Tag Archives: western cape

All The Reasons Why South Africa Is The Perfect Place To Wine

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Western Cape, South Africa is the Shangri-La of all things wine. The Garden of Eden of wine.  The absolute nirvana of wine ecstasy.

Not to discredit world-renowned wine capitals such as France, Italy, Spain or any others, but everyone already knows how distinguished and prized they are, unlike the hidden gem and severely underrated wine region of Western Cape, specifically in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.  South Africa is the underdog in the world of all things wine and now, more and more people are discovering just how impressive it truly is. If you’re a complete wine enthusiast or love wine even just a little bit, treat yourself and get down to Western Cape for a truly pleasurable experience.

Here’s why:

imagesIt’s Scenic Everywhere You Look

South Africa is one of my favorite countries because of how stunning it is. Oceans, mountains, rivers, valleys, lakes, forests, deserts, vineyards–it’s all here in one relatively small pocket of the world. Each winery I visited in Western Cape (I lost count) was complemented by mother nature during her finest.

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Even my Airbnb in Franschhoek was surrounded by acres of beautiful vineyards and mountainous backdrops.

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What did I do to deserve all of this?

imagesMore Accessible Than Ever

Western Cape presents to you more options than ever to get your wine game going strong. Private shuttles, Ubers, cabs, trains, trams, wine buses, bicycles, and even Segways are at your service when it comes to getting around. My favorite option was the trams and wine trains in Franschhoek which normally requires a reservation.

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In many cases, you don’t have to book a tour in advance. On two occasions, we walked right up to a tourist information center in Stellenbosch and enquired about a wine tour to go on there and now. Soon enough, a knowledgeable driver arrived to chauffeur us around. On another occasion, we simply had different Uber’s take us around to the random wineries we chose on our maps. On another occasion, we took a series of Hop-on, Hop-off buses in Franschhoek to a few wineries. Getting around safely and responsibly was never an issue.

imagesThe Unbeatable Pairings

Sure, wines are known to be carefully paired with select cheeses and chocolates, but where else in the world can you have your wine paired with biltong?

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Biltong is basically South Africa’s unique version of beef jerky. Though the biltong here can be made up of some of the most interesting game meats–from springbok to kudu and even ostrich. They all pair quite well with your reds.

Besides the biltong, you have your go-to pairings of favored cheeses, chocolates, sweets, and other nicknacks all available to your liking.

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imagesYou Will Meet Some Fantastic People

Wine tours attract thirsty people from all around the world who enjoy divulging in the finer things in life. In this case, wine. And in my experience, wine people are happy people. You’re bound to meet others who share in your wine commonality. I met a group of frat-like Dutch dudes who joined in on a custom tour and on another occasion, I accompanied a group of beautiful ladies on a special birthday wine tour that they thoroughly enjoyed.

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imagesThere’s No Better Place To Discover Pinotage

Did you know South Africa has their own varietal of red wine they invented? It’s called Pinotage and there is no better place in the world to try it. It’s a red blend: Pinot noir and Hermitage, hence PINO TAGE. Western Cape offers that and every other varietal you can imagine. As a special bonus, South Africa also offers some of the finest selection of Brandy in the world!

 

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imagesIt’s Conveniently Affordable

I’ve been to South Africa a handful of times over the past five years and have been able to go on SO many wine excursions because of how affordable they are. At one of my favorite vendors, Muratie, I even shipped a few bottles back home to Michigan right there on the spot. As of this post, the US dollar is doing well in South Africa, which means more to spend on your favorite Cabernet or Sauvignon blanc.

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I found a tour that shuttled you roundtrip from Cape Town and included six different wineries with five tastings at each winery and lunch included for R800 which translates to about $65 USD. Quality pricing!

imagesThere’s More Than Just Wine

Another thing that’s great about the wine region here is that there is an abundance of other things to do during your wine day. There are tons of exceptional restaurants and bars, shops and cafe’s, malls and theaters. There was even an instance where a friend and I went to a champagne tasting at the House of J.C. LeROUX and then immediately after went to go play with monkeys in a conservation outreach nearby!

