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 Cape Winelands | Wine Routes  NEAR CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA

Wine Tasting, Fine Cuisine and Cape Dutch Architecture

Apart from Cape Town's idyllic beaches, majestic mountains and adventure around every corner, the Cape Winelands offers wine tasting of the region's world class wines, even more scenic beauty and historic towns to explore -- all within an hour or two's drive of Cape Town's waterfront.

There are several wines routes to choose from, each offering its own geographical and historic ambience. Many fine examples of historic whitewashed Cape Dutch buildings with their characteristic ornate gables are scattered throughout the Winelands.


Wine Routes near Cape Town


Cape Point

Constantia Valley









View Wine Routes near Cape Town, South Africa in a larger map

A wine route can take a day or several days because apart from visiting the estates there are activities that complement the visit. Some include, seasonal festivals, food pairing experiences, fly fishing, horse riding or an indulgent spa experience. Let us not forget the wine tasting picnic walk with donkeys!

Many of the estates are open to the public for wine tasting and wine/food pairing but some are open by appointment only. Some estates have on site restaurants and others offer walks or drives on the estate. South Africa has a high percentage of Fairtrade certified wineries, one of the highest in the world.

Please note: Distances and timed travel are not exact and serve as an indication only.

The Cape Winelands

[2:42 min] [Attribution: Mendolsohnmedia]

The Cape Winelands are framed by mountain ranges. The vineyards, producing wines that rate among the best in the world, lie along sunny valleys around Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek and in the Constantia Valley.

The fertile soils, sunny and mild climate with little wind are ideal conditions for cultivating vines. The history of many wine estatee dates back to the 17th century, when Dutch, French and German vintners settled here and planted their European vines.


Cape Point Wine Route

To call this a wine route is maybe not completely accurate since there is only one fairly young estate on the route. However, for guests with precious little time on a Cape Town itinerary, yet with a yearning for a good wine estate experience, this is the route to choose.

Cape Point Vineyards is the only wine estate to be nestled on the narrow Cape Peninsula. It is a young wine region but its Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon wines are already raking in awards both nationally and internationally.

Distance from Cape Town: 65kms (41 miles)
Travel time: 45 minutes to 1 hour
Length of route: N/A
Towns nearby: Cape Town, Noordhoek, Kommetjie
Wine estates: 1
Things to do:
Horse riding on Noordhoek beach
Visit the lighthouse at Kommetjie
Visit Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope
Food market (open in Spring and Summer only)

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Constantia Wine Route

Constantia Valley is the oldest wine growing region in the country. Constantia vineyards have been producing wine grapes since the 1600’s. The original farm was first cultivated by Simon van der Stel, the first Governor of the Cape Colony. The farm has since been divided into smaller farms and newer farms developed over time.

Groot Constantia Wine Estate

Cape Dutch Architecture: Groot Contantia Wine Estate

These are the closest winelands to central Cape Town, tucked away behind Table Mountain. The slopes of Constantia Mountain provide ideal conditions and the five wine farms/estates along the Constantia Valley Wine Route all produce fine wines.  They are:  Groot Constantia, Klein Constantia, Buitervenwachting, Constantia Uitsig and Steenberg.

Constantia Wine Route is a good choice for a day out in the Cape winelands that includes excellent restaurants, great examples of Cape Dutch architecture and a visit to the wine museum.

Distance from Cape Town: 22kms (13 miles)
Travel time: 25 minutes
Towns nearby: Cape Town, Hout Bay
Wine estates: 8
Things to do:
A round of golf at Steenberg Wine Estate
Visit the Wine Museum at Groot Constantia Wine Estate
Events are scheduled throughout the year and it is best to check regularly.

Hop On - Hop Off Bus Constantia Valley Wine Tours - Hop On - Hop Off Bus

Hop On - Hop Off Wine Tours

The Wine Tour Bus is an extension on the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour. The first bus departs at 9:00 a.m. from CitySightseeing's Ticket Office outside Two Oceans Aquarium, V&A Waterfront.

