Get On Your Bike – Bicycle Wine Tours Of The Cape Winelands

A trip to South Africa’s world-renowned Cape Winelands is a treat for any wine lover. For many people this means a day trip by car or on a tour bus to enjoy some of the most scenic attractions (and some of the best wines) in the world.

However, there’s another way to enjoy the sites, scents and sounds of South Africa’s famous wine destinations such as the Franschhoek Valley, Paarl, and Stellenbosch – and that’s on a Cape Town bike tour through the winelands.


These areas offer numerous trails and gentle meanders through the vineyards and green tree lined roads that make any wine tour a delight for the senses. These bicycle routes and tours are ideal for the nature lover and the family that is looking to spend some quality time in the fresh air of these unspoiled areas.

There are a number of different tour operators that make bicycle tours of the Cape Winelands accessible for visitors. The routes vary in intensity and range from gentle meanders suitable for all ages to more challenging and longer routes that take in a wide variety of different vineyards.

Tour operators will provide transport in an air conditioned bus to the Winelands, as well as provide a qualified and professional guide. The operator will also provide mountain bikes – suitable for the smaller gentle dirt roads that are found in many vineyards, as well as arranging entrance fees and wine tasting fees at the wine estates that are going to be the focal point of the vineyard cycling experience.


Some of the most popular tours are of the Stellenbosch region where those taking part can enjoy visits to up to four different wine estates. Included in these tours are visits to cellars, wine tasting and access to experts from the various estates who will be on hand to educate and inform riders about the wine making process and the finer points of wine tasting.

A sample itinerary for a day exploring the Winelands could consist of a gentle cycling experience suitable for the whole family. This would take in between two and three vineyards and usually take a day on a route that is up to 5 miles in length. This short excursion is suitable for all ages and is ideal for families with younger children. This sort of day out will sometimes include lunch at one of the world-class vineyard restaurants – often enjoyed under majestic Oak trees.

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For a more strenuous exploration experience, there are also tours which can range up to 13 miles in length. This is adventure biking and wine tasting at its best. Many tour operators will offer three (or more) vineyards, as well as one of Stellenbosch’s famous Van Ryn brandy distillery. During this route, riders will be exposed to some of the Cape’s most scenic vistas – including the internationally acclaimed views over False Bay. In addition, riders will also be exposed to the culinary expertise of some of South Africa’s most well-respected chefs and some of the most beautiful places to enjoy a relaxing and invigorating lunch in the beautiful surroundings of wine estates that can trace their heritage back to the 17th century.

A wine tour combined with a relaxing day of bicycling is the perfect way to enjoy some of the world’s best wines and some of the best scenery in on the globe. With the wide variety of bicycling options available, this is an option that should be of interest to the whole family. If you have your heart set on the Cape Winelands this is well worth investigating.


The Top Five Wine Estates in Franschhoek South Africa

South African wine has built an enviable reputation with wine lovers across the globe due to the exceptional wines that are produced in the Cape Winelands region. This region in the Western Cape, South Africa’s southernmost province is home to a number of towns and areas where magnificent red and white wines are produced for both domestic and international consumption. There are also a number of wine estates that produce South Africa’s version of Champagne – sparkling wines that have now become known as Method Cap Classique products.

These areas include Stellenbosch, Paarl, Robertson and Somerset West. There is also an area (and town) Franschhoek, which has gained world renown for the production of award winning white wines, including the Cap Classic sparkling wines.

Visitors to Franschhoek are provided with ample opportunity to sample these world class products as well as enjoy fabulous dining opportunities in a region that has become known as South Africa’s ‘Gourmet Capital’.

The Cape Winelands offers a multitude of estates that are open to visitors, so many that it is in fact almost impossible to sample the products of them all during a single visit – Franschhoek is no different.

So if you were to take a day trip to Franschhoek which are the five wine estates that should be on your tasting itinerary?

#1 Cabriere.


For those with a love for champagne a visit to Cabriere is an absolute must. This estate is the home of Pierre Jourdan ‘champagne’ and a glass of this sparkling delight is highly recommended. The estate also produces a highly regarded blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. Their ‘Tranquille’ which is a non sparkling champagne is also worthy of attention. There is also an exceptional restaurant in one of the cellars of the estate.