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imagesTips To Make The Best of Your Wine Excursion

  • The wineries in Western Cape are open year round but the best time to visit is during the late spring and summer when the weather is ideal. Remember that the summer in South Africa is in the December to February months.
  • Many wineries, especially in Stellenbosch, close earlier on Saturdays for some reason. Some as early as noon! For that reason, Fridays are the most popular days for wine tours.
  • However, there are a couple exceptional outdoor food markets in Stellenbosch that are only open on Saturdays. Root 44 and the Slow Market in Stellenbosch are the two most popular. There they serve lots of fresh and delicious food in addition to great wines. Beginning there on a Saturday morning is never a bad idea!
  • The birthday girl in one of my wine groups got lots of free samples and larger pours when she told our wine hosts it was her birthday. Hint hint 🙂
  • Stellenbosch and Franschhoek are home to an insane amount of different wineries and I have yet been to a bad one. You should have no trouble finding any as they are all relatively in close proximity to each other.
  • Pace yourself. You’ll be surprised just how fast the wine creeps up on you.
  • There are many other wineries outside of the neighboring towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, but these two places have the most wineries by far.
  • There are loads of accommodation in Cape Town that cater to wine tours, along with hostels, hotels, and Airbnb’s in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek. Many companies offer direct pickups and returns.

Happy WINEing 🙂

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First You Play With The Ostrich, Then You Eat The Ostrich!

Along the southern coastal region of South Africa’s Western Cape, lies a stretch of parallel routes originating from Cape Town and bleeding into the Eastern Cape. It’s referred to as the Garden Route–a ridiculously scenic drive encompassing a myriad of activities to partake in along the way including but not limited to whale watching, cave exploration, game drives, surfing, bungee jumping, and a visit to an ostrich farm or two.

I had the pleasure to show two of my friends around the Garden Route, being this was my third time experiencing such a wondrous opportunity. One of the particular highlights I was looking forward to, besides the highest bungee in the world, was introducing them to the peculiar world of ostriches.

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You see, ostriches are absolutely terrifying creatures.

They are bitey and ultra curious birds that can easily wreck your s#1T if you get too close to them. They’re also fast as heck and can kill you with their giant legs if they wanted to.

At the Cango Ostrich Farm in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world, we had the privilege of being shown around the farm on a private tour, along with everything an ostrich is capable of. They really are bizarre creatures!

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I informed my friends of a thing called an “ostrich massage” that I’ve gotten here before, but I didn’t tell them exactly what it was. They had all sorts of guesses, including a version where they thought an ostrich would give them a back massage by stepping on their backsides. THAT would be the death of us!

But, no. An ostrich massage was much less horrible than being stepped on. Instead, you were simply given a bucket of pellets to hold close to your chest as an ostrich or two or three came and went to town on the pellets from around your neck. It was a kooky experience, but the unpredictable nature of the ostriches showed on all our faces.

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We learned quite a few things about the ostrich bird that day, including how their feathers were used as a form of currency back in the olden South African times. Weird. Also, cannot forget the fact that their abnormally large eggs are strong enough for a human to stand on without them cracking.

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Enough with the play. Time to eat!

On the menu? Ostriches!

Served right here at this very farm.

I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing ostrich meat for the first time at this very place a few years ago and it did not disappoint. I implored Veronica and Will to try it as well and they were more than down for it. Even after learning to love the ostrich, we still didn’t mind devouring one!

Take a look at this delicious ostrich-kabob that I ordered.

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If you’ve never eaten ostrich meat before and are wondering how it tastes, know that it resembles and tastes more similar to beef than that of chicken. It’s also lean and full of flavor. The others ordered an ostrich burger and an ostrich steak, both great options as well.

The Cango Ostrich Farm is situated in Oudtshoorn in the Western Cape of South Africa. It is one of two main farms along the Garden Route. I do recommend a visit during your Garden Route trip as it doesn’t take up much time and it IS in the ostrich capital of the world after all.


Cango Ostrich Show Farm

Oudtshoorn 6620,
South Africa

+27 44 272 4623


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