This service offers three Constantia Valley wine stops: Beau Constantia Wine Estate, Groot Constantia Wine Estate and Eagles' Nest Wine Farm.

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Durbanville Wine Route

Durbanville is another excellent choice for visitors looking for a day trip from Cape Town City Center. This route has a good selection of wineries just minutes from the city. Many of the wineries grow their vines on the Tygerberg Hills and wines from the region tend to be more fruity.

Some estate families in the region have been making wine for over 6 generations, dating back to the 1600’s. Some of the country’s best Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz and Chardonnay come from this region.

Distance from Cape Town: 29 km (18 miles)
Travel time: 25 minutes
Towns nearby: Cape Town, suburbs of Foreshore, Maitland, Northgate and Bo Oakdale
Wine estates: 12
Things to do:
Visit the Durvanville Nature Reserve
Walk through the Durbanville Rose Garden
Play at the Durbanville Golf Course
Mountain bike
Hike in the Clara Anna Fontein Game Reserve
If you are in the area early March you should find out about the Durbanville Feast of the Grape Festival
June sees the Soup, Sip and Bread festival available at all 12 estates
The Season of Sauvignon festival happens every October
Hike or mountain bike in the Tygerberg Nature Reserve

Read more: Durbanville Wine Route. A route map can be downloaded from the Home Page.

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Franschhoek Wine Route

Franschoek is not only a wine route with many estates to choose from, it is also a Foodie’s paradise. It boasts of some of the best restaurants in the country including some restaurants that include cooking classes.

Franschhoek has a French history dating back to 1688 and they celebrate their heritage during the annual July Bastille Festival. A community of French Huguenots fled France to avoid religious persecution. Once settled they realized that the climate was very similar to the wine growing regions in France and decided to cultivate the land.

The Huguenot Monument commemorates the French immigrants, who founded the village of Franschhoek in 1688. The main street is lined with boutiques, art galleries, fine restaurants and cafés.

This wine route is best known for its Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, French oaked Chardonnay and Semillon. You can also expect to taste some bold Shirazs.

Boschendal Valley - photo by Boschendal Wine Estate

Boschendal Valley - Photo by Boschendal Wine Estate on the Franschhoek Wine Route

Distance from Cape Town: 83kms (52 miles)
Travel time: 1h 15min
Length of route: 33km (21 miles)
Towns nearby: Paarl, Stellenbosch and Wellington
Wine estates: 43
Things to do:
Tour Mooiwater or Pniel townships
Take a wine tour on horseback
Play a round of golf at Pearl Valley Golf Estate
Visit Mont Rochelle and Paarl Nature reserve
Check out the Franschoek Motor Museum
If you are in the area in December find out about the Cap Classique and Champagne Festival in December.

Read More: Hop-On Hop-Off Wine Tour of the Franschhoek Valley: The Franschhoek Wine Tram provides a tour into the heart of the Franschhoek Valley in an open-side tram and open-air tram-bus. The tour transports passengers around a loop with hop-on hop-off stops for wine tasting, a cellar tour, lunch or a stroll through the vineyards.

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Helderberg Wine Route - a Stellenbosch Sub - Route

The Helderberg Wine Route is part of the larger Stellenbosch Wine Route. The family owned wineries range from centuries old cellars to more modern boutique estates. Helderberg is best known for its port production and is currently one of the largest produces of port in the country.

Wines a guest can expect to find on the routes are Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay along with a few red wines.

Distance from Cape Town: 50km (31 miles)
Travel time: 45 minutes
Towns nearby: Stellenbosch, Somerset West, Gordon’s Bay
Wine estates: 25
Things to do:
Visit the Helderberg Nature Reserve to see the incredible wild proteas
Play a round of golf at Erinvale Golf Club
Visit Lwandle Migrant Labor Museum

Read more: Helderberg Wine Route (with map).

