As international travel takes a back seat for now, it seems the “staycation” is the new kid on the travel block. Sanbona Wildlife Reserve – one of the Western Cape’s best conservation reserves – is a perfect getaway for long and short stays as we are just 3 hours away from Cape Town and located on the longest wine route in the world! So, as we enter Lockdown Level 3 on 1 June – and the thought of another batch of pineapple brew is just too hard to bear – head on out towards Route 62 for some of the country’s finest wines.
The longest wine route begins in Constantia in Cape Town and as you head out of the city along the N1 it meanders through the famous wine growing areas of Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Once you branch off onto the R44 and R46 you’ll experience the charming towns of Tulbagh and Wellington after which you’ll hit the fruit growing towns of Robertson, Ashton, McGregor and Montagu on the R60. As you approach the town of Barrydale you will officially be on Route 62 which will take you to Calitzdorp – also known as the port wine capital of South Africa, then Oudtshoorn and eventually into the ‘friendly city’ of Port Elizabeth.
TULBAGH AND WELLINGTON
Skipping the day-trip favourites of Paarl, Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, we begin in Tulbagh. If healthy eating or allergies are a concern, try the organic wines of Waverley Hills.
If sparkling wine is your preference, head on over to Twee Jonge Gezellen Estate – Krone who is well known for its Méthode Cap Classique [MCC] which is the South African bottle-fermented production of sparkling wines in the French méthode champenoise style.
The Robertson Wine Valley has loads to offer – you can plan a visit by logging onto the Robertson Wine Valley website and narrow your search to include child-friendly farms, who’s open on a Sunday (for the return trip home), those with restaurants and even farms that accept your furry friends!
Another great way to explore the Robertson Wine Valley is on an open-air Safari vehicle with Wine Valley Safari. This hop-on/hop-off vehicle takes you to a variety of wine and olive estates in the beautiful Robertson Wine Valley while you just sit back, relax and breathe in the fresh countryside air while enjoying wraparound views of the vineyards, orchards, olive groves and mountains. Tours include everything from wine and MCC, craft beer, whiskey, gin, grapa and olive tastings to food and wine pairings, a lavender farming tour, a river cruise, cellar tours and amazing lunch spots.
MONTAGU AND ASHTON
As you approach Sanbona Wildlife Reserve and pass through the towns of Ashton and Montagu you will find a collection of wineries to choose from. Montagu Cellar has been in operation since 1941 and is situated in the heart of the town centre, so a stop is a must!
You will also find age old wine making families like the Viljoen family whose wine making heritage dates back to 1818. Viljoensdrift is situated on the banks the Breede River and besides producing award-winning wines, they also offer guests a relaxing boat trip on the tranquil waters of the Breede River and gourmet picnics on the riverbank. Zandvliet Wines is another icon in the area and if Shiraz is your red wine of choice, be sure to include them in your road trip as they were one of the very first wineries in the country to bottle this noble cultivar.
With 850 kilometres of wine route on offer, it may be a tough task choosing which ones to visit so well worth a little armchair googling as you sip on the last of your dwindling stock. There are boutique wineries offering small production but of exceptional quality, through to the larger producers and well-known estates, many with restaurants and activities to suit everyone’s taste – and pocket!
PLANNING YOUR STAYCATION
By definition, a staycation is ‘a holiday spent in one’s home country rather than abroad, or one spent at home and involving day trips to local attractions’ – and if you live in the Cape Province, that list is endless as we have everything from sun, sand and sea to the endless undulating landscapes and scenic beauty of the Little Karoo. Route 62 is a shorter, scenic alternative to the N2 highway and has much to offer so it is well worth doing a little research to plan a road trip and ‘staycation’ of a lifetime! To find out more about each town click here.
SANBONA WILDLIFE RESERVE
Sanbona is a perfect choice for a weekend break. Made up of 58 000 hectares it offers luxurious isolation in a malaria-free conservation reserve. Three luxury lodges and an adventurous Explorer Campare on offer as well as two trips daily out into the wide, open veld perfect for animal spotting, exploring and of course, social distancing of note! Take a look at our website for more information or follow us on FaceBook or Instagram – both perfect for pre-planning your safari adventure.
Our Reservations team is still operational and is working remotely, Monday – Friday from 8am – 5pm daily (excluding public holidays). Should you wish to speak to a consultant please feel free to contact us on: +27 (0) 21 010 0028 or via email on [email protected]