As travellers, we get to experience some incredible destinations across the world. Yet few destinations are as meaningful as the one you choose to host your wedding at.
With this in mind, I have put together a list of my favourite Cape Winelands wedding venues. Each of these venues has been visited and vetted by yours truly, so I can personally attest to their quality.
Scattered across South Africa’s most world-famous wine regions, these stunning destinations are individually unique, aesthetically appealing and professionally operated.
Each estate and venue offers carefully curated packages, incredible settings and imposing backdrops. Throw in world-class wines, breathtaking surroundings and lifelong memories… and you’re all set for the perfect wedding celebration!
A Day To Remember
Although getting married nowadays doesn’t mean you have to marry your way into debt or host the most extravagant wedding around… The idea is still to go the extra mile.
And you will want to plan a day worth celebrating (along with your marriage) for many years to come… After all, if it’s going to last forever, it should be memorable!
Boschendal is one of South Africa’s most iconic wine farms. And indeed, one of my personal favourites. (I have long joked that if money wasn’t likely to be an issue, I would someday get married at Boschendal.)
Encircled by the Groot Drakenstein and Simonsberg mountains, Boschendal enjoys a prime setting. This estate overflows with oak trees, gardens and verdant greenery. And it is blessed with some of the most beautiful Cape Dutch architecture around.
Given all this, Boschendal makes an impression no matter the occasion… So it is clear why it is such a highly sought-after wedding venue.
Choice of Venues:
The Olive Press is a dreamy, natural space, which makes for a special venue. It is blessed with floor-to-ceiling glass doors, poplar tree trusses and picture-perfect views of the mountains and meadow fields. It’s ideal as a relaxed, yet ultra-chic wedding reception. This venue can host up to 250 guests.
Rhone Homestead is one of the estate’s finest offerings. It is steeped in history and yesteryear glamour and ordained with lush, private gardens. This beautiful venue is ideal for smaller, more intimate weddings. It can seat 50 guests.
Manor House Lawns:
For those craving Boschendal’s natural beauty, this open-air venue is ideal. The Manor House, a historic national monument, is one of the estate’s most iconic pieces and adds a real sense of occasion. This venue is best suited to smaller wedding functions and comfortably hosts 80 guests.
This venue’s natural surroundings mean it is ideal for outdoor wedding celebrations. It can seat up to 72 people. The space includes: homely cottages, a communal boma and a natural swimming pool.
Exclusive Picnics: Werf Farm Picnic or Rhone Rose Garden Picnic:
For a more whimsical, laid-back approach to your wedding reception, choose between the famous Werf Farm Picnic or Rhone Rose Garden Picnic settings.The Werf Picnic area is idyllic with its white pavilion, playing fountain and endless lawn, stretching out beneath protective oaks. While the Rhone Rose Garden – spread out under equally proud oaks – offers a choice between carefully laid tables or a picnic lawn experience.
Good to know:
Additionally, Boschendal also offers different locations for popping the big question… And they can provide the following: pre-wedding braais; groom and bridal party gifting; post-wedding picnics and even romantic horse-and-carriage rides on your special day.
All function catering is done in-house by hugely talented executive chef, Christiaan Campbell and his capable team. Menus boast the finest in seasonal, farm-to-table goodness.
La Paris is every bit the dream wedding venue… This estate is complete with sprawling oaks, immaculate garden spaces, a beautiful dam and the imposing Franschhoek mountains. Personally, I consider it one of the most magical settings anywhere.
Blessed with multiple venue options, La Paris offers something for every prospective married couple. At this stunning venue, style and chic beauty come naturally… And weddings here are truly beautiful to boot.
Furthermore, the La Paris events team happily assists with all your wedding needs. They can help arrange everything from marriage officers to accommodation and more. Catering options include: Halaal, Kosher, vegetarian and gluten-free. (Note: All special dietary requirements are accounted for.)
This historical indoor venue, with its marble floors and salvaged French Chateau lanterns, is suitable for both wedding ceremonies and receptions. It can royally host up to 120 guests.
