Exploring the Winelands: A Four-Day Journey Through Stellenbosch and Franschhoek


Welcome to the picturesque Winelands of South Africa, where rolling vineyards meet towering mountains, and every sip of wine tells a story of tradition, passion, and terroir. Over the next four days, we invite you to embark on a journey through the renowned regions of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, where centuries-old winemaking traditions thrive alongside world-class culinary experiences.

Welcome to Winelands Photo by Dana Sanderson

Day 1: Stellenbosch – Gateway to the Winelands

Morning: Exploring Stellenbosch

Arriving mid-morning from Cape Town, we began our Winelands adventure in the historic town of Stellenbosch, often referred to as the heart of South Africa’s wine country. We took an exploratory stroll through its charming streets lined with Cape Dutch architecture, boutique shops, and art galleries. Though we had already had breakfast, we were tempted by the enticing aromas of nearby cafes’ and grabbed a mid-morning snack at Helena’s Restaurant, known for its farm-to-table fare and warm hospitality.

Pastries in Stellenbosch Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Wine Bar in Stellenbosch – Photo By Dynie Sanderson

First Afternoon: Foodie Walking Tour with Bites and Sites

Rather than going out for a formal lunch, we wanted to experience the culinary delights of Stellenbosch by embarking on a foodie walking tour with Bites and Sites through the town’s vibrant streets. We were led by a knowledgeable guide, who took us to local eateries, artisanal food shops, and market stalls while sampling a diverse array of South African delicacies along the way. From biltong (a form of jerky or dried cured meat that originated in South Africa) to bobotie (a South African Dish consisting of spiced minced meat with an egg-based topping). This immersive tour offered a delightful taste of the region’s rich culinary heritage.

Bites and Sites Foodie Tour

Bites and Sites Foodie Tour Guide

One of the Delicious Stops Along the Foodie Tour in Stellenbosch


Sunset Dinner amongst the Vines

Bubbles Al Fresco at Rust en Vrede Wine Estate – Photo by Dynie Sanderson

We were referred to an exceptional dining destination, Rust en Vrede Wine Estate. It was a bit off the beaten path but nonetheless an easy 15-minute cab ride to this historic Cape Dutch homestead.  This boutique wine estate is one of the region’s most esteemed wineries in Stellenbosch. Before heading into the exquisite dining room, we sat on their veranda sipping champagne, admiring the glimmering days-end light adorning the surrounding vineyards of the estate. We Indulged in a multi-course culinary journey along with a wine pairing experience created by their Brazilian chef at Rust en Vrede Restaurant. We savored exquisite dishes crafted from locally sourced ingredients, perfectly paired with award-winning wines from the estate.

One of Six Courses at Rust en Vrede Wine Estates

Appetizer at Rust en Vrede Wine Estate – Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Rust en Vrede 1996 Estate Merlot – Photo by Dynie Sanderson

DAY 2 – Touring Stellenbosch

A Full day of Wine Tasting at Stellenbosch Wineries

Tasting Room In Stellenbosch – Photo by Dana Sanderson

After a lovely morning stroll through this charming town, checking out all it had to offer as we continued our exploration of Stellenbosch with visits to several renowned wineries, Waterford Estate – a sophisticated winery in a tranquil setting offering wine-drive safaris and cellars through the vines;  and Delaire Graff Estate “The Jewel of the Cape” – renowned diamantaire Laurence Graf OBE delivers an experience of flawless hospitality, cuisine, wine, art, spa and their infamous Diamond/Jewelry boutique.

Diamond Jewelry Boutique at Delaire Graff Estate – Photo by Dana Sanderson

Our knowledgeable tour guide entertained us throughout the day with a detailed history of the region. The hosts at the wineries curated the tasting flights of their award-winning wines while we learned more about the terroir that makes Stellenbosch wines truly exceptional.

