Cape Winelands, South Africa - Stein Travel
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Cape Winelands

The extensive and verdant beauty of the Winelands region is one of the Cape's most alluring attractions. No visit to Cape Town would be complete without having taken the time to explore at least one of the 13 wine routes in what is the largest wine-producing area in the Western Cape.

Rugged, blue-tinged mountains surround the green valleys dotted with charming, historic towns among vineyards and olive groves, where visitors can admire traditional Cape Dutch architecture, sip world-class wines and soak up the rich cultural and historical heritage. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl are the most well known wine-producing valleys in the region, situated within easy reach of each other, while the oldest wine farm in South Africa, Groot Constantia, is located within the Mother City itself, and is part of the tiny Constantia wine route, which was developed by Simon van der Stel in the late 1600s. Other smaller wine routes include Worcester, Tulbagh, Wellington and Somerset West. With a selection of more than 200 cellars to choose from, the Cape Winelands boast some of the finest wines in the world.

In addition to savouring the fruits of the vine, visitors can sample superb culinary fare at some of the finest restaurants in the country, browse the art galleries and local craft shops, visit historic monuments and museums, and partake in an array of activities from walking, horse riding and fly-fishing to golf and paragliding. Food and wine festivals take place throughout the year and are a great introduction to the bewitching charms of the region.

Information & Facts

Climate

The Cape Winelands experience a Mediterranean climate with weather in summer being hot and dry and winter being cold and wet. The winter months, between May and August, experience heavy rains, strong north-westerly winds and low temperatures. There is even occasional snow on the surrounding mountains. The summer months are characterized by warm, dry days with little wind in Cape Winelands. The daily temperature in towns such as Paarl and Stellenbosch can soar up to 100°F (38°C) during the hottest months of January to March. The best time to enjoy the winelands is between the months of October and February when temperatures are cooler and the heat is bearable, while the winter months provide a cosier alternative.

Language

South Africa has 11 official languages, including Afrikaans, English, Xhosa, Zulu and Sotho. English is widely spoken.

Money

South Africa's currency is the Rand (ZAR), which is divided into 100 cents. Money can be exchanged at banks, bureaux de change and the larger hotels. ATMs are widely available (there is a daily limit for cash withdrawals) and major international credit cards are widely accepted, except in petrol stations where cash is required. Visitors should be vigilant when drawing cash from ATMs, as con artists are known to operate there. Travellers cheques and some foreign currencies are accepted at larger hotels and shops, but commission is charged, otherwise all commercial banks will exchange them.

Time

Local time is GMT +2.

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