Letishia Charles is a wife, mom to a gorgeous tween, occasional trail runner and hiker and bubbly (drinking!) owner of social media marketing company Queen Bee Hospitality Marketing.
There are so many magnificent destinations to explore in the Western Cape – so much to do, so little time, right?
Here's a taste of just a few places that I've been that I feel should be on the top of anyone's 'Things to do in the Cape Winelands in winter' list.
So, settle down with a cuppa coffee or glass of wine and enjoy!
1. Warm fires and red wine after a rainy game drive
There is a charming little town located just over an hour’s drive from Cape Town which I recently visited for the first time!
This is Riebeek Kasteel, one of the oldest towns in South Africa. Bartholomeus Klip is a gorgeous and exclusive destination in this area and is located on a working sheep and wheat farm. Here you can enjoy a game drive through the vast nature reserve and farm. On our trip, wrapped in warm ponchos provided by Bartholomeus Klip, we got to see day-old lambs, buffalo and adorable baby Geometric Tortoises which are endangered. The beauty of the Swartland fynbos is absolutely striking, and more so when it receives much-needed rain. Incidentally, we experienced a downpour while we were on our game drive, and so, with the prospect of the cosy fireplace and red wine to warm us up, we made our way back to the farmhouse. We enjoyed a delicious 3-course lunch with paired wines in their conservatory warmed by the winter sun, an absolutely decadent experience.
Do yourself a favour and take the family to Bartholomeus Klip – there are a myriad of exciting activities for everyone to enjoy. While you’re there, ask for a taste of their more-ish roasted nuts! You’ll thank me for this tip.
2. Celebrating the good life in Constantia
Our love of wine, good food, nature and historical buildings is what sees us returning to Groot Constantia. Yes, it’s practically around the corner from where I live, but also a mere 15 minutes from the Cape Town City Centre which is really conveniently located if you’re looking for a cosy venue to enjoy impeccable food and world-renowned wines.
We love exploring the estate, taking our time getting acquainted with the history of the Manor House, which the kid absolutely loves. The Cloete Cellar is where one can enjoy a wine-tasting and then move on to a guided tour of their pristine Production Cellar, view the beautiful South African artwork, experience a chocolate and wine pairing and then sit down for a meal at either Jonkershuis or Simon's restaurant. R95 will get you a ticket for the Visitors Route Experience tour, which includes a guided cellar tour, museum access, wine tasting (five wines of your choice) and a beautiful Spiegelau wine glass.
3. Time out in Tulbagh
One of my favourite places to unwind and truly enjoy the beauty of nature, is a gem in the Tulbagh Valley, called Essere Lodge. This tranquil guest lodge has the most beautiful indigenous garden and is perfect for a short hike or just a lazy day relaxing in front of their fireplace reading a good book or chatting with friends. Although their policy of no kids under 16 years old is a little restrictive for my family, it’s a gentle reminder that mom and dad need some time out too! Or perhaps just mom, because mom-life is hard.
The fantastic and hands-on owners, Alison and Lawrie Irvine, are currently building some amazing log cabins in addition to their eight farmhouse chic suites. These self-catering cabins, which I am super excited to experience, will have the most spectacular views of the mountains and come with a Jacuzzi too! Perfect for warming up on a cold night with a glass of wine in hand. Keep an eye out for when they’ll be available to book – most likely around July 2018.
4. A sweet spot in Stellenbosch
Nothings makes me feel more content than a wine farm that caters for kids! Lanzerac Wine Estate in Stellenbosch is one such place and with it’s beautiful historic estate surrounded by rows of giant oak trees, it’s a gorgeous place to explore. Their cosy wine tasting room is great to enjoy a wine and chocolate pairing while the kids have their Appletiser and choc pairing. Basically, happy kids = happy mom. Thanks, Lanzerac! Oh, and their deli has the most delicious offerings too… Try them out!
5. The Pearl of the Cape Winelands
Last but certainly not least, if you’re an avid hiker, a visit to the picturesque Paarl Mountain Nature Reserve is an absolute must. It can be quite a precarious walk up Paarl Rock so be sure to have a guide and seasoned hikers with you. The magnificent views of the Drakenstein valley are breath-taking and definitely worth the effort of making your way up the mountain. You’ll need a few glasses of wine after this experience, trust me on this.
Warm up after your hike at one of the many gorgeous eateries or wine farms in the area. Definitely check out Spice Route for some amazing options. A firm favourite of our family is the Barley & Biltong Emporium.
Watch our Paarl Rock hiking experience on this awesome video clip by travelvids.tv.