South Africa

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18 travelers at this place

  • Day163

    Franschhoek via Betty’s Bay

    February 25 in South Africa ⋅ 🌙 18 °C

    Today we're heading to Franschhoek, one of the famous South African wine valleys. We take the scenic route, around the eastern side of False Bay, and we do not regret it.

    First stop is Betty's Bay, where African Penguins congregate. There are hundreds of penguins all around the shore. Small walkways take you above the penguins, and it's adorable watching the little birds waddling around under us.

    We then drive around the bay, heading north on the R44. The road is like something out of a car advert- a grand, sweeping drive, hugging the mountains on one side, and dropping off into the ocean on the other. We can't resist stopping and taking pictures on almost every lay-by, and we both agree that it's perhaps the most scenic drive we've done. It's one of those moments that fills your heart with joy and provide the true rewards of adventure.

    Arriving into Franschhoek early afternoon, we check into our pleasant little guesthouse, which is complete with a rusting double-decker bus plonked in the garden. We head into town, passing famous vineyards which produce some of South Africa's best wines. Instead of wine, though, we head to a craft beer bar, figuring that we'll be drinking enough wine on our vineyard tour the next day.

    We get an early night, preparing for a heavy day tomorrow
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  • Day164

    Franschhoek Wine Tram

    February 26 in South Africa ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    The Western Cape of South Africa- the area around Cape Town- is famous for its wines. In the early 1700s, French Hugenots fled here, escaping persecution. They brought with them their knowledge of wine-making, and started vineyards in the region.

    Franschhoek is one of the most well-known of these, and is full to the brim with large- and small-scale wineries. Vineyards stretch through the valley as far as the eye can see, watched over by grand old manor houses.

    Today, we're exploring these via a Wine Tram (which includes busses), taking us round a number of wineries to sample their best wines. It's basically a posh pub-crawl, and we're absolutely buzzing.

    We start fairly early in the morning at Babylonstoren. The wine is fantastic, and we have a wine that we've never tried before- a Voignier. Now, we don't pretend to have anywhere near a good knowledge of wine. Chris knows that he likes Merlots, and KT despises Chardonnays. But being on a Wine Tour in the heart of South African wine region really makes us feel like sommeliers. The staff at the vineyards present each wine with a description of the grape, time of harvest, and other technical information which is lost on us, but allows us to make the appropriate noises to make us sound knowledgeable. "Hmm, nice, yes, ooh brilliant".

    By the end of the tour, we've sampled a good number of wines, and are really enjoying ourselves. The scenery is unbelievable. Mountains dominate the horizon in every direction, the long lines of grapes marching down the valley sides in perfect rows. It's an ideal place to get drunk.
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