Vineyard in Franschhoek, Winelands,  South AfricaIf our safari adventure in South Africa came short of our expectation, our visit to the Winelands absolutely took our breath away. We were not prepared for the majestic scenery that greeted us in this region.  An easy day trip  from Cape Town, the Winelands region boasts spectacular landscape of mountains, wine hills, farms and charming towns dotted with homesteads of beautiful Dutch Cape architecture.

The  Cape Winelands is home to some of the earliest European settlements in South Africa. When the first settlers arrived, the governor granted them farms to till for their own needs.  Many settlers came from Germany, France and Netherlands,  some of whom were experienced winemakers, and found the fertile soil and Mediterranean-like climate of the region ideal for growing vines.

The first wine was produced in 1652. It was a sweet red wine made from Muscadel grapes. Soon after there was a great demand from sailors who stopped by Table Bay. They drunk red wine not only for fun and relaxation but also to fight scurvy.

Today, all major wine grape varieties are grown in the Winelands. South Africa today also boasts  more than 120,000 hectares of vineyards that  produces about 800 million liters of wine each year.

We visited three of the Winelands popular towns for winery tours – Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.


Our first stop was Fairview Estate Winery in the the town of Paarl, which was only about 45 minutes drive east of Cape Town.

Art installation  at Fairview Estate Winery, Paarl, Cape Winelands, South AfricaThe unique art installation by the winery entrance certainly caught our attention.

iew Estate Winery, Paarl, Cape Winelands, South AfricaThe wine barrels at Fairview Estate, a third generation family-owned farm.

Wine Tasting at Fairview Estate Winery, Paarl, Cape Winelands, South AfricaFairview produces vast variety of wine.  Among those we tasted, we found the Shiraz and Pinotage topnotch.

Pinotage, Wine Tasting at Fairview Estate Winery, Paarl, Cape Winelands, South AfricaPinotage is a wine that is unique to South Africa. It is a blend of Pinot Noir and Hermitage grapes.

Cheese Tasting at Fairview Estate Winery, Paarl, Cape Winelands, South Africa

Fairview Estate also offers cheese tasting. It is known for excellent goat and cow cheeses that are made in the estate.




Goat tower, Fairview Estate Winery, Paarl, Cape Winelands, South AfricaA goat tower in the farm and one of its inhabitants, who provide milk for the farm’s  cheesery.

Farm in the Winelands, Paarl, South AfricaBeautifully ensconced in a fertile valley, Paarl pastoral scenery is a tranquil and bucolic sight to behold.


Wine Tasting at Haute Cabriere Cellar, Franschhoek, Winelands, South Africa A short drive from Paarl is a striking town of Franschhoek where we visited Haute Cabriere Cellar,  a winery situated on a foot  of a mountain.Wine Tasting at Haute Cabriere Cellar, Franschhoek, Winelands, South Africa Our tasting master poured us several kind of wine – sparkling, red and white. Among those we tasted, the pinot one was the most notable.

Wine Tasting at Haute Cabriere Cellar, Franschhoek, Winelands,  South AfricaThe view of Franschhoek breathtaking wine hills from Haute Carbriere Estate.

Dutch Colonial Builiding in Franschhoek, Winelands,  South AfricaThe traditional Cape Dutch architecture beautifully blend with the dramatic landscape in Franschhoek.

Dutch Colonial Builiding in Franschhoek, Winelands, South Africa

Franschhoek, Winelands,  South AfricaWe enjoyed walking around the small but sophisticated town of Franschhoek, known not only for its magnificent setting but also for being the culinary capital of the the region.

Roses at Cafe in Franschhoek, Winelands,  South AfricaA lovely flower vase at one of Franschhoek’s outdoor cafe.


Stellenbosch, South Africa

The town of Stellenbosch boasts of having the highest concentration of wineries in the Cape Winelands.

Wine tasting in Stellenbosch, Cape Winelands, South Africa.jpg

The winery we visited in Stellenbosch was not the most remarkable but it did offer other delightful things that held our interest.

Stellenbosch, South AfricaWe enjoyed the lovely and relaxing garden in the backyard of the winery and the majestic mountain scenery.

Animals in Stellenbosch Winery, South AfricaWe were also delighted to watch the animals grazing in the front yard of the winery.

Our day trip in the Cape Winelands was very rewarding. Our regret was we only went for a day. We definitely would love to return to spend several days, stay at one of its luxe country inns, feast on its famed culinary excellence, explore more of its towns, soak in the sceneries and, of course, indulge on its wine. It makes a great romantic getaway, too.

Even if your not into wine, we highly recommend that you visit Cape Winelands when you travel to South Africa.  Its mesmerizing landscape and charming towns will be enough to intoxicate you.