This vast venue is a place of ultra-elegance, ideal for larger-than-life weddings. Especially as it can easily host +400 guests. It showcases brickwork, arch windows, glass doors and twinkling crystal chandeliers… just what a fairytale wedding needs!
For a more tranquil, intimate wedding ceremony, the Rose Garden is a must. Surrounded by climbing roses and protectively overreaching oaks, this is a most romantic venue… And it’s certainly my personal pick! It is also suitable for a Champagne breakfast or picnic-style luncheon.
The Arbour venue is perfect for your wedding ceremony. It provides impressive mountains as a backdrop and a magical, wrought iron gazebo, which serves as a focal point.
The Garden Room:
Here, fold-up glass doors open onto a black-and-white checked verandah, leading out to the Manor House Lawn. This spacious, yet decidedly intimate venue can host up to 60 guests. It’s great for a small reception or wedding ceremony. Regrettably, as of 1 August 2019, this venue will no longer be available. So hurry and book before then!
Mont Rochelle has enchanted me ever since I first stepped off the Franschhoek Wine Tram to explore this estate. It offers some of the best views around and both the buildings and gardens are impeccable. Indeed, there are few more impressive and imposing locations to celebrate your wedding at.
The Klein Drakenstein mountains serve as the ultimate backdrop, while each estate wedding venue offers something uniquely beautiful for your special day!
What’s more, this estate is very hands-on when it comes to your big day. For weddings of up to 30 guests, their excellent in-house wedding team has your back. For larger celebrations, they also help find a local wedding planner to assist with arrangements.
And I love that, if you are after a more relaxed, simple country wedding, you can opt for Mont Rochelle’s famous picnics… These are perfect for smaller, more intimate wedding gatherings of up to 10 people, as you can come together with your closest loved ones to celebrate by the dam.
This is certainly my favourite venue among Mont Rochelle’s outdoor settings – and, when you visit, you’ll soon see why. This three-tiered lawn and accompanying rose garden, which the Manor House overlooks, is absolutely gorgeous.
It provides swoon-worthy views so it is ideal for ceremonies or receptions. And, with a marquee set up, the area transforms into a magical reception area. (Note: Manor House exclusive use rate and marquee hire applies.)
The Manor House:
The Manor House is one of the most beautiful buildings I have seen. With the lawn and rose garden before it, it makes for a blissful setting. This grand lady can be utilised for your reception. To make a lovely feasting area, dining room chairs spill out into the courtyard. This venue can host 80 people. (Note: Manor House exclusive use rate applies.)
This lovely restaurant seamlessly doubles as a modern, country-style chapel. Better still, it can also serve for your reception area too. It offers excellent views of the surrounds and nearby Country Kitchen bell tower. (Perfect for posing next to, with your close friends and family.) The venue costs R 25 000 per day and can host 60 people.
For a more unique spin on things, why not celebrate your wedding day from the vineyard rooftop? The Vineyard Rooftop allows you to soak up breathtaking mountain and vineyard views and it’s the ideal spot to say ‘I do’.
What’s more, it is well-positioned, lying adjacent to Miko Restaurant and Terrace. (It can host 80 people and is included in the hotel exclusive use rate and marquee hire.)
For outdoor weddings, look no further than the gazebo. It offers great views of the vineyards and can host 20 people. The Gazebo costs R 7 500 per day.
Especially ideal for snug, indoor weddings during winter, the Vineyard Lounge offers gorgeous mountain views and plenty of atmosphere. It costs R 7 500 per day and can host 20 people.
Mont Rochelle’s main restaurant, Miko, is both an incredible restaurant and venue in one. It is well-suited to serving as a formal reception/dining area. It can host 60 people and is included in the exclusive use rate (although additional fees may apply).
Good to know:
Mont Rochelle can assist with luxurious accommodation (either in the Manor House or 22-room hotel) – and a variety of catering options. Choose between a casual braai (BBQ), an à la carte menu or a set menu (designed to your liking).
For wedding functions of more than 60 guests, Mont Rochelle can hire a marquee for you. Note: Marquee hire and arrangements incur additional costs. Also, please be advised that all wedding functions work on a ‘number of guests’ quote policy.
