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Intimate wine estates in Franschhoek

It’s easy to be swept away by grand buildings, fancy labels and well-known names – but, did you know that you could be missing out on a few hidden gems?

With over 50 estates in the Franschhoek Valley, choosing a wine estate to visit can be near impossible – so, to help you make your decision, we’ve found three lesser-known estates that you should add to your “must-visit” list.

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Le Lude

A family winery situated on the edge of town, Le Lude specialises in bottle fermented sparkling wines – Méthode Cap Classique – and, in their own words, “Le Lude is also the first winery in South Africa to produce the artisanal Agrafe bottle fermented sparkling wine. This is the method of fermenting the wine under cork instead of crown cap”. The estate also offers a beautiful, greenhouse-style restaurant and cottage for overnight guests.

Find them: Le Lude, Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek | 021 100 3465

La Bri

Established in the late 17th century, La Bri’s modern history began with their 2008 harvest – the first to be crushed in the new, modern 120 tonne cellar on the estate. Using a gravity-fed winemaking process, the estate produces limited volumes of superior quality, elegant wines. Complete with a spectacular backdrop and tasting balcony, their range of wines includes: The Affinity Blend (Bordeaux blend), a barrel fermented Chardonnay, Shiraz-Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.

Find themLa Bri Estate, Excelsior Road, Franschhoek | 021 876 2593

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La Petite Ferme

La Petite Ferme is a small wine estate that only produces enough wine to sell on the property – if you’re looking for limited edition, then, this is it. Says their winemaker, Wikus, “The thing about wine making is that some bigger wineries don’t have the opportunity to go out and pick individual parcels that are specific to the area and to the farm itself, but because we are fairly small and everything is done by hand I can go out and find these unique spots within La Petite Ferme’s vineyards and showcase what we can do”. Offering luxury accommodation and an award-winning restaurant, it’s the perfect spot for a leisurely afternoon in the valley.

Find them: La Petite Ferme, Franschhoek Pass Road, Franschhoek | 021 876 3016

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

Top 5 things include in a trip to Cape Town

Planning a trip to Cape Town can be overwhelming – no matter if you’re a local traveller, or visiting from further abroad. With so many attractions and things to see, it can be difficult to know where to start. We’ve put together our 5 top things to include in a trip to Cape Town for you.

Table Mountain

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Whether you choose to explore Cape Town’s icon by cable car or by foot – you can’t visit the city and not visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Set aside some time to spend at the top, taking in the views from every angle and enjoying a bite to eat at the restaurant. The hike can be challenging, if you are contemplating tackling it by foot – so remember to take the necessary precautions and prepare accordingly.

A helicopter trip

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No matter if you’re a Cape Town local or international visitor, seeing the city from the sky is guaranteed to wow you. With flights as short as 15 minutes, all the way up to one hour, it’s easy to fit one in to your schedule, even if you’re pressed for time. Most flights depart from the V & A Waterfront, making it a central option for most visitors. Be sure to book in advance, especially in peak season (November – March).

Cape Peninsula Tour to Cape Point

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The Southern-most tip of Africa, the iconic Cape Point Nature Reserve allows you to do everything from taking scenic hikes, to getting up close and personal with African Penguins at Boulders Beach. A beautiful drive from the city, it’s worth booking out at least half a day in your diary to make the most of this area.  Note that entrance fees for the nature reserve do apply.

A visit to the winelands

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Showcasing more than simply spectacular Cape wine, the three main wine regions around the Cape – Constantia, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch are also filled with heritage monuments and rich history of the area. If you’re short on time, Constantia is barely 30 minutes from the city centre – with Franschhoek and Stellenbosch more suited if you have half a day or more to spend. No matter where you choose to go, we guarantee you’ll find a new favourite wine!

A sunset cruise

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The perfect pre-dinner treat, sunset cruises usually leave from the V & A Waterfront. Including a glass of bubbly, watch the sun go down on the Mother City while taking in the views from the water. Perfectly situated to take advantage of the many fine restaurants at the Waterfront, you won’t find a more magical way to send a day in the Cape.

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

A hidden gem in Franschhoek – lunch at Mont Rochelle

It might seem strange to call Mont Rochelle “hidden”, as it is “Sir Richard Branson’s South African vineyard”, but it’s often not on the radar of many visiting beautiful Franschhoek.

