By Antonina 03 January 2019

A WEEKEND GETAWAY IN THE WINELANDS: A COUPLES’ RETREAT

Antonina and her partner spent a short but sweet few nights in South Africa’s Winelands. Check out her experiences and her recommendations for a weekend break in this wonderful destination:

DAY 1: JACUZZIS, GOURMET CUISINE, & ANGALA BOUTIQUE HOTEL

Once my partner and I had arrived in Cape Town, we picked up our hired car and set off towards Franschhoek. It was a nice and easy 45-minute drive around the Mother City and into the countryside to our first hotel, Angala. We were welcomed by the owner and a lovely glass of prosecco each before being shown to our room. This was located slightly away from the main area, and on the way we passed the hotel’s amazing natural swimming pool and sauna/steam room.

This trip took place in August, so it was still relatively cold in the Winelands. We lit our fireplace in the room, grabbed our dressing gowns, and headed off to the Jacuzzi and steam room. We were very lucky to be the only guests in the entire hotel that night, so it was fantastic to hear nothing around us except for the tweeting birds. This peace and quiet gave us a great chance to reflect on our trip so far, as we had just explored Victoria Falls on both the Zimbabwe and Zambia sides – you can read my blog about our adventures here

Angala Boutique Hotel is a brilliant property – one that I would highly recommend – as it is located on a vineyard estate yet still gives you a feeling of being part of nature. It’s definitely a special place for people who want a balance of stunning landscapes and a prime location close to the town of Franschhoek.

Later that evening, we arranged for a taxi to pick us up and take us to Le coin Français for dinner. This is a restaurant that’s had some superb reviews. We wanted to treat ourselves to top-class dining, and we were certainly not disappointed. We chose the ‘8 course chefs journey menu’, which was absolutely phenomenal! (If you’re a real foodie, here are the YZ top recommendations for restaurants in the Cape Town area.)

DAY 2: FRANSCHHOEK, WINE, & LE QUARTIER FRANÇAIS

The next day, our morning wake-up call came in the form of some geese, haggling in front of our room. It was such a lovely sunny morning. The left-over rainfall made the vineyards shine and the mountain in the distance was framed by heavy dark clouds – every view from every angle was quite magical. 

We headed straight into the heart of Franschhoek, as we were staying at the centrally located Le Quartier Français. This is another nice small hotel, on the main street in Franschhoek with plenty of restaurants and shops within walking distance. We were allocated an Auberge Room, an option offering elegant fireplace, huge bed, and cosy atmosphere.

After unpacking, we left in time to hop onto the 12:30pm wine tram. The wine tram is a lovely scenic hop-on hop-off experience during which passengers are dropped off at a variety of wine estates for some wine tasting and sightseeing. 

We took the Green Line route and climbed to the top deck, where we had panoramic views of the distant mountains and vineyards. As the tram left the station, we were greeted by a host, who poured us a glass of wine from the Rickety Bridge estate – this was the first stop on the line. We didn’t get off the tram until we’d reached the Grande Provence estate, a beautiful property featuring immense sculptures. We sat inside the estate and tucked into a small wine-tasting menu with perfectly paired snacks. 

The wine we tasted was a mix of white, rosé, and red, combined with some oysters and cheese. Our favourite was the red wine – and as you get a great discount off the wine served, we purchased a few bottles. 

We boarded the tram again for our second stop, Mont Rochelle. I had already heard so much about this property, as a colleague’s brother worked there. Mont Rochelle is pretty stunning and is located on top of a hill overlooking the spectacular landscape. Again, we sampled the first-class wine menu and paired it with the local food and produce. 

At this point it started to rain, so we headed back to our hotel until dinner time. As this was our second and final night in the Winelands, we decided to treat ourselves again, by dining at the famous La Petite Colombe,* situated in Le Quartier Français itself. Of course this was very convenient for us, but we were very excited to try one of the country’s best restaurants in the heart of the Winelands. We tucked in to the delicious 8-course tasting menu, enjoying food that looked and tasted incredible. 

*Quick note: La Petite Colombe can be quite busy in the evenings, so I’d recommend that you make a reservation in advance.

DAY 3: PAARL & SPICE

Before we left the Winelands, we decided to stop over at the Spice Route in Paarl. This is another quaint town dominated by beautiful mountains and the Afrikaans Language Monument, which stands on top. 

The Spice Route is an attraction where you can experience delicacies including biltong, beer, sausages, chocolate, and wine – and you can browse a collection of local souvenirs. It’s a fabulous place to just relax and enjoy the views of the mountains in the distance – and in August, they were still topped with a bit of snow. 

I wish I had stayed longer, as it would have been brilliant to explore more nearby wine towns such as Stellenbosch; however, my partner and I had a lovely time and a wonderful wine-tasting experience.

If you’d like any more information or you’re interested in exploring the Cape Winelands yourself, why not contact a member of YZ on +44 020 8547 2305 or email us at [email protected]