After an idyllic stay in Francshhoek, we moved onto the larger town of Stellenbosch, also famed for its wines. We put down roots at the Mountain Breeze Caravan Park, which seemed to be the only campsite we came across. Unfortunately, it is about 6kms out of Stellenbosch town so not within easy walking distance but it had large plots shaded by tall pines, electricity points and washing machines.
Once we had settled in, we drove into town to book ourselves onto a wine tour – what a surprise! There are a few different wine tour options which you can book at Tourism Information. We chose the Vine Hopper which is a hop on, hop off service that takes you to a maximum of five wineries during the day.
The next morning, our Vine Hopper driver (Marius) collected us from our campsite, although due to a misunderstanding we were waiting for each other at different places. 15 minutes later we found each other (panic averted) and were on our way. The driver then went on to collect the rest of the group from their accommodation and our small group of six set off to the first winery. Andy and I visited five in total and, to save me waffling on, I’ve listed them below with a couple of comments:
1. Lanzarac Wine Estate 1692
2. Neil Ellis – we had a great cheese platter with charcuterie and olives coupled with a fantastic view. Large resident dog (some sort of bull mastiff type) who was really friendly and particularly loved those who fed him from the table.
3. Camberley Wines- a small boutique winery which is my favourite kind. For something different try their sparkling Shiraz. If you want a red that knocks your socks off, grab a bottle of the Philosophers Stone (no affiliation to Harry Potter)
4. Zorgvliet Wines
5. Boschendal Wines – a gold star for the staff here who were attentive and super entertaining. May have had something to do with the extra glasses of sparkling Shiraz I had at Camberley kicking in!
We were dropped off at our campsite around 7pm (bearing in mind we were picked up at 10:45am!) happily swinging our shopping bag of Camberley wines.
The following day we drove ourselves to Rustenburg Wines. We drink Rustenburg at home as a treat so really wanted to visit the place where the magic happens. And boy did it happen. The vision that is their red muscadel dessert wine was a dream. We hadn’t even swallowed our first taste and had mumbled with full mouths that we wanted to buy a bottle. We spent the rest of our day chilling under the pine trees of our campsite as it was 38 degrees and yesterday’s wine tasting definitely meant I was due a nap!
Saturday morning we were excited about visiting Route 44 market which has food, drink and crafts. It is held on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 4pm and hosted by Audacia winery. The market is within walking distance of Maintain Breeze Caravan Park so off we trotted knowing we could sample the local wines and cider then walk back to the campsite. There was an amazing range of food which made it nigh on impossible to choose one thing to eat. We decided to share a few dishes so that we could sample as much as possible. Look out for the Chilli Poppers stall if you enjoy spicy snacks. Live music was provided by Estian Maree, a student at Stellenbosch University, who performed for several hours. My personal favourites were his covers of Green Day and Ed Sheeran. He did mention he has a you tube channel so I will link it here if you would like to have a listen.
Following an amazingly chilled day at Route 44 market, we made our way back to the campsite to prepare for the next part of our SA travels…Route 62.