EPIC ROAD'S SAFARI BLOG

Entries in top ten reasons to spend new year's in cape town (2)

Tuesday
Jul232019

Travel Guide to Experience the Best of Cape Winelands

 

The perfect luxury trip to South Africa isn’t complete without a day or two spent exploring Cape Winelands. With hundreds of world-class wineries, innovative restaurants helmed by world-renowned chefs, and beautiful boutique luxury hotels, all just a short distance from Cape Town, both wine connoisseurs and amateur tasters will find themselves enchanted with this beautiful part of the Western Cape. The best way to experience South Africa’s wine region is either a guided day trip with a private car and driver, or if you have more time, a few days spent indulging in the best Cape Winelands has to offer.

First, a geographical guide to this part of the Western Cape: the region is split into different towns including Stellenbosch, Franshhoek, and Constantia Valley, to name a few. Constantia Valley is just on the other side of Table Mountain from Cape Town, barely a 15- minute drive from Cape Town proper, and is home to Groot Constantia, the very first South African wine farm, established in 1685. In Stellenbosch, a town just about a 1-hour drive outside of Cape Town with beautiful Dutch architecture, there are over 150 wineries backdropped by lush green mountains. Franschhoek is a town with its own charm that lies just east of Stellenbosch.

The vast number of excellent wineries and restaurants with incredible food in Cape Winelands makes it difficult to name a few and call them the best, but some favorites include Haute Cabriere (Franschhoek), La Petite Colombe (Franschhoek), Overture (Stellenbosch), Terroir (Stell) and Jardine (Stell). It’s possible to visit the Cape Winelands as a day trip but to really immerse yourself in wine culture and explore you can stay at a number of gorgeous properties. Two favorites are Leeu House (Franschhoek) and Delaire Graff Estate (Stellenbosch).

A visit to Cape Winelands is best paired with a luxury South Africa safari, and of course a few days spent in Cape Town. In addition to tasting wines, the Western Cape has other cultural attractions, like the Dylan Lewis Sculpture Garden with its lifelike wildlife creations. There are also several museums and art galleries in the towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.

Unlike other wine regions in the world, South Africa wine country is a year round destination, with high season in the warm and dry summer between November and May - the best time to imbibe a crisp Sauvignon Blanc during a sundrenched picnic. But in wintertime a glass of the region’s famous pinotage next to a roaring fire is tough to beat.

If you have a few days in Cape Town, visiting this uniquely beautiful region is a must, and whether you prefer a one day trip to taste the best South African Wines or want to make it a focal part of your trip to South Africa, advance planning makes for the best possible experience in this beautiful part of South Africa.

Wednesday
Jan202016

10 Reasons to Celebrate the New Year in Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa is one of our all-time favorite destinations any time of the year, but New Year’s is a particularly great time to visit and here are ten reasons why!

 

1. Award-winning Restaurants

The restaurants are obviously there year-round but dining on New Year’s in Cape Town is particularly lively and festive. For those of you looking for a glamourous New Year’s celebration, the Bungalow is an absolute must. The Bungalow is Cape Town’s replica of Malibu where you can watch the sun set beyond the edge of the Atlantic Ocean from the dramatic cliff upon which it sits and while sipping on an amazing selection of cocktails. Serving South Africa’s best wines and champagnes, delicate plump sushi, delectable carpaccio and endless choices of mouth-watering freshly-caught seafood. Other restaurants to consider are Mondiall and the 12 Apostles. A few things to look forward to at Mondiall are an excellent waterfront view of the fireworks and white mushroom crème brulee, meanwhile the 12 Apostles similarly features gorgeous views of the coast and a luxurious 5 course menu. To learn more about some of our favorite top restaurants in Cape Town, click here for our post on Cape of Good Eats.

2. Luxury Yacht Cruise

There’s nothing to welcome the New Year quite like a luxury yacht cruise in South Africa’s Camps Bay. A change of pace, great views and fun cocktails await.

3. Jet Set in the Cape Winelands

We can’t think of a better time to sample top vintages than New Year’s and of a better place than the Cape Winelands. So for those of you who have been to Napa far too many times and are looking to celebrate in style, consider spending New Year’s in Franschhoek, just an hour and a half from the center of Cape Town. The town of Franschhoek boasts a wide selection of internationally recognized and award-winning cellars and restaurants. It is also home to the annual Kinky Summer festival where you can dance the night away as the clock encroaches on midnight.

4. Winter is summer in Cape Town

For many of us, New Year’s is characterized by a cold snowy day from which we seek refuge by celebrating indoors. In Cape Town however, a southern hemisphere destination, the seasons are reversed and the best time to visit is during the hot sunny months of November through March – with New Year’s being right in the middle. Do note however that we’re not the only ones to know this, and if you’re planning on spending the holiday in South Africa at this time, it is best to book far in advance.

5. Festivals & Parties

The New Year’s Eve lantern festival in Nieu Bethesda is a great way to welcome the next 365 days. You can make your own lantern at the Bethesda Arts Center and later join the parade as the night draws to a close. Or rather celebrate ‘a la Great Gatsby’ and attend a 1920’s themed Masquerade ball at Chicago Piano Bar, where you can choose from a sit down dinner and dance or just partake in the dancing! There are so many festivals and parties to choose from when you spend New Year’s in Cape Town.

6. Ox Braai Roast

One of the biggest bashes in town and a traditional celebration. This annual New Year’s party involves a plethora of alcohol and perfectly roasted ox spits. From there, many will continue the festivities on the beach at Kenton-on-Sea, a small coastal town in the Eastern Cape of South Africa, otherwise known as the Sunshine Coast

7. Swim with Penguins

New Year’s is the perfect opportunity for new experiences and it’s not every day that we get the chance to swim with penguins off the coast of South Africa. A day at the beach takes on a whole new meaning when you’re darting in and out of the water with 3,000 African penguins at Boulders Beach. Shark diving is also on offer for the adrenaline addicts and bucket list enthusiasts.

8. Kruger Park Safari

As a company with a deep appreciation for the African continent and its extraordinary wildlife, we’ll recommend a safari any day of the year so why not New Year’s? Kruger Park is a bit of a trek from Cape Town but as one of the largest game reserves in Africa, it’s certainly worth it. Kruger National Park is the flagship of South African parks – it extends across 2 million hectares of land and is home to an astounding number and variety of species including more than 150 mammals, just over 500 birds and roughly 115 reptiles. You will undoubtedly see most if not all of the Big Five: lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards and rhino.

9. Hiking Table Mountain

Most of us can agree that celebration is always better and more gratifying after a good challenge. Start New Year’s Eve with a hike up Table Mountain where you will see breathtaking vistas at every turn of the way. We recommend the Platteklip Gorge Trail which can take up to three hours but the panoramic view of the city and the surrounding sea at the top is the perfect way to jumpstart the ensuing night’s festivities.

10. Hot Air Balloon in South Africa

You can take on this experience in one or two ways. You can either embark on an enchanting balloon safari on New Year’s Eve or you can use the experience as a cure to New Year’s inevitable hangover. Wake up before dawn (or stay out until dawn) and float over the game of golden Magaliesburg or the bucolic hills of the Cape Winelands as the sun slowly creeps above you. Follow this spectacular experience with a champagne breakfast, especially if you’re going for the post New Year’s option - the hair of the dog is a thing for a reason.