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Paarl Wine Route

The town of Paarl, the biggest in the Winelands, lies at the foot of a huge exposed granite formation. Its name is derived from the Dutch word 'parel' (meaning 'pearl'), apparently due to the pearly white moonlight reflected off the boulders. South Africa's own Afrikaans language has its roots in the Cape and locals still refer to Paarl as die Pêrel, the Pearl. A famous South African monument, the impressive "Afrikaanse Taalmonument", is positioned high above the town and is dedicated to the origin and preservation of the Afrikaans language.

Some of the estates on this route have been producing wine for over three centuries. Paarl wine route has traditionally been a white wine region, but with its climate and terroirs, it's now focusing more on reds, earning its nick name as the Red Route. The region produces large quantities of excellent red wines. The very best wines come from the higher vineyards.

Undoubtedly the fine reds iinclude the Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz wines. However, roodeberg, port and other red wines are just as amazing. Also look out for the chardonnay, pinotage and chenin blanc of the Paarl wine estates.

Distance from Cape Town: 62km (38 miles)
Travel time: 45 min
Length of route: 70km (43 miles)
Towns nearby: Wellington, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Worcester
Wine estates: 24+
Things to do
Visit Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve and the Paarl Monument
Play a round of golf at Paarl Valley Golf Estates
Visit the Afrikaans Language Museum
Visit the museum at De Poort Heritage Village
If you are visiting toward the end of September find out about the Paarl Cultivaria cultural festival.
Try hot air ballooning over the vineyards
Visit Butterfly World, crocodile farm and animal zone.

Read More: Map of the Paarl Wine Route

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Stellenbosch Wine Route

The historic town of Stellenbosch is a university town, with excellent galleries and antique shops to explore. This old Western Cape town has many fine examples of historic Cape Dutch architecture dating back to the Cape Colony. Stellenbosch University is one of the most reputable universities in South Africa and is the only university in the country hosting a viticultural and oenological department.

Stellenbosch Wine Route was the first to be formally established for visitors in 1971. The route is one of the largest in the country with more than 200 wineries to visit. It was the first region to offer a network of wineries along an organized tourist route. Since it is so large it has been divided into sub-regions:

Mooiplaas Estate - Manor House and Dining at the "Langtafel"

Mooiplaas Estate Manor House and Dining at the "Langtafel"
[ Photo by Mooiplaas Wine Estate, on the Stellenbosch Wine Route]

Mooiplaas ("beautiful farm") is situated in the Bottelary Hills of Stellenbosch and produces a range of award winning boutique style wines. Apart from wine tasting, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of Table Mountain and a 50 hectare cape fynbos nature reserve.

Stellenbosch Cape Winelands South Africa

[2:38 min] [Attribution: Africa Travel Channel]

Stellenbosch is a gem waiting to be discovered by the discerning tourist.

Stellenbosch is situated in the heart of the historical Cape Winelands and the Stellenbosch Wine Route, near Cape Town, South Africa

Distance from Cape Town: 50km (31 miles)
Travel time: 45 min
Towns nearby: Paarl, Somerset West, Franschhoek
Wine estates: 200+
Things to do:
Visit the historical Dorp street and its well preserved Victorian and Georgian building
Visit the H-shaped Cape Dutch dwelling called the Burgher House built in 1797. Today it is an office building.
Visit the military museum housed in the Kruithuis (Chalk building) built in 1777
A few of the vineyards offer their own adventures, such as quad biking, tractor rides and horse riding.
Hike with donkeys and wine tasting at Polkadraai vineyards
Take a tour of Kayamandi township or historic tour of Stellenbosch

Read more: Stellenbosch Wine Routes (with maps):
| Greater Simonsberg Route | Stellenbosch Berg Route | Helderberg Route |
| Stellenbosch Valley Route | Bottelary Hills |

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Swartland Wine Route

The area is divided into four regions:

Riebeek Valley

Riebeek Valley Attractions
[ Photo by Riebeek Cellers: Swartland Wine Route]