A short drive off Main Road, Mont Rochelle encompasses two restaurants, a wine tasting area and a hotel.

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Popping in to the less formal of the two restaurants – The Country Kitchen – you’re greeted by a light, bright space, as well as the option to sit outside, if the winelands heat isn’t too much for you.  The menu is divided into small plates – for those who prefer a light lunch or tapas option – and then a traditional three course menu, for those whose hunger is slightly more substantial.

Prices are in line with what you would expect in the area, but portions are substantial. Mains are a standard R195 and come with a choice of two side dishes. Think along the lines of Cape Malay seafood potjie, grilled sumac lamb chops and beef brisket with mustard jus. In an area where fine dining tends to reign supreme, The Country Kitchen lives up to its name and offers hearty fare to happy patrons.

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Their wines may be not as well-known as their neighbours, but are well-priced and very easy drinking – we recommend a wine tasting while you happily digest your meal. It’s also worth nothing that the kitchen is very willing to accommodate all dietary requirements, with advance notice.

Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

 

A day at Asara Wine Estate

Considering the sheer volume of wine estates in the Cape, choosing where to begin can be an overwhelming task – especially if your time in the region is limited.

As far as holistic wine estate experiences go, we can recommend Asara with confidence. Barely 40 minutes outside of Cape Town, and off one of Stellenbosch’s biggest roads, you can be forgiven for thinking that you’ve reached another world once you come to the end of Asara’s tree-lined path.

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View endless mountain ranges, a gorgeous lake, a European-style courtyard, you could easily spend the day there – and, that’s how the team has designed it. Apart from the standard wine-tasting, Asara also boasts two restaurants and a dedicated gin bar – with the largest collection of gins in the Southern Hemisphere. This makes Asara a fantastic choice if some in your party aren’t big wine fans, as there is another tipple on offer.

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Sansibar is the more casual restaurant and the perfect option for an al fresco lunch, given its beautiful deck that extends across the lake. The menu boasts favourites such as wood-fired pizzas and burgers, along with substantial salads for the more health-conscious. In terms of drinks, ask the barman to surprise you with a bespoke gin and tonic – you can expect intriguing combinations such as rose and pink peppercorn and rosemary and orange.

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Dinner is a romantic affair at Asara, and is served at the upmarket, newly-opened Mise en Place Restaurant, at the water’s edge. Expect full silver service, and a menu to match. Gin-cured salmon, oven-roasted pork belly and chocolate soufflé, finished table side, all feature on their current summer menu. If you’re looking for the perfect spot to “pop the question” on your Cape adventure – or, are simply celebrating a special occasion – then, look no further than Mise en Place.

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Experience the best of Cape Town – and beyond – with Cape Voyage. Contact us for more information on how we can help craft your perfect experience.

Constantia Wine Route

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The Constantia Valley truly is Cape Town’s Vineyard.

It is the oldest wine producing region in the southern hemisphere with an uninterrupted history of winemaking since 1685. The area is steeped in history and is home to some of the best examples of Cape Dutch architecture. The largest wine estate, Groot Constantia, is home to Van der Stel’s original manor house museum and is an excellent example of this architectural style.

Indulge in wine tasting and cellar tours at the wine farms and buy your favourite tipple directly from the estate. There are numerous award-winning restaurants in the Constantia Vineyards.

The valley was the cradle of quality winemaking in South Africa and the name Constantia is linked with the most famous wines ever produced in this country. Enjoyed by Napoleon Bonaparte and royalty in the 18th century, Constantia Valley’s unique combination of terroir and climate produces some of the world’s finest wines that continue to this day to win accolades and international awards for consistently high standard and quality.

Call us for more information on this one day tour or Request a Quote.

Read more: Wine Estates in Constantia

Article courtesy: Constantia Valley. Cape Peninsula Marketing

Segway tours at Spier Wine Estate

On Saturday we had the opportunity to tour Spier Wine Estate on a Segway PT (Personal Transporter), a two-wheeled self balancing electric vehicle. What an incredible experience, although I must say I was skeptical and to be honest terrified of these vehicles with no brakes!

Our group had to meet at 09h45 at the Wine Tasting room.  Once we had completed the indemnity form it did cross my mind to  stay back, enjoy the views and perhaps even do some wine tasting.