For more information on Mont Rochelle and their wedding offerings, please visit virginlimitededition.com/en/mont-rochelle or contact them on: +27 (011) 325 4405, 0800 056 343 (South Africa toll free) or email@example.com.
Located near the foothills of the Simonsberg, at the start of the Franschhoek Winelands, lies the family-owned and run Vrede en Lust Estate. This fine estate is one of the most esteemed wedding destinations around. Not only is it a dream to visit, with its beautiful Cape Dutch architecture, lovely eatery and incredible garden spaces and vineyards… But it is a truly special wedding venue too.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say it really is like hosting your wedding in the secret garden of the Winelands… and what could be better than that?
This estate has the necessary wedding facilities on-site… This helps remove the stress and travel time between locations away entirely!
What’s more, their talented wedding team is on-hand to ensure your wedding turns out as desired. They specialise in bespoke wedding packages and can tailor to each couple’s needs. Meanwhile, Vrede en Lust’s delightful eatery, Lust Bisto and Bakery, can handle all your catering needs.
At Vrede en Lust, you can hold your ceremony out on the picturesque lawn, which overlooks the vineyards and mountains beyond. Then, when it’s time to truly celebrate, head across to the majestic, all-season Vineyard Terrace.
This lovely venue, impressively enclosed by glass walls, offers incredible views and a glorious, 300-square metre outdoor floor space. And, situated adjacent to the Vineyard Terrace, is the historic cellar, which is included in the venue hire. The cellar is backed by generator power so even if Eskom’s power cuts strike – the party goes on undisturbed!
Personally, I love that, at Vrede en Lust, you can also enjoy idyllic photo sessions and pre-drinks in the gardens.
The Vineyard Terrace – combined with the cellar – makes for a wonderfully adaptable, impressive venue. Best of all, you can easily decorate it according to your choice of decor or wedding theme. It can seat up to 120 guests with the dance floor inside – or, weather-permitting, 150 guests with the dance floor outside.
The starting point of the trail is Kleine-Scheidegg, a mountain pass located between the peaks of Eiger and Lauberhorn. It is also the lower terminus of the Jungfraubahn, the highest railroad in Europe. There are frequent trains from the town of Grindelwald to Kleine-Scheidegg and the town itself is well-connected to the Swiss rail network, SBB.
This trail goes along the north wall of the Eiger Glacier, treating you to panoramas, while taking you closer to the town of Grindelwald below.
The path is not very difficult, neither is it dangerous (but it is long!). It cuts its way gradually through the rock, taking you lower at a leisurely pace.
Consisting of dirt and rock all the way, it really tests your stamina. Six kilometres in length, the trail officially ends at Alpiglen, a settlement halfway down the mountain and served by a train station.
From the highest point on the Eiger trail, the gondolas ferrying visitors to the adjacent peak of Männlichen look like mere dots along the mountainside, with the valleys of Grindelwald and Lauterbrunnen spread out below…
Traveller’s Tip: Carry plenty of food of water. Restaurants are only at the endpoints of the trail and are very expensive (as with everywhere else in Switzerland). Also, visiting in winter isn’t recommended as ice might make the trail risky.
Big Bend National Park is a special place. Not only is it vast and full of dramatic views, it’s also a place where you can see two countries at once: Mexico and the United States.
The South Rim hike is our all-time favorite because we truly felt like we escaped to another world. It took around ten hours for us to trek the somewhat strenuous trail. It was a challenging day hike but the beauty around every turn made it more than worth it!
The Rio Grande river snakes through countless mountains and valleys, making Big Bend a dream for nature and hiking lovers. You can even take a boat across the Rio Grande and visit the small Mexican village of Boquillas.
Since Big Bend National Park is in such a secluded place, there is no light pollution, meaning the night sky will be full of stars… Whether it’s the mountains, the wildlife or the stars twinkling over the Rio Grande, you’re in for a treat at Big Bend National Park!