#2 Boekenhoutskloof.


For the wine aficionado who is in search of world class variety this is an estate that should not be missed. Boekenhoutskloof produces four different wine labels. The first is the ‘table wine’ Porcupine Ridge which is excellent value for money everyday drinking. The Chocolate block is a blend of 5 varietals. This red wine is renowned for its rich ‘chocolaty’ nose and has gained a cult following in South Africa. The Wolftrap red is an exciting blend of Syrah (known in South Africa as Shiraz), Mouvedre, and Grenache. Lastly there is the premium brand, Boekhoutskloof which consists of three types of wine, a lineup of Semillon, Shiraz, and a Cabernet Sauvignon. Each of these is worth at least a glass.

#3 Stony Brook.


This small family run estate produces some excellent boutique wines such as its premium ‘Ghost Gum’ which is an intriguing Cabernet Sauvignon. The estates Méthode Cap Classiqu offering ‘Lyle MCC NV’ is also well worth a glass or two. The sparkling rose ‘Bailey MCC 2012’ should also not be missed.The newly released premium offering the Ovidius 2013 is already garnering accolades and should not be missed.

#4 La Petite Ferme.


Another boutique winery, La Petite Ferme has a very well regarded Chardonney (both unwooded and barrel varietals), as well as a Sauvignon Blanc that has garnered a lot of attention as well as notable awards. One of the highlights of any visit should be a meal at the estate restaurant with its sweeping views of the Franschhoek Valley. It is without doubt one of the best in the area.

#5 Graham Beck Estate.


A champagne lover who does not visit the Graham Beck estate is doing themselves a great disservice. This is perhaps South Africa’s premier producer of bubbly. The Graham Beck Brut MCC is simply one of the world’s best sparkling offerings. It has gone head to head with the best that is offered in France and has more often than not emerged with accolades. However those visiting the estates would be extremely foolish not to sample some of the other offerings. The estates ‘Railway Red’ which is its table wine is an absolute delight. Those wanting an everyday tipple that will delight even the most jaded of palettes should have a bottle or two tucked away. The Game Reserve offerings (both red and white) are complex and mouthwatering, while the everyday Waterside Chardonnay is a delight, crisp and refreshing.

A trip to Franshhoek is a delight. Here visitors can enjoy some of the best bubbly in the world and some truly first class dining experiences. It should not be missed.


The Magnificent Babylonstoren Cape Town – A Unique Setting To Nurture The Soul

One of the oldest Cape Dutch farms in existence, Babylonstoren is all about being the essence of diversity, capturing nature at its roots, and welcoming each and every guest to an experience of exceptional dining and beautiful surroundings.

A Brief Introduction

With a rich history that dates back as far as 1692, Babylonstoren benefits not only from an exquisite location but can tell a story of historic fruit and impressive wine-making.

In recent times it has been tastefully restored in a way that, whilst retaining a passion and adoration for the riches of the past, coaxes this farm into the contemporary and modern living that makes up our world.

The Sophisticated Farm Hotel


Whitewashed walls, grand gables, inviting fireplaces and authentic charm are all symbols of what Babylonstoren stands for. With a choice of accommodation, ranging from one-bedroom suites to three-bedroom cottages, guests have the flexibility to choose sleeping quarters which suit their personal needs and tastes.

An outdoor swimming pool, salt room, vitality pool and sauna can all be enjoyed by guests.

A Graceful And Enchanting Garden


Even the stunning gardens of Babylonstoren are steeped in a European and Asian history. With 8 acres to explore, fruit and vegetables to admire and a stunning landscape to enjoy, the gardens really are at the heart of this incredible place.

To really appreciate what the gardens have to offer, guests can enjoy the Garden Tour, a guided tour which starts every day at ten o’clock, It’s not just your eyes that will enjoy the tour, but your taste buds will have a lot to be happy about too! With guests being invited to use all of their senses, touching, smelling, tasting and of course viewing the produce under cultivation, this is certainly a walk to remember.

If you’re a keen gardener, you’ll also be grateful for the secret gardening tips that the guides are all too happy to share with guests, as well as details on the medicinal benefits of the plants growing in the garden.