Distance from Cape Town: 69km (43 miles)
Travel time: 1 hour
Towns nearby: Malmesbury, Piketberg and Porterville, Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West, Darling
Wine estates: 22
Things to do:
Hang gliding, paragliding
Clay pigeon shooting
4 x 4 trails
In February – The Riebeek Cellars Grape Stomp
In May – Riebeek Valley Olive Festival
In October – Swarland Country Market
In December – Kloovenburg Christmas Market

Read more: Swartland Wine and Olive Route (with map)

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Tulbagh Wine Route

Tulbagh region is fast becoming the star of South African wine country, pulling in a number of national and international awards. It is surrounded by three mountains ranges, Witzenberg Mountain range in the east, Obiqua Mountains in the west and Winterhoek Mountains in the north.

Tulbagh Winery and the Tulbagh Valley

Tulbagh Winery | The Tulbagh Valley
[Photo by Tulbagh Winery]

While in Tulbagh visitors can taste hand made cheeses and locally grown olives and olive oils as well.

This area was also one of the first to introduce night harvesting. By harvesting the grapes at night or in the wee hours of the morning, the pickers are able to work longer hours in cooler conditions and avoid bees since they don’t come out at night. High daytime temperatures also affect the sugar levels in grapes. The sugar levels are more stable in cooler conditions and grapes don’t have to be chilled before they’re crushed, saving on energy costs.

Distance from Cape Town: 121km (75 miles)
Travel time: 1 h 40 min
Towns nearby: Prince Alfred, Ceres, Riebeek Kasteel, Wellington
Wine estates: 9
Things to do:
Ceres Zipslide Adventure
Horse riding
Visit the Oude Kerk Volkmuseum (The Old Church Museum
House no. 4 tells the story of the earthquake that struck Tulbagh in 1969 and how the town was rebuilt.
House no. 22 is an excellent museum showing visitors how residents lived in Tulbagh 200 years ago.
De Oude Drostdy Museum was build in 1804 and has a good selection of historic cape furniture. Consider doing a wine tasting in the candle lit old jail.
Visit the historic Schoonderzicht Farm for chocolate tasting and chocolate pairing with coffee, tea, brandy, port, Amarula or Hanepoot. 

Try the Wine by Bike operates from Vindoux Farm, visiting some of the wine farms on a bicycle.

Read more: Tulbagh Wine Route (with map)

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Wellington Wine Route

As an official wine route Wellington is still relatively young but the region has a viticulture history dating back to the 1600’s and the French Huguenots. Wellington plays an important role in the wine industry. Here nurseries called stokkieskwekerye (small stick nurseries) grow up to 90% of the countries vines before they are shipped off to the various wineries across the country.

Many of the Wellington estates are found on the banks of the Kromme River. Some farms offer river walks with a wine and picnic basket. Visitors to the region often include a visit to a cheese and olive farm.

Wellington Wines

Wellington Winelands and Cellars
[Photo by Wellington Wines]

Distance from Cape Town: 70km (44 miles)
Travel time: 1 hour
Towns nearby: Paarl, Rawsonville, Malmesbury, Stellenbosch, Bainskloof
Wine estates: 21
Things to do:
Visit the Wellington Museum
Visit the Bontebok Ridge Reserve for a game drive
Horse riding adventure include anything from half a day to 3 day rides
Play a round of golf and Wellington golf club
Hike along Bobberjaans river trail
Hike along the Rockhopper trail near Bainskloof
Visit Butterfly world
Visit two wine farms for wine tasting on horseback

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Cape Town Attractions

| Highlights of Cape Town | Bo-Kaap | Cape Town and Peninsula Beaches |
| Camps Bay | Clifton Beaches | Cape Peninsula Attractions | Castle of Good Hope |
| Groot Constantia Wine Estate | Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens |Robben Island |
| Table Mountain | V&A Waterfront | Winelands and Wine Routes |

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