Hike Details: The South Rim Trail Hike starts at the Chisos Basin Trail head. Keep on that path until you reach the Laguna Meadow Trail. From Laguna Meadow, you’ll come to Colima Trail. After you’ve been on Colima Trail for a while, you’ll see a turnoff for the South Rim Trail… The South Rim will give you some truly breathtaking views.
If you have more time, you can connect to the East Rim Trail or you can take Boot Canyon Trail all the way to Pinnacles Trail and back to Chisos Basin Trail… Happy hiking!
I run out of adjectives when I think about Cappadocia. It’s a region that is most unique. It has distinctive rock formations and can’t be compared with any other place in the world. It’s also recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.
My first impressions were, is this still planet earth? If yes, did I time travel past 1000 years or more? This place takes us back to the stone age. Hiking in the valleys of Cappadocia gives a godly experience.
Out of all the hikes, my favourite one is Pigeon Valley hike – it being one of the longest. It’s a moderate level trek of about 4.5 kilometres. It’s located between Göreme and the Uçhisar Castle.
The trail starts from Göreme and involves walking on plain land, hiking, (basic) rock climbing along the high sided cliffs and walking inside an ancient tunnel.
Traveller’s Tip: There are not too many people on the trail… Carry a map, enough water and emergency phone numbers before you start the trial. I got lost a couple of times (all for good) and landed up in dead ends of the valley with great views.
My personal favourite is the Tranquility Cracks hike. Starting from the glamourous Camps Bay side, it feeds from the popular Pipe Tracks. So you cover two great trails in one hike. Although relatively easy overall, the higher you climb, the more tiring (especially up Corridor Ravine) it is.
Your path offers breathtaking views out across Camps Bay, wild Proteas and other rich flora. When you finally reach the top, the valley overlooks the back of Table Mountain, Constantia Valley and False Bay beyond. But the Cracks are the main focal point. They’re fascinating, puzzle-piece like rock formations…
Traveller’s Tip: Pack in plenty of water and snacks, as well as a warm top (even in good weather) and sun protection. Also, please don’t attempt this hike alone. It is long and at times, is fairly isolating. Hiking time varies between 4-6 hours there and back.
Whether you love strolls along a peaceful shore, crashing white horses or dipping into crystal clear aqua waters… the beach is best.We are blessed with some phenomenal beaches… From Africa to Asia and everywhere in between.
Here is a pick of some of the best beaches as voted by bloggers and travellers:
It won’t be possible to write about the best beaches without including at least one from Seychelles. Home to some of the most pristine beaches, the best I would say is Anse Coco beach on La Digue Island.
It’s a little beach located near the Petite Anse beach and can be reached only after a short hike (half an hour to an hour depending on how fast you go) through a tropical forest. At the end of the trek, you are treated to a secluded beach with a small natural pool for swimming.
If you feel more adventurous, you can always go snorkelling in the calm waters. No crowd means you can get really close to tropical marine life. Best for the souls who love to avoid crowds and explore something that’s off the beaten path.
Traveller’s Tip: You’ll have to carry your own food and water when you go, as there’s just one vendor who ventures out there.
The Greek island Kefalonia, located in the Ionian Sea, is one of the best places to travel to if you’re into gorgeous beaches. Myrtos is the one that really leaves you speechless. It lies in the north-west part of the island, between the feet of two mountains.
It’s about a mile and a half long and covered in white, round cobblestones, which get smaller as you approach the shoreline. The shore is shaped by strong waves. These pick up the finest bits of marble, the material of which the surrounding sediment is made. This process creates sediment plumes which follow the curve of the beach, with the direction of waves… This gives the water a stunning shade of turquoise.
A steep, two-kilometre long road leads down to the beach from the village Divarata. There are several taverns in the village, while there’s only a beach bar on Myrtos itself.
I have been to Cinque Terre, Italy during the summer and my favourite place is a small village named Manarola. While it technically does not offer a traditional beach, there is a beautiful small harbour area in Manarola with deep sparkling turquoise sea that is best for swimming.
Having said that, it is a perfect spot for cliff jumping (which is rather dangerous to some but exciting for the daredevils) and those who love a good dive into the sea!