A Serene Spa


Our predecessors surely were not exempt to the ravages of stress. That’s why they created cleansing rituals that have stayed with us, right to this very day. To relieve muscle ache, tension, and stress, or simply to revive, cleanse and purify, the spa at Babylonstoren carefully treats guests to ancient cleansing rituals.

For guests who gain an appetite during the spa experience, fresh, tasty and nutritious spa food is always readily available. Making use of herbs from the garden, such as rosemary and lemon thyme, spa food is focused on being wholesome, mouthwatering, unusual and refreshing.

A Restaurant To Remember


Set in an intriguing setting of Cape Dutch architecture and modern glass walls, the atmosphere created in the restaurant is a good gauge of the quality of food that is served there; contemporary, edgy and very local!

With a menu that constantly changes to match the season and local produce that leaves the mouth watering for hours after it has been devoured, the Babel restaurant at Babylonstoren allows your senses to truly feel at one with nature.

For an experience that promises to relax your mind, revive your body and nurture your soul, Babylonstoren is well worth considering for a welcome break away.

With an exquisite choice of accommodation, a serene spa that allows ancient rituals to take prime place and a restaurant that showcases wholesome foods, you will only experience one problem when you visit Babylonstoren; the time will fly by so quickly, that you just won’t want to leave!


The Top Five Wine Farms In South Africa’s Cape Winelands

Favorite wines are largely a matter of individual taste, however awards and peer recognition, as well as export orders can usually be used as yardsticks to measure the success of a country’s wine production.

In the case of South Africa widespread international recognition has been a mark of the success of its wine production and the excellence of its many different types of both red and white. this been the case for generations and has only accelerated since South Africa came out from under the dark cloud of Apartheid.

The South African region most often recognized for the excellence of its wines can be found in the Cape Province, South Africa’s most southerly province – which is also home to what many South African’s regard as the Mother City – Cape Town.

The Cape Winelands (as the area where wine production is widespread) boasts many areas of excellence, centered around the towns of Franschoek, Stellenbosch, Wellington, Robertson, Somerset West and Paarl. It is these areas where some of South Africa’s best wine farms are situated.

It’s a difficult choice to make, but if one were forced to identify five wine farms that should be on every international visitors the following 5 would certainly be in contention.

#1 Rust en Vrede.


Rust en Vrede has been around for over 300 years and produces some of the Cape’s most well respected Merlot’s, Cabernet’s and Shiraz (internationally know as ‘Syrah’) wines. Nelson Mandela has a keen appreciation for the wine produced at this estate and today it’s also known for it’s namesake restaurant which is consistently rated as among the best in South Africa.

#2 Vergelegen.

Vergelegen Winery and mountains

Established in 1700 that wine farm consistently produces wines that score extremely highly in the top 100 wines of the world. The scenic gardens are an added attraction for visitors. The Cabernet Sauvignon V has won multiple awards across the world and is perhaps the star of the extremely attractive Vergelegen lineup. As far as white wines are concerned those in the know will always take the opportunity to stock up on the very well regarded the reserve Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc range available from the estate, it is however the red that has been favorably compared to the best that France has to offer.

#3 La Motte.


For some the La Motte Chardonnay can stand head to head with the best in the world – and the Sauvignon Blanc’s and Shiraz offerings are extremely well regarded as well. The Franschoek estate also plays host to the ‘Pierneef à la Motte’ restaurant – winner of multiple awards.

#4 Meerlust.

Aerial View of Meerlust

A well loved and regarded estate Meerlust was established in 1693 and it’s Bordeaux blend Rubicon can be found in some of the finest restaurants across the globe. Other notable reds are the Pinot Noir and Merlot offerings. It also has a wide variety of very impressive white wines available. A visit to this estate will simply not disappoint lovers of red wine – while the whites are elegant and subtle.

#5 Rust en Vrede.


This is one of South Africa’s most venerable wine estates being established in 1694. The estate produces only red wines and that focus has enabled it to built a reputation as one of the premier red wine producers in the world. The rich and velvety Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon wines are an absolute delight.

A visit to the Cape Winelands will provide a rich and varied experience for any lover of wine. As a bonus the value of South African wine due to favorable exchange rate is simply very hard to beat.