Evening: Fine Dining and Relaxation

As the sun set over the vineyards, we dined on a decadent dinner at Jordan Restaurant at the Jordan Wine Estate, renowned for its innovative cuisine and extensive wine list. Afterward, we retreated to our luxurious accommodations at Lanzerac Hotel & Spa, a historic wine estate dating back to 1692.

Lanzerac Wine Estate is a historic landmark and Stellenbosch icon. This grande dame is synonymous with old-world charm and rich Cape heritage. Positioned in the idyllic Jonkershoek Valley on the outskirts of the historical town of Stellenbosch, the estate boasts views of dramatic mountain ranges, endless rows of lush vineyards, and hectares of gardens shaded by giant oak trees.

Lanzerac Wine Estate Guest Room – Photo Courtesy of Lanzerac Wine Estate

We welcomed the evening with the elegant surroundings of our room. In the morning, we planned to pamper ourselves with a rejuvenating spa treatment before beginning the next day with more exciting discoveries of the region.


Day 3: Franschhoek – The French Corner of the Winelands

Morning: A Beautiful Drive through the Rolling Vineyards from Stellenbosch to Franschhoek

Franschhoek is referred to as the “Gourmet Capital” of the Cape Winelands as it is renowned as a fine food and wine destination.

After a lovely breakfast at our Stellenbosch hotel, our guide took us to a neighboring hamlet in Winelands, about 40 minutes away. Upon arriving, we discovered the serene beauty of Franschhoek, invoking a charming, inviting ambiance nestled in this picturesque valley surrounded by majestic mountains.

Spectacular View of the Franschhoek Valley – Wine Tasting – Photo by Dynie Sanderson

We began our new day with a leisurely stroll along the tree-lined streets, soaking in the ambiance of this quaint town.

Wine Wall Art in Franschhoek – Photo by Dana Sanderson

Late Morning: Wine Tasting in Franschhoek

After our walk around this magical mecca, we set off on a wine-tasting adventure in Franschhoek, home to some of South Africa’s most celebrated wine estates. We explored several family-owned vineyards, La Motte Wine Farm offering traditional cuisine and historic charm, and Chamonix Wine Farm which offers award-winning Pinot Noirs. At both wineries, we sampled exquisite wines crafted with passion and precision, along with small bites. We also visited Richard Branson’s luxury hotel and vineyard estate – Mont Rochelle where we had a food and wine pairing overlooking spectacular views of the valley.  The perfect indulgence was the chocolate and wine pairing at Haute Cabrière, where decadent treats complement the complex flavors of the wines.

Mont Rochelle in Franschhoek – Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Wine Tasting at Mont Rochelle – Photo by Dynie Sanderson


Lunch: Gastronomic Delights

We treated ourselves to a late lunch with a culinary feast at Le Coin Français, a Michelin-starred restaurant renowned for its innovative French-inspired cuisine. Situated in the heart of Franschhoek, this intimate dining establishment offers a seasonal menu showcasing the finest local ingredients, expertly paired with wines from the region.

Evening: Sunset and Serenity

As our day drew to a close, we unwound with a glass of wine and then dinner as we took in the brilliant sunset from the terrace of Leeu Estates. After dinner, we retired to our lovely room at Leeu Estates, a luxurious boutique hotel nestled among vineyards and gardens, where you can relax and rejuvenate in elegant surroundings.

Elegant Guest Suites at Leeu Estates – Photo Courtesy of Leeu Estates

Leeu Estates at Twilight – Photo Courtesy of Leeu Estates


Leeu Estates’ rich Cape Dutch architectural heritage has been meticulously restored to preserve the property’s original charm, artfully blending old and new. The exquisitely updated 19th-century Manor House is the vibrant heart of the working wine farm.


Day 4 – More of Franschhoek

Mid – Morning: Culinary Exploration

We started our last full day in Franschhoek with a morning culinary adventure at Babylonstoren, a historic Cape Dutch farm renowned for its farm-to-fork dining experiences. We joined a guided garden tour to discover the diverse array of regional fruits, vegetables, and herbs grown on the estate before indulging in a delicious breakfast at the Greenhouse Restaurant, where seasonal ingredients take center stage.