If you are up for an adventure, you can rent a kayak to explore the area. Otherwise, you can simply choose to sunbathe on the rocks while enjoying the picturesque view of the houses with a myriad of vivid colours right above you… Nothing gets better than that!
When we think of the best beaches, our recent memories of Thailand and Bali come to mind. While they bring a lot to the table, nothing compares to Makena Beach on Maui, Hawaii.
We may be a bit biased since it’s where we spent our belated honeymoon but believe us when we say that this beach is truly stunning. It’s hard to find words to do it justice. The island of Maui offers some of the world’s best sandy strands, like the famous Kaanapali Beach, but Makena stands out above all the rest.
Find your spot on an enormous, soft, sandy shore and call it home. There’s no one trying to sell you anything; no one is disturbing your peace.
Watch the massive waves roll in (sometimes too dangerous to swim!) or venture out to sea and get your world rocked… Don’t panic, the waves will calm. When they do, suit up in your snorkel gear and swim with some sea turtles.
Makena Beach is the place we wish we could bottle up and take with us anywhere. Dreaming of our return, one day we’ll go back. We hope you can experience this amazing beach too!
Traveller’s Tip: Don’t forget to pack a snack and hang around for sunset… There’s nothing like the sun setting over the horizon in the Pacific. If you forget to bring your picnic basket, then just try one of the delicious food trucks in the parking area.
We went on a holiday to this little seaside village in 2010 and we’ve recommended this place to everyone we meet since then!
Tofo is a little tropical paradise in a small bay about five hours from Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. It is in a bay surrounded by rocky outcrops, which create calm waters for swimming in the warm Indian Ocean. And if you go out of season, you pretty much have the whole beach to yourself.
We rented a cottage on the beach, where we literally had the ocean on our doorstep. You can sit on the porch for hours watching the waves and activities. We even had a butler! He cleaned, washed our clothes and made amazing Mozambican cuisine.
Ladies selling fresh Portuguese bread come by in the morning, and local fishermen sell their catch of the day, like massive prawns, octopus and fish in the afternoon. We snacked on an abundance of mangoes and cashew nuts, and sipped on Gin & Dry Lemon for a refreshing drink or the local R&R, made with the local Tipo Tinto Rum and Sparberry (a pink, strawberry flavoured soda).
Traveller’s Tip: For accommodation, you can book one of the many hostels or guest houses in town. Or check out Tofo Beach Cottages for your own seafront property. There is also the nearby Flamingo Bay Lodge for a more luxurious stay.
Gokarna is a hippy haven, a paradise for beach lovers. With the free-spirited souls staying in Gokarna for extended periods of time, this beach town has a euphoric vibe. Along the beach, playing frisbee, doing yoga, artists playing guitar and drums – art exchange meet-ups in the pretty shacks are fairly common scenes.
Lately, camping on the Om beach has been very popular. Troops of tourists and youngsters come here for camping, to hang around a campfire and play music.
Half Moon Beach, just a hike away from here, is a serene, clean, warm water golden sand beach, which only a handful of people trek to. It is a stretch of about one kilometre situated in a cove between two high cliffs, giving you the feeling of having a private beach all to yourself.
As part of this special instalment of Guests’ Corner, I chatted to Asmae Idrissi (previously featured in this series) about Fuzia, an empowering and inspirational online platform connecting talented global women.
1) How did you first hear about or come across Fuzia?
It was through one of my friends, who is already a member; she talked with me about it.
Since I’m a travel blogger, she suggested I create an account on Fuzia (which took me less than two minutes). She recommended that I share my travel pictures, thoughts, blog articles with Fuzia’s community… Everything that I’m actually interested in and that I find useful and worth sharing with others.
2) Could you explain a bit about Fuzia from your point of view?
According to what I’ve seen about this website, they try to bring out female skills and talents from all around the world (it can be in art, writing, music, photography or handmade craft), by providing them with this online international platform, where they can showcase what they are good at.
It’s really encouraging when you see the interactive, encouraging comments on the posts, from girls/women you don’t even know.
Plus, there’s also a section where you can seek help from a counsellor, if you need to talk about anything and take advice… It’s indeed an empowering place!
