The Cape Winelands are to Cape Town what Provence is to Paris...well sort of. Consisting of Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and their sibling towns of Paal and Wellington, the Cape Winelands form the heart of the wine industry and, more recently, have become a gourmet hub too. It's a good idea then to plan your visit around sleeping over - that way you can visit one or two wine farms, factor in a decadent lunch or a rustic picnic somewhere and make your way back to your hotel, or hired cottage or apartment at your leisure. There are some bigger hotels dotted around Stellenbosch and Franschhoek (the two main hubs) but if you're wanting authentic, smaller is, in my opinion, better. If budget's a factor, think about renting an apartment in Stellenbosch proper or perhaps a cottage on a farm. In Franschhoek the cottage-to-rent scene is popular and, since most things are within walking distance, why not make the most of this kind of rural offering? That said, Franschhoek has a bewildering number of small auberges and boutique hotels, many of them absolutely world class.
Things to consider before booking
- High season starts in November and goes through to April so expect to pay more then.
- With high season comes high temperatures - if heat gets to you, check whether your hotel or establishment has a pool and air conditioning. I'd say these are essential factors in the high summer months.
- Self-catering establishments and some b&bs do not include breakfast, but almost all guesthouses and hotels do as part of their rate.