Cape Town is as famous for its wine as Australia; its gracious white gabled farmsteads are set against a dreamy landscape of verdant valleys, flanked by mountain ranges. Unpretentious small lodges are scattered among the lush winelands in a contrast to the neatly-manicured landscapes of other famous wine regions such as the Napa Valley in the US and the Loire in France.
Cape Town winelands provide perfect opportunities to sample fine vintages and enjoy excellent cuisine in breathtaking surrounds against the backdrop of Cape Dutch manor houses, characterised by the symmetrical gabled section built around the front door.
Four main wine regions are within easy reach of Cape Town: Stellenbosch, Paarl, Constantia and Franschhoek - each with its own unique landscape and wine varieties. Franschhoek was originally known as Olifants Hoek, which means elephants in Afrikaans
The estate was named after the noble animals that calved in the area's sheltered valley. Stellenbosch, with its Cape Dutch architecture and quaint atmosphere, is the hub of the country's wine industry.
The French Huguenots (Protestants) who fled persecution in France and settled in Cape Town, brought their wine expertise to Franschhoek as long ago as 1688 and today many of the wine estates and families still retain French names. They planted their first vines and, thanks to the similar Mediterranean climate, wine making had arrived!
Just a little further north lies the historic town Paarl, surrounded by striking mountain scenery and vineyards.
The name of one of the Cape Wineland's best known wine estates - Buitenverwachting - sums up this fabulous area: beyond expectations!
Click here for a map of the Winelands.