While staying in Cape Town, we carved out a day to visit the neighboring Cape Winelands. This picturesque region is only a 45 minute drive from the city. With limited time, we had to be very strategic about which vineyards to stop at. We could have easily stayed for a couple of days (which many people do) to thoroughly explore the region. Below are a few places we visited, all of which we would recommend without hesitation.
At 9 AM, the first thing on my mind isn't wine. It's food. You can't power through a full day of wine tastings on an empty stomach. We started off the day with a visit to Stellenbosch Slowmarket. This eclectic market is hosted by Oude Libertas every Saturday and showcases dozens of local restaurants, bakeries and artisans. Slowmarket perfectly illustrates how culturally diverse South African cuisine can be. Under a single massive tent, patrons can snack on Indian curries, Portuguese tarts and Chinese dim sum. Needless to say, our "short" stop at the Slowmarket lasted nearly 2 hours.
After our elongated breakfast, we continued our drive further west through Stellenbosch, past endless vineyards and mountains and towards the town of Franschoek. On our way, we stopped at 2 wine estates: Delaire Graff Estate and Grande Provence. No reservations are necessary. Visitors can walk in and pick from a variety of tasting options, all of which are very reasonably priced. Who doesn't like tasting 5 wines for $5? Delaire was by far the more "luxurious" of the 2 vineyards. However, we loved Grande Provence's delicious wine, laid back vibe and Cape Dutch architecture.
We briefly stopped in the cute town of Franschoek before driving to our final stop: Babylonstoren. Having read about this place in multiple travel magazines and blogs, Babylonstoren had long been on our "must do" list. Thankfully, it did not disappoint. Don't be deterred by the small entrance fee (~$1 pp). You can easily spend hours exploring the massive farm. After a short wine tasting, we spent an hour or so wandering around the beautiful garden and running into chicken, ducks and tortoises.