Our late summer guide to the Cape Winelands

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Want to soak up the last of the summer rays and see the captivating Cape Winelands during the bustling grape harvest season? Now is the best time to plan a trip.

The weather is also a little cooler and the grapes are ripe, hanging from the vines and making for beautiful scenery. Everywhere is bustling with activity and the harvest season continues for about two months because the wine grapes ripen at different rates.

Here’s a collection of our best ways to explore.

 

5 of the best summer harvest festivals in the Winelands

Winelands

Overlooking the Franschhoek Valley on the second morning of our trip, where elephants once famously roamed. Photo by Matt Sterne.

As long as wine has been harvested there have been festivals celebrating the occasion. Wine drinking, grape pressing, and music are common features, but the different regions and wine farms celebrate in their own ways. These are the top festivals for celebrating the harvest of wine in the Cape – now there’s a grape reason to travel!

Do it: Where are these festivals?

 

The locals’ guide to an excellent Overberg stay

Oak Valley Views in the delightful Overberg.

Just over Sir Lowry’s Pass is the Groenlandberg Conservancy around Elgin, on the left-hand side of the N2, and the Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve on the right. We gathered 11 amazing recommendations for exploring the Overberg.

Do it: Discover an authentic Overberg

 

21 of the best pre-ordered picnics in the Cape Winelands

Spier Picnic

In keeping with Spier’s ethos, their picnic packaging is 100% biodegradable and compostable.

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. From Stellenbosch to Darling, we found 21 gorgeous places to dine with wine.

Do it: Yes, picnics are my thing

 

20 things to do in the Winelands for under R100

Image from Facebook page

It’s not all wine-tasting in Franschhoek – there’s a microbrewery too, conveniently situated on the main drag. The Tuk Tuk craft beers, are handcrafted on-site.

When times are tight, a visit to the Winelands seems unlikely – if you start adding up how much a meal at a restaurant is going to cost, let alone a few glasses of wine. The good news is that there are things you can do in the Winelands, apart from a standard “is-there-any-wine-in-my-glass” wine tasting, that won’t break the bank.

Do it: Yup, the budget is a little tight

 

The locals’ guide to exploring the Boland and beyond

Vondeling has a long-running project listing and protecting the rare fynbos species on its land.

Beyond the Stellenbosch Winelands there’s Paarl, the Breede River Valley, the Swartland and eventually the Cederberg, which all beckon with scenic splendour and a slower pace. The distances are greater, so it takes more time to explore these places, but it’s worth it.

Do it: I’m big on the Boland – let’s go!

 

10 wine routes near Cape Town you don’t already know about

Stanford is a well-loved weekend getaway for Capetonians and their eight wine farms have plenty to offer with beautiful restaurants, picnics and overnight accommodation. This is Stanford Valley Guest Farm. Photo by Teagan Cunniffe.

The Cape is known for delicious wines: it’s kind of our thing. But what happens when you venture beyond the familiar wine farms around Constantia, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek? For the more adventurous wine-lovers, we’ve got some lesser-known wine routes.

Do it: Yes, I’m defintely an adventurous wine-lover

 

The locals’ guide to an ultimate Simonsberg getaway

Villiera Wildlife Sanctuary protects 220 hectares of indigenous flora and fauna.

Northern Stellenbosch is home to the Bottelary Hills Conservancy (founded in 1992), the Simonsberg Conservancy (founded in 2004) and the newer Banhoek Conservancy just south, created four years ago. Thanks to the like-minded wine farmers around here, alien vegetation is being cleared and fynbos replanted, heralding the return of apex predators such as leopards as well as ‘some amazing diversity in the fynbos that is coming back’. We got the top local advice on what to do in the area.

Do it: Take me to the Simonsberg

 

13 wine stays worth dreaming about this summer

The beautifully restored self-catering vineyard guesthouses are ideal for a restful Wineland getaway.

When you’re all filled up with wine, it’s better not to drive anywhere. What better way to indulge than a weekend away at a wine farm? Sip, sleep and wake up to vineyard views in the mountains. These options are perfect for a weekend away whether alone, with friends or a significant other, you’re guaranteed lots of peace, and uhm… wine. Right where it’s made.

Do it: I dream of wine all the time