Before each tour guests receive a comprehensive orientation by an experienced Segway trainer. Stanley was assigned to train our group. I needed more than group training and Eric quickly came to my rescue to offer a one on one training session! I’m glad he jumped in, as I was ready to back out. The training takes between 15 and 20 minutes and covers operational and safety procedures. You learn to go forward by leaning forward, reverse by leaning back, (I didn’t see a need for that!) and how to turn by using the ‘lean steer’ handlebar. To stop, there are no brakes you just need to stand upright, and find your balance! Quite a strange concept but it works!

 

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Once we had completed the mini obstacle course, Eric gave me the green light to join the group. I was feeling less apprehensive and I was determined to enjoy this challenge!

We started the tour in tortoise mode with our guide Stanley ensuring that everyone was safe and looking a little more comfortable. Once we were more confident the Segways were taken off the slower mode to allow us to go a little faster. The top speed is 20kms.

The tour takes approximately an hour and what an amazing experience. You glide through the farm and learn interesting facts about the Protea Garden, the vineyards and the wastewater treatment plant which combines nature, art and technology.

 

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Photographs courtesy of Segway Spier

The one-hour tour costs R300 per person and leaves at 09h00, 10h00, 12h00pm, 13h30 and 15h00 daily; the two-hour option which leaves at 09h00, 12h00 and 15h00 is R500 per person  and includes a complimentary wine tasting. When the weather allows, there is also a later sunset tour that gives participants the chance to see the vineyards bathed in vibrant colours as the sun goes down.

Booking is essential and can be done by visiting the Spier website, or the Segway Tour website. Alternatively you can call  +27 (0)21 809 1157 or email spier@segway.co.za. Guests must meet at the farm’s main visitor centre 30 minutes before the excursion is set to start. No children below the age of 10 are allowed on the one-hour tour and no children younger than 12 can participate in the two-hour trip. Remember to wear sunblock and comfortable shoes.  Helmets are provided.

Highly recommended for a fun day out in Stellenbosch.   Contact us for more information.  We can collect you from your hotel and book your tickets in advance.

Keep an eye on this site for all the Cape Town winter specials!

 

 

 

Looking for a child friendly wine estate?

Last weekend saw the end of the Cape Epic. 8 days on their bikes, 739km and 16000m of climbing! An incredible week watching super fit athletes cycling in mountainous, dusty and very hot conditions.

Monday was time to relax! A day to reflect on the week, and celebrate with friends and family! So the question was posed,  “Where are we going to enjoy a day out in a relaxed environment?”  The only stipulation was to find a beautiful, child-friendly, wine estate.

The unanimous decision was Warwick Wine Estate. On Sunday we called to order the gourmet picnic for our party of 12 and on Monday we headed for the winelands.  I can’t think of a better way to start the week and as we parked the cars we knew we had made the right choice!

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When we booked we mentioned we had toddlers in our party so a table had been reserved right next to the water feature. An immediate hit!  T-shirts off and nappies on, the water amused the toddlers for hours.

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With the rolling lawns and beautiful views of the Kanonkop and Simonberg mountains, Warick certainly lends itself to the perfect picnic venue. Our party immediately chose a comfortable spot. Some sat around the table, other chose to relax on the grassy areas with blankets and cushions.

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The gourmet picnic was outstanding. Pretzel rolls (delicious!), cheese, trout, biltong pate, baby potato salad tossed in olives, sundried tomatoes & fresh basil vinaigrette; and for those with a sweet tooth, a cheesecake pot for dessert.

Plenty of delicious fresh food, chilled Warick wine and happy children certainly allowed everyone to relax after a tough and challenging week.

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Warwick is open 7 days a week.  Enquire online, 24 hours in advance or call  directly to make a booking.+27 21 884 4410

 

 

Rated the number 1 place to visit in Stellenbosch!

Waterford Wine Estate definitely has the WOW factor! It’s hardly surprising that it’s recently been voted the number one place to visit in Stellenbosch.  Beautiful scenery, award winning wines, friendly staff and great service are some of the reasons why the estate always seems to have a special spot on the agenda when we plan our wine tours.

The 120 hectare property is owned by Jeremy and Leigh Ord and managed by partner and cellar master Kevin Arnold. The minute you arrive at the estate you know that you will have a special experience.

