
At Viljoensdrift, you can take a boat ride on the Breede River, lay your blanket on its banks or simply sit on the deck. Picnics consist of an array of breads, cold meats, pâté, preserves, simple snacks, sweets and seasonal salads from their choose your own selection. Baskets are packed for two or three people, each with fully biodegradable and compostable utensils.
Contact: Tel 023 615 6017 or visit www.viljoensdrift.co.za
Picnics in Noordhoek
23. Cape Point Vineyards
Less than an hour’s drive from Cape Point lies Cape Point Vineyards. Settle into the backdrop of the Noordhoek amphitheatre which overlooks Noordhoek beach, wild fynbos and manicured vineyards. A wide selection of picnic baskets are offered, from a full meal of the farmer’s basket (R395 a couple) to snack options if you’re not very hungry. Picnic blankets, picnic tables, and pillows are provided: you’ll have to buy your wine separately though.
Contact: Tel 021 789 0900 or visit www.noordhoekvineyards.co.za
Cape Winelands ‘BYO’ picnic spots
Most wine farms are open to the public at different times and some require that you reserve a spot a day in advance for BYO (bring your own) picnics. Wine farms allowing BYO picnics include:
Backsberg Picnic Concerts Series 2015
Visit Backsberg on Sunday afternoons from 15 February to 15 March 2015 to picnic in front of local bands, with breath-taking farm scenery as a back-drop. Food is available, or BYO and buy a few chilled bottles at cellar prices.
Other great picnic spots within Cape Town include Table Mountain, Buffels bay and Bordjiesdrif in Cape Point Nature reserve, Tokai Forest, Oudekraal, Company Gardens in Cape Town CBD, Silvermine, Lions Head, Signal Hill and Maynardville Park in Wynberg.
Picnic wine suggestions
Whatever you choose to drink outdoors on a warm, sunny day should be refreshing – the citrus fruit and minerality of a crisp, acidic Sauvignon Blanc or an unwooded Chenin Blanc; the fresh melon and strawberry flavours of a dry but fruity Rosé; the relative lightness of a Pinot Noir (note that even red wine should be served chilled); the effervescence of a Méthode Cap Classique (there’s nothing like bubbles to raise a picnic to another level altogether). Avoid oak (the only wood in your basket should be the cheeseboard and a few toothpicks) and don’t go for anything too complex: all subtlety will be lost in the fresh air and sunshine.