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Cape Winelands, South Africa, Africa

Cape Winelands

Fine wines in South Africa's Western Cape

Cape Winelands tailor-made holidays & self-drives


With its magnificent scenery, world-class vineyards, fabulous food and wide range of boutique luxury accommodation, it's not surprising that the Cape Winelands rank highly on many visitors' South Africa bucket list. Just a short hop from Cape Town and dotted among sprawling wine estates, the picturesque Cape Dutch towns of Paarl, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch set the scene for indulgent days, and stays, in South Africa’s premier wine region; it's a setting which today produces some of the world’s most acclaimed vintages. 


In a valley first settled some 300 years ago by enterprising French winemakers, this picturesque town sits front and centre of modern South Africa's burgeoning wine industry. It's also a town that, like early season grapes to a vine, has clung tight to its French heritage. It's an influence best seen in the town's widely celebrated culinary scene, showcased proudly in some of South Africa's finest restaurants. Throw in a small but perfectly formed collection of shops, museums and galleries and there's much to entertain during a few days' stay.

Franschhoek, Cape Winelands


If Franschhoek is French, then Stellenbosch is very much Dutch in origin, founded as it was by Simon van der Stel towards the end of the 17th-century. Its colonial heritage can still be seen in a mix of Cape Dutch and Victorian architecture that makes the town a delight to explore. But it's the rich soil here that gives this region its most acclaimed export.

Surrounding the town, several hundred estates produce some of South Africa's finest wines, which you'll be introduced to on expert-led tours and tastings. Then, after sampling them once, return to town to try them again, this time paired with the delicious Cape Dutch cuisine served at Stellenbosch's many excellent restaurants.

Stellenbosch vineyard, Cape Winelands


Perched on the banks of the Berg River, Paarl is the Winelands' largest town. And, while it might often play second fiddle to Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, it's still well worth a few days' exploration. The town itself is home to a wonderful mix of architectural styles, from Georgian and Edwardian to classic Cape Dutch.

There are some interesting museums and monuments to explore, not least the Afrikaans Language Monument that stands proudly on the slopes of Paarl Mountain and celebrates the birth of Afrikaans as the world's youngest language. And, just outside the town, the Drakenstein Prison is where Nelson Mandela spent his final years in captivity. The main reason to visit, though, is of course the wine, and the excellent Paarl Wine Routs takes in the best local producers alongside a pair of superb craft breweries. 

Wine tasting in Paarl


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Winelands holiday ideas

Aerial view of Knysna, Garden Route, South Africa

Highlights of South Africa

16-day tailor-made self-drive from £3,005 pp incl. flights

This is the perfect introduction to South Africa. A spectacular drive along the Garden Route will see you link Cape Town’s beachside charms with the country’s finest vineyards before ending with an all-inclusive Big-Five safari.

Southern right whale, Hermanus

South Africa: Cape, Wine & Whales

11-day tailor-made self-drive from £2,670 pp incl. flights

Turn out from Cape Town’s welcoming charms, golden-sand beaches and iconic skyline to taste your way through South Africa’s finest vineyards in the endlessly rolling Winelands before discovering the world’s best land-based whale watching in Hermanus.

Pool, Motswari Game Lodge

Classic Cape, Blue Train and Safari

16-day tailor-made holiday from £5,645 pp incl. flights

Follow in the tracks of kings and presidents with a trip aboard the stunning Blue Train, its 19th-century luxuries linking Cape Town with an all-inclusive Big Five safari. Return from expert-led game drives in a private reserve to four poster beds and gourmet meals.

Thornybush Game Reserve, South Africa

Cape, Wine, Garden Route & Kruger‬

13-day tailor-made self-drive & safari from £4,965 pp incl. flights

Take in all of South Africa’s premier destinations on one trip, linking Cape Town with the historic Winelands, ending with an all-inclusive Big Five safari on a private reserve in Kruger National Park.

Places to stay in the Winelands

La Residence, Franschhoek

La Residence, Franschhoek

Contemporary hotel

La Residence is pure luxury in the picturesque Franschhoek Valley. Here, endless vineyards and rolling hills set the scene for whimsical interiors, sprawling suites and exquisite dining experiences, paired, of course, with expertly picked wines.

Oude Werf, Stellenbosch

Oude Werf Hotel, Stellenbosch

Historic hotel

Located in the idyllic Winelands town of Stellebosh, Oude Werf is perfectly placed to explore the sprawling vineyards and Cape Dutch estates of South Africa's premier wine-making region.

Le Quartier Francais

Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek, Cape Winelands

Small & intimate hotel

Situated in the heart of the Cape Winelands, Le Quartier Francais is an ideal base to explore the Western Cape. Set in secluded gardens, and just off the main road, guests have the opportunity to wander out and experience the local culture and ambience. The nearby village offers quaint shops, galle…

Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl, Cape Winelands

Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl, Cape Winelands

Historic hotel

Located in the centre of the green Winelands, the Grande Roche Hotel is perfect for those looking to escape the tourist-congested Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

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Where to go in Cape Winelands


Historic Paarl has a rich cultural heritage. Just 56 km from Cape Town, the area has superb countryside, plenty of great wine and fruit farms, and many cycling and nature trails.


Stellenbosch is one of the most appealing small towns in South Africa and boasts some of the best-preserved examples of Cape Dutch architecture anywhere to be found.


Considered to be South Africa's capital of gourmet food and wine, Franschhoek has been enticing visitors for a number of years and never fails to delight.

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