Heading to Cape Town and not tasting the local wine is like visiting Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower – you just weren’t there. The South African wine industry is the 9th largest in the world today and goes all the way back to the 17th century. Today, there are over 200 wineries on the outskirts of Cape Town alone and they are not something you should (or can) miss.
Vineyards on the outskirts of Cape Town.
Even if you are not into wine, you could still enjoy a day out at the winery. Wineries in Cape Town are not merely bigger versions of your local wine store. In fact, they look more like family entertainment venues, with recreational areas and wine-making exhibits.
Delicious grapes hanging off the vineyard branches.
Groot Constantia, the grand old dame of wineries
Of these wineries, the grand old dame is none other than Groot Constantia. It is the Hollywood of wine estates, with a location set on the slopes of the majestic Table Mountain and a reputation as the oldest wine estate in South Africa. Just reading this description makes wine critics nod with approval, I reckon. Or maybe just the tourists…
Groot Constantia, a charming location set on the slopes of Table Mountain.
And so, we strolled through the vineyards, checked out the delicious grapes hanging from the branches, explored the sprawling grounds, ate, shopped and watched the resident ducks wade in the pond. What wine?
The Manor House at Groot Constantia is a classic example of Cape Dutch architecture. It now houses a museum.
The tree-lined “boulevards” on the sprawling grounds that make one linger and forget the time.
The surreal lands of Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens
Yet another benefactor of Table Mountain’s charm is the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. The Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens was awarded World Heritage status in 2004, the first of its kind for a botanic garden. Located on the slopes of Table Mountain, the rugged facade of the mountain slopes provides an imposing and contrasting feel to the manicured grounds.
The clouds rolling off Table Mountain into Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens.
On the day we visited, the table cloth danced around the table top, presenting an ethereal sight as we walked into the garden grounds. As if in a dream, the surreal landscape and cool atmosphere transported us into an alternate realm, where pineapples turned into flowers and aloe vera plants threatened to gobble us up! But we stayed to picnic anyway.
Throughout the trip, Cape Town never ceased to amaze me with its nature offerings. Besides the standard mountain-sea-beach combination that characterised other nature trips, here in Cape Town, there were wineries, botanical gardens, and penguin and seal colonies.
Plus, we also went strawberry picking and saw the Big Five in an African safari – the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo – so named not because they are the five largest in size, but because they are the five most difficult game animals to hunt.
Still, that was not the end! Beyond the city boundaries of Cape Town lie the ultimate nature bonanza. Find out what that is in my next article!
One thought on “Cape Town Part 2: Groot Constantia & Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens”
Wow, just look at how beautiful South African wineries are. Although I don’t drink wine, I would like to visit one to see how the wine is made and perhaps I could sample the grapes? Thanks for sharing and have a good day 😀 Aiva