Our two night stay in Stellenbosch was a last minute addition to our trip. We initially thought we’d just stay in Cape Town the entire time, but stumbled on the beautiful boutique hotel in Stellenbosch named Coopmanhuijs and knew we had to stay there! It was our splurge hotel and totally worth every cent! The complimentary breakfast was gourmet and out of this world delicious. The place was adorable and the staff was very helpful. After landing in Cape Town we tooled our luggage up to the Avis car rental counter and got ourselves the cheapest automatic to drive. It’s not too much more per day, and if you’ve never driven on the left side of the road and sitting the ‘passanger’ seat, like us, spend the little extra. It made driving a lot less stressful. My knucks where white the entire 15 minute drive to our hotel in Stellenbosch. (Tip: the slow lane when driving in South Africa is the furthest to the right. We couldn’t figure it out at first!)
Our first evening in Stellenbosch we wined and dined ourself at Jave Cafe and Bar. The pizzas were scrumptious! And it was really affordable, two pizzas, a bottle of wine, and water for $20 bucks! Our first full day in wine country we spent riding around between vineyard tasting lots and lots of wine! I’d highly recommend Tsiba Tsiba wine tours if you visit!
Thelema Mountain Vineyards
[ Helshoogte Pass (R310), Stellenbosch, 7600, Western Cape, South Africa ]
Our first stop on the wine tour was Thelema Mountain Vineyards set in the most stunning valley surrounded by bush vines, which produces South Africa’s signature wine, the Pinotage. We sampled about a dozen wines gazing at this delightful scenery. One of my favorite wines I sipped from here was their Cabernet Sauvingon ‘The Mint’, it was made from a batch of grapes that rested near a eucalyptus field, so it had a hint of the earthy, minty eucalyptus leaves. Erika brought home a bottle of it!
[ Oude Nektar Wine Estate, Jonkershoek Road, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa ]
Second stop on our tour and my favorite vineyard, Stark-Conte! I mean, we were tasting wines on the quaint gazebo in the middle of a pond surrounded by staggering mountaintops in the picturesque Jonkershoek Valley. I was pretty sure I was dreaming at this point. I brought home two wines from here!
[ Kromme Rhee Road, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch, Cape Town 7605, South Africa ]
Simonsig was our third stop, just in time for lunch. The food was incredible! I ordered what sounded like it could’ve gone terrible wrong… carrot risotto with blue cheese and a white chocolate foam. I’m kind of an adventurous eater, so I had to order it and I was licking my plate clean. Lunch was so delicious, I ordered myself a dessert and a quick shot of dark espresso. The morning wine tasting had made me a little sleepy. After our meal we walked around to the tasting room and sample more wine!
[ Knorhoek Road/R44, Koelenhof, Stellenbosch, South Africa ]
Our last stop during our guided tour was Muratie, a very old and quaint estate. I could’ve swearn we were lost somewhere in the French Rivera. By now the day of sipping wine had taken a downward turn in my photography skills. I was more interested in laughing at Erika try and play the out of tuned piano and listen to our guides colorful stories. After our tour commenced, we were dropped off at our hotel to relax, before we went out for dinner at Wijnhuis just a few block from our hotel with the cutest stairs up to the dining room.
[ Private Bag X1 Constantia, Groot Constantia Rd, Cape Town 7848, South Africa ]
On our last day in South Africa, we drove out to the Groot Constantia estate, which is known as the oldest winery in South Africa. We put our name on the tour list and head to the tasting room to do a little pre-tour tastings. I would highly recommend visiting Groot Constantia and their tour of how the wine is produced from start to finish. There’s a lot of history here, since it dates back to 1685! And the wine is perfection! Both Erika and I bought three bottles to bring home.
[ Baden Powell Drive, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa ]
Meerlust tasting room was our first stop on our drive down the peninsula to Cape of Good Hope. Our Tisba Tisba guide recommended it to us because it was only a few minutes outside of Stellenbosch and right on our way. It felt very tropical with all the palms, wonderful warm breeze and birds chirping in the background. They are known for their Rubicon and it was the only vineyard we visited who’s wine was available in the States!
— We travel to South Africa in October 2013 —
See our full trip!