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“The Estate boasts old citrus groves, rolling lawns, water features and fragrant lavender and rosemary beds. You’d be forgiven for thinking you were in the heart of Provence or the Spanish countryside” Bronwyn H, Front Office Manager at Waterford Estate.

I would definitely recommend the wine and chocolate tasting. This really is a unique tasting experience and who doesn’t love chocolate and wine?

Three wines are paired with three chocolates specially crafted by the Greyton-based chocolatier, Richard von Geusau, all beautifully displayed on a wooden board.

The Kevin Arnold Shiraz is paired with a Masala Chai Dark Chocolate, the Waterford Estate Cabernet with a delicious Rock Salt Dark Chocolate, and the Heatherleigh Noble Late Harvest with a Rose Geranium Milk Chocolate.

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When we visited last time we noticed that a young child was offered a milk and chocolate pairing! Now that’s how you enjoy a memorable family trip to the winelands.

Waterford’s wine and chocolate tasting is open Monday to Friday 09h00 – 1700 and Saturday 10h00 – 17h00. The more limited combination of three wines with three chocolates costs R45 per person, whereas the full tasting of eight wines with the accompanying chocolates costs R65 per tasting.

 Every guest to the farm is made to feel a part of the Waterford Way, and those who have visited are drawn back often not only to the sumptuous wines, but to the heart and soul of Waterford.

 

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Download the Sideways app on your iPhone and explore the winelands, or if you want to kick back and enjoy your day, find out more about our personalised tours with a registered tour guide.

Explore the Winelands with Sideways!

On Friday I met with the team at Explore Sideways, Brittany Hawkins CMO, Marthinus Botha COO and Nicola Du Toit CTO. What a dynamic team! Our short introductory meeting turned into a long brain storming session discussing different ideas to attract visitors to the beautiful Cape Winelands. A luxury vehicle, knowledgable guide, chilled water, Free Wifi and the Sideways App surely must guarantee a wonderful wine tasting experience?

Explore Sideways has developed an iPhone App called ‘Sideways’ to assist those planning a trip to the Cape Winelands. Just key in the estate that you would like to visit and a photograph, GPS co-ordinates, phone number and other key features appear. This has to be easier than lugging around heavy wine books that often aren’t very helpful.

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If you’re not sure which estates to visit, filter by keyword or region, to ensure that you see the best estates in the area. There are over 40 different search filters that range from organic wineries and cellar tours to onsite restaurants and spas.

Once you’ve found the farms that take your fancy, tick the boxes, add them to your own custom list and you’ve got your own personalised wine route!

Our guides are really impressed with the App. There is always so much to learn about these estates and what a fantastic way to have fun, enjoy the beautiful scenery and taste some magnificent wines. For more information contact us at info@capevoyage.co.za

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Balducci at the V&A Waterfront has had a facelift!

It really has had a makeover! Lighter, brighter and perhaps more informal, Balducci has managed to maintain the special ambience!

 

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The service ambassadors are all dressed in black and white, some even sporting bow ties, and we really couldn’t fault the service!  Zanlele was very attentive and told us all about their loyalty program.  10% of your bill is credited to your Slick card and the accumulated value can be redeemed at any time.  We signed up straight away!

The new menu still has all the favourites and you definitely need some time to ponder and perhaps debate all the delicious options.  The portions are all generous, so you can go hungry!  I overheard the lady next to us saying “wow, that dish could feed my entire family”.

All our meals were outstanding. If you’re not following the popular Banting LCHF diet, the pizzas and pastas all looked delicious. For the rest of us there is a great sushi and fish selection.

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The lunchtime specials are great value, only R59 for a pizza or pasta (excluding the flaming prawn) and R89 for a 250g grain fed 28 day matured Sirloin with a choice of starch or vegetable.

The 23pc Bento box is R119, and judging from the number of boxes in the restaurant it seemd to be a popular choice!  The Bento special includes:

2pcs Salmon Nigiri, 2pcs Inari Nigiri, 4pcs Alaska Rolls, 3 Salmon Roses, 4 Veg Rolls, 4 Cucumber Maki, 4 Avo Maki & a  bowl of Miso Soup.

Balducci offers free wifi, 20MB with no time limit, convenient to catch up on e-mail or for posting that photograph after a great night out!

 

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