Traveler’s tales of holidays to South Africa are usually crammed full of exciting memories of the ‘bure’ (neighbourly) hospitality, awe-inspiring expansive scenery and saliva-inducing cuisine accompanied by a splendid variety of delightful South African wines.
Take all this and transplant it into the most magnificent country settings surrounding the famed Route 62 against a backdrop of the majestic Outeniqua mountains, plush never-ending vineyards, huge wine estates and spectacular ochre Karoo landscapes and you have Cape Winelands Tour, the unrivaled best travel route for a South African holiday.
View Cape Winelands tour and Route 62 in a larger map
Photo by Henry Scott
The first stop on any successful wine tour, Stellenbosch exudes the grandeur essence of the Cape Winelands. The idyllic country setting of the more renowned South African wine farms is brought to life by the bustling vibrancy and energy that flows through the charming student town. The quaint streets lined by towering oak trees and magnificent Dutch Settler Architecture, and the incredible mountain valleys hovering behind, are a picturesque homage to the Cape-Dutch heritage.
Top 5 things to do in Stellenbosch:
- Tour the largest wine valley in the country on a Stellenbosch wine tasting tour, sample the enormous variety tantalizing red and white South African wines as well as the delectable goat cheeses on offer
- Explore the enormous majestic estates and opulent Dutch Settler homesteads of the Stellenbosch wine farms
- South Africa’s oldest student bar, De Akkar is a great way to absorb the student energy life
- Take a walk through the beautiful Botanical Gardens of Stellenbosch University
- Stellenbosch’s Dutch Reform Church and the Dutch architecture of Dorp Street are a treat for any history lover
For more information visit the Stellenbosch Tourism Page or for a list of camping accommodation and sites in Stellenbosch visit Linx Africa
Photo by Geoff Wilson
Wrapped in the folds of gorgeous green mountain slopes, carpeted by infinite lush vineyards and filled with the fresh fragrances of the South African wine industry, the delightful Franschhoek is the most romantic stop on the Western Cape Winelands tour. Franschhoek’s delicious cuisine, fantastic South African wines and spectacular views offer up an enchanting and magical world of possibility.
Top 5 things to do in Franschhoek:
- Savor an incredible variety of gorgeous South African wines and delectable desserts on offer at the award-winning gourmet Franschhoek restaurants and cafés around town (My recommendation: The Tasting Room at Le Quartier is a dining epitome of the splendor of Franschhoek)
- Wine tasting and wine cellar tours abound on the many South African wine estates and are both exciting and informative
- Explore the majestic Ceres Mountains around Franschhoek from the exciting perspective of whizzing through the trees on a zip slide tour
- Cycle through town on a guided tour- be sure not to sample too much of the local wines on your way
- Enjoy the exquisite splendor of enormous wine estates, Dutch Homesteads and plush vineyards whilst paragliding over the wine farms.
For more information visit the Franschhoek Wine Valley and Tourist Association page or to book a camping site in Franschhoek visit De Hollandsche Molen.
Photo by Matthew
Situated on the border of the Overberg Mountain Range and the gateway to the Klein Karoo is the peaceful ‘dorpie’/village of Barrydale. The surrounding hills host a concerto of delightfully bright and diverse flower species which pepper the magnificent quartzite landscape in the spring. The 18th-century church, around which the town was built, is a testament to the rich Afrikaans cultural heritage which is still deeply rooted in the charm and enveloping hospitality of the Western Cape Karoo community.
Top 5 things to do Barrydale:
- Sample the local fruit crops on offer as well as some of the more complex tasting wines in South Africa
- Drink a cold beer at the infamous local Ronnie’s Sex Shop Pub
- Discover the natural splendor of the awe-inspiring Tradouw Pass or rock climb one of the enormous faces
- Walk the local Labyrinth with views of the spectacular Langeberg Mountains
- Visit the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center
For more information visit the local Barrydale Tourism Page or for camping sites and facilities visit the Warm Waterberg Spa.
Photo by Adie Reed
Best known for the most dramatic mountain faces and passes on the South African wine route, Montagu is the beginning of Route 62 and the soulful gateway to the Karoo keeping some of the best unknown natural, historical and flavorsome gems. The slow pace of village life quickly infects any traveler as inviting warm summer nights are spent sipping on the great local wines and brandies and listening to the Karoo orchestra of crickets.
Top 5 things to do Montagu:
- Savor some of the drier brandies and wines of South Africa and some local fruits on offer either by visiting the estates or taking a wine tasting tour
- Enjoy a leisurely cruise up the Breede River on the River Goose boat
- Bathe in the warm, clear water of the Avalon Hot Springs
- Get up close and personal with some quirky looking Alpacas at the nearby Novello Farm
- Spot a diverse range of birdlife in the tranquil settings of the Leiwater dam or go on a mountain hike or trail walk nearby
For more information or for a list of accredited camping sites and accommodation visit the Montagu Tourism Page.
Photo by Christiaan Botha
Hidden deep within a valley lies the quaint and colorful Karoo country village of Calitzdorp, a lesser-known but worthy town along Route 62 and the Cape wine route. The picturesque ochre rock plains, dry summer days and cool brown waters of the surrounding rivers offer up the ideal chance to get lost in the magic and majesty of the diversity of the Western Cape wine route. The dry desert climate makes this town a treasure for afficianado’s of port wine, the deeply fragrant and sweet ports an irresistible temptation to the thirsty traveler.
Top 5 things to do in Calitzdorp:
- Sample the internationally renowned South African port wines and wines produced in the surrounding desert plains
- Go fishing, swimming or canoeing in the warm water of the Gamka River
- Traverse spectacular and scenic surrounding 4 X 4 trails into the Swartberg Mountains
- Enjoy a delectable potjie at Die Bosvarkie Bush pub
- Talk a walk down Queen street and uncover the architectural treasures of the town
For more information or for a list of accredited camping sites and accommodation visit the Calitzdorp Tourism Page on.
Photo by Christiaan Botha
Route 62 finally delivers you to the vibrant, charming and adventure-packed heart of the Klein Karoo. Dramatic mountain passes and cave systems punctuate the semi-arid landscape whilst the spectacular scenery is dotted by the flightless evidence of the booming ostrich industry.
The fragrant local South African wines and Karoo hospitality which greets you on a number of wine tasting tours are only matched by the delightful eateries around town. Your taste buds will beg you for the tantalizing treats available from the thick juicy locally grown ostrich steaks to some rather interesting crocodile dishes, accompanied, naturally by the pride and joy of the Karoo wine route.
Top 5 things to do in Oudtshoorn:
- Explore the incredible Oudtshoorn Cango Caves system
- Get up close and personal to the Karoo’s favorite inhabitants, the ostriches
- Dive with a crocodile at the local Oudtshoorn Cango Wildlife Ranch
- Explore the mesmerizing Swartberg Pass and its incredible views
- Enjoy the talent on offer at the KKNK in April
For more information or for a list of accredited camping sites and accommodation visit the Oudtshoorn Tourism Page.
The ideal way to explore the magical countryside is via a Cape Town car hire or campervan rental. The slow pace of life and a huge amount on offer means it is so easy to lose track of the days on the wine route, so so we suggest you take at least a week to meander through the gorgeous estates and rustic villages and really absorb what makes this South Africa’s most favorable travel route.
For more information of upcoming news, events, accommodation or activities on the wine route visit the Cape Winelands Blog or the official Route 62 page or for the die-hard wine connoisseur who would prefer skipping the Klein Karoo in favor of more South African wines read our post on even more fantastic towns to explore in the Cape Winelands.