In South Africa, a sparkling wine which is made in the traditional Champagne style is known as a Methode Cap Classique, or as we asy, “MCC”. Yesterday’s “Bubbles” tour concentrated entirely on MCC. We fortunately have many excellent producers of this style of wine. We tasted 26 different MCC wines during the day made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, pinot meunier, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc single varietals and blends. We were also extremely lucky enough to spend time with Jean-Pierre Charbaut, a charismatic winemaker from Champagne in France who makes wines in the same style here in Stellenbosch. (http://www.chabivin.co.za) It was a superb day.
The West Coast of the Northern Cape is definitely off the beaten track, which adds to its romantic appeal. Namaqualand has long been renowned for its rich plant life and mass displays of flowers in spring. The rugged and pristine shores however have remained virtually unknown to the public as it is within the restricted and previously forbidden diamond mining areas after they were found there in 1925. Shiny stones are not the only treasure to be found here. It is a mysterious, dramatic and unspoiled part of coastline which also holds great indigenous natural treasures.
We left the Western Cape for the Northern Cape where we spent five days exploring the many indigenous plants, birds, animals and insects found in the Strandveld there. Whilst walking amongst the coastal dunes we even saw dolphins hunting close to the shore.
Our Potpourri wine tasting tour is very popular with first time guests wanting to taste a representative cross section of Stellenbosch wines. It’s also practical for groups with a variety of tastes. We visit some of the youngest and oldest wine estates in the area as well as those in-between. This program introduces young and old wine estates and wine making styles across the spectrum from light crisp flavours to complex and robust red blends. We learn about wine tasting as well as how to pair wine with food. Tasting destinations of choice: – Rustenberg, Starke-Condé, Waterford, Stellenzicht, Uva Mira, Webersburg, Uitkyk, De Morgenzon, Zevenwacht, Kanonkop.
Varietals to taste: Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin, Rousanne, Semillon, Chardonnay, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, and French-style (Bordeaux and Rhone) and Cape blends.
We were very fortunate. Kate (in apron) from Waterford is a mech eng student and gave us a detailed explanation of the problems that wineries deal with to make sure that the wine ends up being delivered in best possible condition.
Often when we drive from the airport to Stellenbosch, the “shantytowns” along the freeway stun first time guests. It is actually a very South African sight. The kilometres of township shacks that flank the highway, composing the outskirts of one the informal settlements that still house a huge proportion of the country’s population. A small group of Swedes and British guests who wanted to do more than simply drive past joined Madiba and I on one of his Township Tours. Madiba is a registered tour guide and has lived here since 1971. We walked through Khayamandi and confronted the reality of day-to-day life in the township. It proved to be a very memorable and valuable experience. Known as “shanty towns” in other parts of the world, and once called “squatter camps” here at home, the Townships are a part of South Africa that some have never seen, and others are proud to call […]
Did you know that the second owner of Groot Constantia was Swedish?
I include the beautiful Groot Constantia on many of my Cape Peninsula tours. Most people know that it is South Africa’s oldest wine Estate. But, did you know that the second owner of Groot Constantia was Swedish? Oloff Bergh and Anna de Koningh (a former slave) owned it from 1716 to1734. They took possession of Constantia on 13 November 1716. Bergh was born in Göteborg, Sweden, in 1643 and joined the VOC in 1665. He spent a few years in Ceylon as a soldier and was a sergeant when he arrived at the Cape in 1676.
Did you know that it’s only here that you can see two World Heritage sites at the same time? Robben Island and Table Mountain. Thursday’s tour with 8 guests from the Swedish West Coast started with a tour around Robben Island. This little close-knit group have traveled the world together and it was a real privilege to entertain them over three days.
Yesterday saw us visiting Langa. It’s one of the oldest townships in the Cape Town area. Siviwe, who grew up here, showed us around for the entire afternoon. This Swedish group walked to a number of venues including a community centre, a few private houses, a laundry, a shebeen and a open street restaurant. They were able to interact with South African township residents. It was a highly entertaining and educational experience
Slow travel is the best travel!
Today’s tour was exceptional. It consisted of spending the entire day exploring places all across the Southern Peninsula. This gave us time to enjoy so much at a very leisurely pace. Whilst tour busses whizzed by, we dipped our feet in the Atlantic.
We hugged the coastline using the coast road as it winds slowly through lazy suburbs with quaint names like Fish Hoek, Kalk Bay, St James and Glencairn until we entered the gates of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve and stood on the edge of the world on the extreme southwesterly outcrop of Africa.
We visited the renowned Boulders Penguin Colony in Simons Town where we learnt about the unique and endangered land-based colony of African Penguins. This colony is one of only a few in the world and we were able to get close enough to observe and photograph these curious and […]
Smelling the roses.
Yesterday’s group came all the way from the far, far, far, far north of Sweden. Guess if they enjoyed escaping the snow and dark to our glorious Cape sunshine J.
We visited Groot Constantia (the vines, manor house, winery, museum and wine tasting). Then we soaked up magnificent Cape scenery from as we drove to Hout bay via Noordhoek, Silvermine, and Chapman’s Peak. This is easily one of the most scenic road trips on the planet and often featured in films, travel magazines and nature programs. We enjoyed stunning views over beaches and bays with white sand and glistening waters, the sort of vistas that steals your breath away.
After a slow lunch in overlooking the harbour we travelled along the Atlantic coast to Table Mountain and the viewpoint on the top of Signal Hill beneath Lions Head to and enjoy the views over Cape Town, Table Bay and Robben […]