2. Stellenbosch – Glorious Countryside, Glorious Wineries and Glorious Wines in Friendly Vineyards and Cellars with Friendly Owners
I made my way from the city into South Africa’s iconic wine country in Stellenbosch, just about 30 minutes’ drive out of the city, back towards the airport and further away to the foothills of the Cape Fold Mountain Range. What is really amazing was that you could be transported to another completely different part of the world in a matter of minutes in South Africa – the first of many intoxicating African lures.
This stunning, historic town has roots way back in the 1600s and evidence of its colorful past can be found everywhere. Rolling vineyards and patchwork quilted farmlands surrounded the town that was nestled in the basin of the valley. The best advice I could have had for our journey to the wine lands was to get a driver, download a map and take some grub with you on the trip to soak up the wine – and what good advice it was! South Africa may come across as all hip, happening and laid back, but they are seriously clamping down in their drinking and driving regulations here, which is well overdue.
The Stellenbosch wineries are stunning, the scenery is unparalleled and the wine – like nothing I have ever tasted, and my favorite part was that it was easy on the budget. Who would have thought that you could buy so much award-winning wine for less than the cost of a glass of nothing near of the same quality at home? It was impossible to see everything in one day, and there was an urgent need for a post wine tasting nap in any event, so the day came to a deliciously hazy end.
The route that was decided on to travel from Cape Town to Kilamanjaro was along the eastern South African coast from the city, along the legendary Cape Garden Route, heading north up to Lesthoto, Swaziland, crossing over to Mozambique through Lake Malawi and eventually ending up in Tanzania – home to Mount Kilimanjaro.
The idea of the trip was not to rush and to do as much of the travelling by car, exploring the nooks and crannies at leisure, rather than being herded into all the right places by an over-enthusiastic tour guide, getting home exhausted and wondering what it was that I remembered in the first place. Africa has an ambiance, a vivid raw energy, and so many delights, that I wanted to make sure I felt every single one.