What to do and Where to Stay in the Western Cape: Winelands and Whale Coast

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We’d be hard pressed to find someone who didn’t enjoy a glass of wine on holiday, and while wine buffs were once sniffy about the New World, South Africa’s ravishing Winelands are home to some of the best food and wine experiences on the continent. We can arrange a day tour of the Winelands from Cape Town, but if you have even a night or two to spare, this is a lovely area of South Africa to stay in.  The pretty Huguenot village of Franschhoek is South Africa’s gourmet capital, while Stellenbosch is a buzzing university town and perfect for people who want to get a feel for real South African life.  Once you’re here, there are long, languorous rides through the vineyards in the summer, and cosy fires to snuggle up beside in the winter.

Driving out of Cape Town into the rising sun, you’ll hit the whale coast, home of some of the best land-based whale watching the world. From June to November the whale-crier strides the streets of Hermanus, alerting the town when they breach in the bay. There are a number of lovely guesthouses (and one quite ravishing boutique hotel) that we can heartily recommend here.

While most people take the coast road east out of Cape Town, there’s another way to go- head for the wild, woolly, and rarely explored Cape West Coast. This is where Capetonians come when they want a weekend away, for long walks along rugged beaches, fresh fish in tiny seaside villages, brightly coloured boats, and an old-fashioned feel. Accommodation here isn’t particularly luxurious or smart, and that’s why we love it.

Finally, let’s not forget lovely Namaqualand, which bursts into flower each spring, and the Cedarberg Mountains, one of South Africa’s prettiest mountain ranges. Here you’ll spot ancient bushman rock art, hike till your lungs are gasping at the view, and restore your soul with some of the most beautiful scenery going.

Our pick of places to stay in the Winelands and Whale Coast

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