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51 responses to “Wine Tasting and Visual Feast in South Africa’s Winelands

  1. Agness

    I don’t drink alcohol, but I would love to visit this charming wineland to stroll around, enjoy the beautiful view and breath the fresh air. How did you find this place? It looks like a real hidden gem!
    Agness recently posted..5 Steps To Eat Safely From Street VendorsMy Profile

    • Fran

      It’s not difficult to find and it’s not a hidden one either. The Cape winelands are very large and a huge attraction for visitors and locals. If you’re not using a formal tour with a guide, you can just get a map from the tourist office and you will be spoilt for choice. There is also a wine route close to the city centre, the Constantia wine route, which is the oldest in the country.

  2. Kira S.

    Nice to wake up to this gorgeous post, I didn’t realize that South Africa’s wine country is that stunning, If you didn’t say it was in SA I would think that it’s somewhere in Europe, especially because the architecture is so European. I didn’t expect to see such landscape in Africa. It truly is such a pleasant surprise. It’s looks so romantic, too! I hope to make it there someday. Love the photos as usual.

    • Hi Kira, it truly has a European feel. There were times that we forgot that we were in Africa. And yes is was so so stunning and so romantic. I hope you guys get to visit it someday. We look forward to going back.

    • Hi Jackie, thanks! We’re sure you and Joel will enjoy driving around this gorgeous wine country and sipping your way around:)

  3. jan

    Your photographs are spectacular. I don’t know if you are doing something differently, but I think the landscape shots are amazing. The art installation at PAARL photograph is one of my favourites, the tastemaster and wine glasses shot is superb as well, and how clear are the grazing animals. It certainly is a beautiful area. If we visit S.A. we will certainly go the the winelands.
    jan recently posted..Spotlight on TownsvilleMy Profile

    • Thanks Jan. The landscape were truly amazing that it was not hard to take a good shot of it. Everything there seemed to be photogenic. I’m sure you and Martin will enjoy your visit there.

  4. I was just watching something on tv this past week and one expert in wine commented that the most scenic wine growing region he’s ever seen and been to was in Africa.
    Photo Cache recently posted..Xpu Ha: The Secret BeachMy Profile

    • Hi Maria, we have to agree. We think that it’s even more scenic than Tuscany even.

  5. Corinne

    Marisol, When we went to South Africa, we really just drove through the winelands, and yes it was gorgeous. One of my favorite photos of yours is the Franshoek Church. I have one, taken at sunset, that is one of my favorites from the trip as well!
    Corinne recently posted..W is for Washington DC (A-Z Blogging Challenge)My Profile

    • Hi Corinne, isn’t it a breathtaking place just to drive around? We’re glad that you enjoyed the place, too. The photo of yours of Franschhoek Church at sunset must be spectacular. You should post it!

  6. Amazing colors and scenery, Marisol! A lovely art installation… but, I am amused by the color of the leaves above the sculpture… In my mind, I keep picturing Africa as Sahara desert :)
    memographer recently posted..Street Photography from Best Southern CityMy Profile

  7. noel

    Your photography makes we want to go there now – excellent imagery…i love SA wines and want to eventually take a trip there – if only it wasn’t halfway around the world from me.
    noel recently posted..Road trip to Big Sur, Travel Photo Mondays #42My Profile

    • Hi Noel, it will be worth the trek halfway through the world. If you love wine and photography, this is certainly a wonderful place for you to visit. Glad you enjoyed the images.

  8. A wonderful area and stunning photos, That’s the home of the South African wine in our markets, it looks not really like Africa.
    Christian recently posted..Little-ringed PloversMy Profile

    • Hi Christian, thanks. It’s really not the kind of place that most people have in mind for Africa.. Thanks for dropping by.

  9. Such great landscape! South Africa seems to me like an exciting country to visit. Since I’m a total abstainer, this kind of trip is not “my taste” (…), but I would love to travel the country some time!
    Englepappa recently posted..New viewMy Profile

    • It truly is a beautiful country to visit. Even if you’re an abstainer, visiting the Winelands will be worth it if only for the beauty of the landscape.

  10. Incredible captures of a fantastic trip!! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!!

  11. Lady Fi

    What a lovely series of shots. I like that goat tower!

    • Thanks Fiona! The goat tower was adorable. It was our first time we saw one and it was fun to see the goats climbing up and down.

  12. Iv been to South Africa, but did not get a chance to visit Cape Town. I have been told of the beauty of Capetown and the surrounding winelands. The cape region is now on my bucket list. Great photos as always.
    Rachel M recently posted..Northern Kenya – Magical SunsetsMy Profile

    • Hi Rachel, thank you. Cape Town and its surrondings give you a good reason to go back. It truly is majestic.