Photo by Héctor Martínez on Unsplash
3) Which is the best, most interactive social media platform for you personally when it comes to engaging with Fuzia… and other like-minded ladies from across the world?
This is actually my first time finding a website like this one. I never thought there was such a thing before. There’s a public chatting zone, ‘shoutbox’, where we can interact with all women and girls and seek suggestions, ask for each other’s opinions on global issues or personal issues.
In addition to this, there are various groups/channels meant for discussions on various topics, where anyone on Fuzia can join to discuss and share her thoughts.
So for the time being, I’m going to settle for Fuzia platform, which is more than enough for me to share my passion(s) and show what I’m capable of.
The best part though is that I can just be myself and not have a falsely portrayed life.
4) Fuzia covers a range of topics and genres, everything from Current Affairs to Campaigns to Poetry and Food & Travel… which is your favorite and which do you feel is most important?
I love travelling and I love food. So I’d definitely prefer the Food & Travel section; I find it the best combination of this platform. Especially since the users of Fuzia come from every different part of this world, which lets the task of discovering other places and different gastronomes become quite simple…
I also like to read, so it’s always interesting to read some poetry and give a feedback or an opinion about it.
5) How can my readers get involved with or become part of the Fuzia community?
By seeing all these talents, I can only be inspired to learn the things that others can do. Reading some poetry gave me a desire to write more too – and to share more content!
7) Can new members contribute to Fuzia? If so, how?
Fuzia is always looking up for women and girls from over the world to join in and showcase what they have in them.
As soon as one signs up, you can start sharing your work and be overwhelmed by the love and appreciation you’ll receive.
Moreover, Fuzia organises weekly contests to participate in and win exciting cash rewards and certificates – and that’s certainly the most amazing part! As you post and invite more people, you also earn Fuzia coins, which can be redeemed for real cash into your accounts! (Which is a limited offer they’re running right now.)
And, if you happen to be looking for opportunities in freelance marketing, Fuzia can also provide you with these.
8) How long have you been a part of the Fuzia community?
As far as I remember, I joined the website in January 2018 – but I hadn’t shared anything since then. I only became an active member in June 2018… and haven’t been happier since!
9) Describe your experience with using Fuzia in three words.
Creative, expression and passion.
Photo by Mesut Kaya on Unsplash
10) Finally, why should young women join Fuzia..? How, in your opinion, can it improve their lives and well-being?
Fuzia is a unique place for each girl and woman to feel confident, appreciated and encouraged… You will feel empowered through this interactive, welcoming global female community.
In my opinion, there are so many powerful profiles on this platform, the users of which share interesting thoughts and feminist ideas.
So, being a part of an online platform like this can change your perception of what you can do as a woman!
Since moving to the Northern Suburbs in 2017, I have been fortunate enough to visit several of the Durbanville Wine Valley’s most well-loved and popular estates.
Some are new and upcoming, while others are longstanding favourites, littered with awards or which have glowingly stood the test of time. But, regardless of status or age, their incredible beauty, top class wines and fun atmospheres and experiences unify them in their specialness.
I have not visited all the Durbanville Wine Valley estates as yet – but here are some of the lovely estates I have been to, with a focus on what makes each unique and special:
Klein Roosboom: Candlelit Wine Tasting in a Cave
Klein Roosboom Boutique Winery is a beautiful boutique wine estate, passionately run by Karin de Villiers, her family and an efficient team of close-knit staff.
Together, they ensure a memorable experience – whether you visit for a unique wine tasting in a candlelit cave (one of Cape Town’s best kept secrets!) or to tuck into a delicious platter.
The estate produces some truly gorgeous wines, including the likes of Marianna Rose 2017, Nicol Merlot 2016 and Janet Shiraz 2016… And with both lovely whites and reds – and the beautiful rose – it is sure to prove a hit among every kind of wine fan.
Klein Roosboom itself is small but offers plenty. This includes: child-friendly play facilities, a selection of interesting wine tasting settings (like a lovely, sheltered outdoor lounge area and an impressive long table in the wine tasting venue) and above all, a quaint but welcoming wine farm atmosphere.