Lovely Dining Setting at the Greenhouse Restaurant – Photo Courtesy of Greenhouse Restaurant

All Day – Wine Tram Experience

No visit to the Winelands is complete without an experience on the Wine Tram. Hop aboard this unique mode of transportation and embark on a scenic journey through the vineyards of Franschhoek. With convenient pick-up points throughout Franschhoek, the Wine Tram offers a hassle-free way to explore the region’s top wineries, all while enjoying breathtaking views of the countryside.

Franschhoek Wine Tram – Photo by Dana Sanderson

We chose to partake in one of their experiences—the “Curated Wine Experience.” This is an all-day wine excursion where we visited three world-renowned Franschhoek Valley wine estates. Our small group was led by a knowledgeable wine ambassador, who took us on private premium tastings and pairings along with a special three-course lunch at a top wine estate.

Food and Wine Pairings on the Curated Food Experience with the Wine Tram – Photo by Dynie Sanderson

Afternoon: Wine and Cheese Tasting

After the Wine Tram, we embarked on a wine and cheese tasting journey at Fairview Wine and Cheese Estate, located on the outskirts of Franschhoek. There, we sampled an array of artisanal cheeses paired with estate wines and learned about the art of cheese-making from the knowledgeable staff. Be sure to explore the charming farmyard, where you can meet the resident goats and donkeys.

Photo by Dana Sanderson

Dinner in Franschhoek

With a full day of wine and food pairings, we wanted to go a little light. We enjoyed a leisurely dinner at The Werf Restaurant at Boschendal where farm-to-table cuisine is paired with estate wines from Franschhoek in a picturesque setting. We shared their signature dish from their farm: pasture-raised lamb with gremolata, cashew nut yogurt relish, and fresh ultimate spring garden salad de jour.

More Delicious Gastronomic Treats In Winelands – Photo by Dynie Sanderson


Day 5 – Final day in Winelands

Culinary and Cultural Delights –  Exploring more of Franschhoek

Our final day in Winelands began with a leisurely morning stroll along the tree-lined streets, soaking in the ambiance of this quaint town. For breakfast, we popped into The Hoek Espresso Bar, a cozy café known for its freshly baked pastries and artisanal coffee. We then visited the Huguenot Memorial Museum to learn about the town’s French Huguenot heritage and browsed the art galleries and boutiques that line the streets.

Lunch: Farewell Feast

Our final meal in the Winelands before heading back to Cape Town was a leisurely lunch at Chef’s Warehouse at Maison Estate, a rustic-chic restaurant situated on a boutique wine estate in Franschhoek. Their seasonal menus are inspired by the bounty of the surrounding countryside and are accompanied by a selection of fine wines from the estate.

Toasting Goodbye to our Wonderful Winelands Experience

Afternoon: Departure

As our Winelands adventure came to an end, we took some time to reflect on the unforgettable experiences and memories we created over the past four days. Whether you’re a wine enthusiast, a food lover, or a cultural explorer, the Winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek offer something for everyone.

WINELANDS: The region is conveniently located just a short drive from Cape Town. It is easily accessible for day trips, weekend getaways, or extended sojourns to explore all the area has to offer. These two Winelands destinations make the perfect pairing for your next South African wine and culinary adventure.

Upon departing, as we bid farewell to this enchanting region, we carried with us the flavors, aromas, and spirit of the South African Winelands, leaving us inspired for our future travels and adventures to wine regions around the world.

For our travels around the Winelands, we reached out to several travel/tour companies who consult and customize tailor-made journeys of a lifetime.

Suggested Tour Companies to Use to Coordinate Your Winelands Excursions

Enchanting TravelsThey craft journeys that allow their guests to go deeper into new countries, build relationships with the people they meet, and feel connected to the places they explore. You will experience a seamless travel journey with a person and dedicated trip coordinator every step of the way.

Here are a few Options to Consider for your travel to Winelands
Hotels in Winelands to Consider