The following morning we packed up and said goodbye to Cape Town and our first Backpackers. We headed East to the Winelands area of South Africa…my favourite kind of land! There are over 200 wineries in 1500 meters of mountainous area where it’s the perfect climate and soil for grape growing. We chose to stay in the small town of Stellenbosch at the aptly named Stumbler’s Inn Backpackers. It was great. A nice room, a fully stocked big kitchen, a pool table, a nice yard with tables, a firepit, a bar, etc. The perfect place for hanging out.
After checking in, we set off right away on a wine tour of our own. First stop was a farmer’s market type of place where there were local people selling all kinds of things from homemade beer to raw chocolate to baked goods. We made our way around the tented area and sampled anything and everything.
We noticed that everyone there (apart from the parking attendant and one guy serving beer) was white. Unfortunately, it seems like we haven’t been able to meet or connect with any of the local black population. There are some areas which retain the African roots, but as backpackers following the traveller’s route, we find it hard to fully immerse ourselves. We’re very excited for the next 4 countries that are “proper Africa” and have all the great culture associated with it. We are still very much enjoying ourselves here but it’s not Africa as you would think of it (it’s not very tribal, lots of white people, very first world, etc.)
After our sampling we headed off but first we had to pay the parking attendant. In South Africa, there is a man wearing a reflective jacket in every parking lot and he basically keeps an eye on your car while you’re away shopping. We have to tip him so that he’ll watch the car and make sure no one breaks in and steals anything! Quite a bit different than what we’re used to. After paying the attendant, we were off to the winery. We chose Villiera because the tastings were free!
The vineyard and estate were beautiful and one of the men who worked there, John, explained all the wines as we smelled, swirled and sipped on the delicious reds. In South Africa they have a special blend of grape called a “pinotage” and it’s our new favourite. Delicious.
Back to our backpackers after that for some beers and pool then out for fish n’ chips for dinner and home to bed. Everything was great until about 4:00am when everyone came back from the bar and decided to play pool…which was located right outside our room. When it was clear that falling asleep to the sound of pool balls being slammed into holes and people talking was not going to happen, we dug into our bags and pulled out the earplugs. A must have.
The following morning we were off, heading Southeast to the town of Hermanus for whale watching. We drove through the Overberg (meaning ‘over the mountain’) on Route 44 which winds its way all along the coast. Again, a stunning drive. On the way, we went down to Stony Point to see the penguin colony that lives there! In my professional penguin opinion, this colony was much better than the one at Boulders Beach. They weren’t nesting so they were out and about frolicking around and even swimming! So cute. From there we continued on our beautiful drive up the coast to Hermanus. Yet another great day in South Africa.