What makes it special: It’s undoubtedly the cosy, beautifully decked out ‘caves’, which offer a romantic glimpse into the past, while still keeping things modern.
Durbanville Hills: Award-winning Wines and Views for Days
Durbanville Hills needs very little introduction… Not only is it one of the best wine estates in South Africa but it is a consistent award-winning wine estate, which draws foreign and local visitors by the droves.
This quality estate offers a unique, high vantage setting and is complete with a stunning restaurant, delightful wine tasting centre, unique experiences (like the Table Mountain wine safari or cellar visit) and best of all, beautiful wines to enjoy!
What makes it special: It’s undoubtedly the incredible wine pairing options combined with the beautiful, plush wine tasting centre (which offers impressive indoor and outdoor seating). The views from here are absolutely amazing – and it is definitely one of my most memorable overall wine tasting experiences to date!
I really love that they offer a wide selection of wine tasting options, including the Crystal Tasting, Cheese and Wine Pairing (five cheeses and five wines; I had this and loved it!), Chocolate and Wine Pairing and even a fun and interesting Biltong, Dried Fruit and Wine Pairing (another winner).
Canto Wines, a relatively young estate, is definitely one of the valley’s most exciting new additions. This lovely boutique wine farm makes for a pleasant outing no matter the reason for your visit.
It’s a small space, it must be said, but is very tastefully done out and the wine tasting venue is as chic and classy as you would find on even the biggest, most commercial of wine estates.
Not only does this estate produce quality wines, host great functions and weddings, offer its own well-stocked deli, yoga and wine sessions and relaxing picnics too – but my standout aspect is the fun, oh-so-delicious MCC and Macaroon wine pairing.
What makes it special: While yoga and MCC and delightful build-your-own picnics are definitely major drawcards – for me, one of the best parts about Canto Wines is the excellent MCC and Macaroon wine pairing they offer, as I mentioned earlier.
The macaroon flavours are playful and interesting, with the likes of Red Velvet, Turkish Delight and more to tantalise your tastebuds. While the MCC wines are sublime and offer an interesting range, including Chardonnay MCC Brut 2015, Shiraz Rose MCC Brut 2013 and Pinot Noir MCC Brut 2013 to name a few.
Meerendal Wine Estate: Sophisticated and Fun Estate Experiences
This historic estate is one of the most popular wine farms in the Cape Winelands as a whole. They offer two great restaurants (namely, Crown and Carlucci’s), an art gallery, wine tasting room, mountain biking and running trails and more.
While I have not yet had the pleasure of trying any of their wines, the estate is definitely one of my favourites in terms of settings and all-round offerings. The Cape Dutch homestead (which doubles as a five-star, luxury boutique hotel) is as gracious and beautiful as they come – and the farm permeates a blissful, family-friendly vibe.
Carlucci’s is a lovely restaurant-deli and offers some farm-style food and a soothing, laid-back environment; like Crown Restaurant, it’s very popular in the valley and is almost always busy.
What makes it special: The incredible Cape Dutch architecture and varied, beautiful venues. The estate’s setting is unique and memorable and offers a sophisticated wine estate experience, without a drop of pretentiousness.
Plus, with its various events and activities throughout the year, Meerendal offers plenty for everyone to enjoy!
For me, D’Aria is the grand dame in the Durbanville Wine Valley… With a longstanding history, a beautiful farm setting and a wide range of offerings – everything from function catering to Poplars Restaurant and lovely guest cottages – it is certainly a well-rounded, popular choice.
What makes it special: It has got to be its delightful wines (all of which, from what I have sampled to date, taste great) and unique wine tasting setting. This offers a choice between a chilled indoor lounge, spacious lawn area or even the fun deck section.
While the wine tasting is self-service (you choose an option and then pay before enjoying the tasting) – in my experience, the staff on hand are helpful and provide good insight into the different wines available to you.
The sparkling wines are particularly excellent and the Music Range (my favourite) gives a nod to the more whimsical and musical things in life, with names like Soprano, Pop Song and Rock Song.
