It was some time ago that I visited the beautiful country of South Africa with my folks… and what an amazing experience it was!
We saw plenteous stunning places, but the one that stood out the most for its scenic beauty and landscape was the Winelands. It being the first leg of our journey, we were still a bit jet lagged and didn’t want to run the risk of driving around on our own. So we opted for a seat-in-coach day trip that turned out to be quite economical and gave us the chance to meet new people as well.
The day started with our guide picking us up from our hotel, the Southern Sun Waterfront Cape Town, which was located in the City Centre along with an elderly Belgian man, and a lively couple from the USA – Robert & Kathy, who even told us the story of how they met. We also had the option of staying at the Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge which was pretty nice too. But a friend had recommended the Southern Sun after having stayed there previously. However, when it comes to Cape Town, most of the hotels have quite a good reputation.
Our first stop was Stellenbosch, a beautiful small town in the Western Cape province. Here we visited the peaceful NG Kerk or Moedergemeente and rambled through some shops and art studios. Moedergemeente is South Africa’s second oldest church and can be described in just two words. Simply beautiful!
Carl Otto Hager, the infamous German architect from Dresden designed the church.
There is no altar. Just a wooden pulpit that was first designed by Adam Albertyn. The church was designed with the vision to be a river of living water to community around, which is why the scroll on the pulpit reads ‘n Rivier van Lewende Water’.
The pipe organ is magnificent mahogany and the stained glass windows are leave you speechless. Leo Theron, the artist who designed the stained glass windows was a pioneer in the field of using colored glass with concrete.
Anura Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa
We then headed towards the Paarl Valley, for a cheese and wine tasting at Anura Wine Estate, nestled at the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountains. Anura is beautifully positioned with a vast variety of soils and a beautiful range of wines, with a passion for reds. We were given a tour of the distillery, cellars and vineyards, and were shown how wine is made and stored.
Then on to the wine tasting where the aromas of different wines tickled your senses and pampered your palate. The 5 different varieties were accompanied by creamy Bries and earthy Camemberts, all feasted upon with amazing views of the vineyards and ponds.
I’m not certain which farm I took this pic at, but the grapes were lovely.
Franschhoek for a bit
After this we did another wine tour of Remhoogte followed by a cheese starring lunch, but we concentrated too much on the South African food and wine to take any pictures. Later that afternoon we stopped for a bit at Groot Drakenstein Prison where Nelson Mandela was released in Feb 1990.
Then continued to Franschhoek. In this cozy little town, we had some time for ourselves to look around and explore, and not to mention taste the amazing Belgian chocolate ice cream at Huguenot’s Fine Chocolates.
We then headed to the vineyard for our tour and met with the owner who walked with us the distillery, cellar and vineyard. We tasted lip smacking wine on a picnic bench under a group of tall shady trees near an old vintage car.
The other thing unique to this vineyard was its resident Ostrich, staying as a pet, and not for food. He loved his grapes!! My dad did get the opportunity to feed him some, but I didn’t want to, since I was afraid of losing my fingers. 🙂
We then headed back to Cape Town, but not before leaving with a few bottles of wine to keep us going the rest of our stay. On reaching Cape Town, we said our Good Byes and were dropped off at our splendidly South African hotel near the waterfront.
I must say that the day ended with everyone in high spirits and after 15 glasses of wine, why wouldn’t it! 😉