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Posted 02 Mar, 2012 | 2 Comments
Posted in: Our Story, South Africa, Travel Blogs

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.

Nick sampling some raw chocolate at the farmer’s market, Stellenbosch, South Africa
farmer’s market with wine tasting, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Nick buying a homemade beer at the farmer’s market, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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!

beautiful scenery around the farmer’s market, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Entering the beautiful Villiera Winery, Stellenbosch, South Africa
The Villiera Estate, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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.

Dariece enjoying a sampling of wine, Stellenbosch, South Africa
Goats On The Road enjoying some wine at the Villiera Winery, Stellenbosch, South Africa

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.

Nick at beautiful Stony Point, South Africa
Stony Point, South Africa
Penguin! Stony Point, South Africa
Penguin heading in for a dip, Stony Point, South Africa
A group of penguins, Stony Point, South Africa

 

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Goats On The Road

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2 thoughts on “Stellenbosch, South Africa: Winelands & Penguin – 2 Of My Favourite Things

  1. Finally I got down to joining – looking forward to your travel tips.
    Read your Stellenbosch and Hermanus review – My parents farmed outside of Stellenbosch and I studied at the Stellenbosch University, met my wife there, got married and lived in Johannesburg for 15 years, then went back home to Stellenbosch to live. We also had a home in Hermanus 200 meters from the cliffs where we could walk the cliff paths and watch the whales during season. In Hermanus I also had a Tappas restaurant and bar – right next to the old harbour where whales were also frequently seen from the patio of the restaurant. Had a lot of fun.
    The wines of the Cape are of course fantastic. We hardly find any over here in AZ. And pinotage can be such a great wine, but sadly so many exporters export not such great quality wines so it is difficult to find a good label over here. In the old days all exports were controlled by the Government Export Control Board and the wines had to conform to set wine standards. Now it is different where farmers can do as they want which you can imagine does not do the South African wine industry much good if we get the lesser qualities here in the States (USA used to be the major export market for S A wines until 1984 when USA imposed sanctions on us, so now the major export markets are UK and far East.)
    Your experience with the car security is real – with unemployment in S A between 45 and 50 percent, and all the illegals immigrating from the North to South Africa there is a need for the locals to steal – and they do. I have travelled extensively over many other African countries – Swaziland, Mocambique, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Angola, Malawi and Congo (only small part of Congo) – , and I must admit, I do enjoy the Western civilization influence that you find in South Africa over the others.

    I am off on Monday for a road trip from Scottsdale down to Mazatlan (will take a week to get there and then stay another week in Mazatlan). Then I might put my car on the ferry for La Paz Baja and drive up to San Diego. Then August, abalone diving at Mendocino / Fort Bragg (an annual thing to remind me of my diving days in Hermanus).

    The Cuba trip is now all planned. We are not staying in and Casa Particulars which is a pity. All hotels and the car hire. I have got family from South Africa travelling with and they prefer the hotel scene (living in Africa, you tend to want the comforts in life when travelling). I am sure that I will go back to Cuba with my wife and then we will definitely do the Particulars way of travel. thanks for the web site that you gave me.

    Kind regards
    Reg
    Looking forward to your news letters

    1. Hey Reg!

      wow, thank you for the great comment and for subscribing to our newsletter! We really enjoyed our time in South Africa, but it’s true that crime is a big issue there. Still, it was one of the most memorable countries for us and we absolutely loved road tripping through S.A.!

      Enjoy your travels to Cuba and your upcoming road trip, sounds like a lot of fun.

      Cheers and safe journeys 🙂

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