The setting is memorable and soothing and on weekends, D’Aria pumps with people, showing how popular its wine tasting facility and wines really are.
These are but a few of the local Durbanville wine estates I have had the pleasure of visiting to date – I rate each of them highly and can certainly recommend them for their different qualities and great wines… I look forward to adding more Durbanville Wine Valley gems to this list as I go!
Not only is Laura a travel blogger and a passionate adventurer but she was also previously nanny to two children, Eleanor and Theo, who, along with their parents, Melissa and Travis, were Laura’s travel companions for several months.
Laura journeyed with the family, writing as she went, on a grand adventure that saw them all pack their lives in Denver up to travel Asia and Australia.
After a few months, the family and Laura parted travel ways – and Laura bravely set off on her next journey: solo world travel… for as long as her pocket can afford it!
Follow her blog to read about more of her exciting solo travels!
1) Who or what inspired you to go into travel blogging?
It was an easy way to share my stories from the road with my family and friends.
2) What kind of traveller are you: thrill seeker, culture vulture, adrenaline junkie, nature lover or some of everything?
I’m definitely a thrill seeker – but nature lover is a close second. I always try to find something unique and adventurous in each place I visit – and I’ll chase sunsets and mountains every day.
3) Which are your top three most memorable travel experiences and why? Please list each one with a brief explanation.
1. Celebrating my 29th birthday in Bohol, Philippines: There was a group of seven of us (five solo travellers and a pair of friends), who originally met at our hostel and we became a family for three days.
To have that many people all instantly connect with each other was amazing – and what’s even more impressive is that we have all stayed in touch in a massive group text six months later, even though we’re all spread out across the globe!
2. Oktoberfest in Munich: My brother, my friend, her husband, and I all travelled to Munich, Germany to experience the original Oktoberfest.
I didn’t know I could operate on so little sleep and so much alcohol during those days… The beers were massive and hands down the best tasting I’ve had so far!
3. Trekking through the Himalayas in Nepal: My friend and I had planned to spend three weeks on the Annapurna Circuit. Unfortunately, eight days in, she had to be medically evacuated via helicopter…
After she was nursed back to health in the Kathmandu hospital and sent back home on a plane, I hiked the Annapurna Sanctuary Trek solo and had the most amazing sunrise view of Annapurna Base Camp.
4) What was your most humbling or eye-opening travel experience in your home country and why?
My most humbling travel experience happened in the Kuala Lumpur airport. I lost my laptop (set it down, but forgot to grab it when I left the area).
Miraculously, someone turned it into Lost & Found and I was able to get it back!
5) Worst (local) travel experience?
I can’t think of one here… Sorry!
6) Your top three travel destinations across the globe – either that you have personally experienced or would love to visit?
1. Greek Islands
2. Vinicunca (Rainbow Mountain) in Peru
7) Any useful travel sites/blogs that you can recommend for following?
I’ve had my best luck using the search term ‘unique experiences (insert city/country name)’ in WordPress or Google.
8) If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be and why?
Rainbow Mountain in Peru because I want to experience it before tourism ruins its natural beauty. It’s been getting more exposure recently and, in turn, has already seen some downfalls of tourism – eroded dirt trail and a wetland, which attracted migrating ducks, is now a parking lot equivalent to of five soccer fields…
9) Do you have any handy tips for planning a trip/day out in your city (and please state which city it is)?
Denver, Colorado, USA: Take full advantage of the free bus routes through downtown.
Experience bottomless mimosas at brunch on a weekend… Smash a burrito at Illegal Pete’s… If doughnuts are your guilty pleasure, pop over to Voodoo Doughuts – just remember to bring your dollars as they are cash-only.
Check out 1Up, if you want to play arcade and video games from the ’80s.
Washington Park on a Saturday afternoon in the summer is the place to be – grass volleyball courts as far as the eye can see, lawn games galore and plenty of day drinking to be had!
10) Best travel advice for locals and tourists?
The world is safer than you think.
To read about and see all of Laura’s travel stories and experiences, you can visit her awesome blog.
Thank you very much, Laura, for appearing in this guest travel