  13. Eileen

    What a beautiful place to visit, the vineyard and winery are beautiful. Thanks for sharing your trip! Have a happy week!
    Eileen recently posted..Northern MockingbirdMy Profile

    • You’re welcome, Eileen. It is really an magnificent destination to explore.

  14. Divya

    The pictures are too good. Thanks for sharing it with us. The wine lands look stunning.

    • Hi Divya, you’re welcome. We’re glad you enjoyed the photos.

  15. We love visiting vineyards and these are gorgeous wineries that offer so much. What a beautiful area and one I never would have associated with South Africa. Beautiful photos and scenery. Franschhoek looks like my kind of town. I feel inspired to visit some wineries now :)
    Mary {The World Is A Book} recently posted..Visiting Where Time Begins in Greenwich EnglandMy Profile

    • Hi Mary, if you love vineyards you will have an awesome time in this region of South Africa. It does offer a glimpse to an unexpected side of Africa.

  16. Leigh

    I hit your blog this morning and my first thought is of course more beautiful photos but then it’s – I can’t believe where you end up visiting -truly the coolest places on the planet, and every one of them on my wish list.
    I haven’t made it past the Jo’burg airport but I did drink a lot of Pinotage in Namibia & love that wine when it’s well made. The Winelands area does look magical but I think it will be some time before I can follow in your footsteps.
    Leigh recently posted..A Visit to Baumwollspinnerei AKA the Leipzig Cotton MillMy Profile

    • Hi Leigh, we’re so pleased that you’re enjoying our destinations we share with you so far. We really hope that you make it to SA soon. It offers a lot of activities that you enjoy most. We’d loe to visit Namibia someday. Good to know that we can feast on pinotage there, too!:)

  17. I’m not much into wines, but I would happily go on that wine tasting there. Love the art installations and the goat tower is so cute! I didn’t know this part of Africa. Thanks for showing us!
    Aleah | recently posted..5 Stories of Kindness on the RoadMy Profile

    • Hi Aleah, even if you don’t feel like going for wine tasting you can intoxicate yourself with its spectacular surroundings. We’re glad we were able to introduce this part of Africa to you.

  18. Marcia

    Goodness, Marisol & Keith, I can’t believe you covered a lot of territory! I’m sorry the winery you visited in Stellenbosch wasn’t up to snuff but it sounds like you more than made up by the ones you visited in Paarl and Franschhoek.
    All three were on our list but we only made it to Stellenbosch. We spent most of the morning at one winery — we also did a brandy and cheese tasting there then had a very leisurely lunch and hit the second one in the afternoon. It was a full day. Unfortunately, we had left the wineland visit for our last full day in CPT so that was that.
    Cape Town really is picture postcard beautiful. Thanks for taking me back there.
    Marcia recently posted..Traditional Dances at the Sakura Matsuri FestivalMy Profile

    • Hi Marcia, we didn’t find it hard to cover all three towns in a day but we wished we stayed for several days and spend more time in each town.. We didn’t hear about brandy tasting. That would have been fun. I guess we both have more things to look forward to when we return.

  19. Gorgeous images of South Africa’s wine country! I wish I could go there right now! I especially love the picture with the barrel and the landscape in the background – wow! I’m not really into wine although when I do drink it, I love a good glass of red wine. This looks like such a relaxing place to escape and enjoy life at a slower pace.
    Dana Carmel @ Time Travel Plans recently posted..Local Scene & International Flavors at Street Food Thursday in BerlinMy Profile

    • Hi Dana, even if you’re not into wine you will enjoy your visit in the Winelands. It’s gorgeous landscape will absolutely make your visit well worth it. You’re right, it makes a relaxing escape not to mention romantic:)

  20. I suggested Cape Town to my husband as a possible vacation, and he looked at me like I was positively insane. While I knew that the coast was scenic, I didn’t realize it has such a beautiful wine region, too. It really sounds like a relaxing, fun, and gorgeous way to spend a day. Love that goat tower.
    Michele {Malaysian Meanders} recently posted..Khoo Kongsi: The Finest Clanhouse outside ChinaMy Profile

    • Hi Michelle, we hope you get to convince your husband to visit Cape Town sometime soon. It truly is a spectacular place. It has a lot to offer for families. A day in the Winelands was really fun and relaxing, but we wished we stayed longer. It’s a good place to commune with gorgeous nature.

  21. Nancie

    Wine, cheese, and beautiful scenery, what more can you ask for?
    I was in Seoul today, and had a fab lunch at a new South African restaurant. The SA red cabernet the served was excellent! Thanks for linking to Travel Photo Thursday this week.

    • Hi Nancie,
      Yes, there’s really not much to ask for. Wow, what a lovely coincidence that you were just at a South Africa restaurant! It’s impressive that they have one in Seoul. Glad to know that you enjoyed the wine.

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