Travel Review: 10 Amazing Spier Experiences

Recently, we finally had the chance to experience Spier Wine Farm first-hand and I couldn’t have left the wonderful wine farm any more besotted!

The beautiful Stellenbosch estate boasts a proud, long-standing wine-making history, dating back to 1692… And though Spier may be one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms, it has lost none of its youthfulness. In fact, Spier is one of the most family-friendly and engaging Cape wine farms I’ve ever been to – and I’ve explored my fair share!

We made the most of our day trip, exploring almost every inch of the stunning Stellenbosch estate and these are my top ten Spier experiences:

1) Be captivated by South Africa’s first outdoor mosaic exhibition

We kick-started our visit by exploring the surroundings near the spacious parking area. Here, you will find everything from the Segway Tour office (more on that later!) to crisp, lime green vineyards – but it was the fascinating Mosaic Kraal that caught our attention. The clay-coloured ground beneath your feet may appear unyielding – but this enclosed space is absolutely captivating… And it also happens to be South Africa’s first, permanent outdoor mosaic exhibition.

Photo credit: @jakkalsfontein

The relatively new Mosaic Kraal showcases intricate, colourful artworks from sixteen inspiration artists. It joins together two Spier initiatives: The Creative Block (which supports aspiring artists) and the Spier Arts Academy (for more insight and inspiration, visit the Spier Artisan Studio, near Eight Restaurant.)

Another cool nearby exhibit.

Make your way around the Mosaic Kraal, and take in each of the remarkably beautiful and detailed mosaics, which bring vibrant life and colour to this outdoor exhibition…

2) Engage with majestic birds of prey at Eagle Encounters

If I’m honest, after the Spier farm picnic we enjoyed on the day, this was definitely my second biggest highlight of the day – one of many.

This inspiring, moving rehabilitation centre is a safe haven for birds of prey, ranging from adorable, dancing Barn Owls to sharp-eyed falcons.

It has an amazing 65% success rate, when it comes to the rehabilitate-and-release endeavour, but sometimes, the safest places for these proud birds remains Eagle Encounters…

During our 11:00am visit, we enjoyed a wonderful, interactive flying show, where we got to meet-and-greet several of the Eagle Encounters’ famous birds. This was a really awesome experience, and our handler was superb, as were all the staff we met.

Photo credit: @jakkalsfontein

We also had a chance to hold Drogon, the placid Bearded Dragon (and one cool dude to boot), experience an up-close-and-personal encounter with a Rooikat (or caracal) and say hello to all the feathered friends, especially the Spotted Eagle Owls, who we visited in their enclosure… 🙂

Overall, Eagle Encounters was a wonderful, educational and fun experience. I can strongly recommend it for adult and older children especially.

Photo credit: @jakkalsfontein

Entrance fee (includes flying shows and personal animal encounters): R80 (per adult) and R65 (children; students; and pensioners with a valid ID).

For more information on Eagle Encounters, please contact (021) 858 1826 or visit www.eagle-encounters.co.za.

3) Tuck into one of Spier Farm Kitchen’s stunning picnics

If ever an estate was made for picnicking, it’s undoubtedly Spier. I love that there are so many options – not only can you book a pre-made or self-made picnic – but you picnic almost anywhere on the vast lawns.

During our visit, we enjoyed one of Spier’s stunning farm picnics and I have to say, out of all the wine farm picnics I’ve tried to date, Spier’s has undoubtedly become my favourite.

Not only because I got to share it with the person I love in a truly tranquil, superb setting – but because the food and picnic menu selection was superb. For instance, there was not one thing I wasn’t prepared to taste or that I didn’t enjoy… Oh, and the Farm Kitchen staff were excellent too!

It’s a picnic experience I can easily award a 10/10 rating – more details to follow in my pending picnic review!

As you feast – and toast to a fine outing – soak up the vibrancy of the nearby Craft Market, or enjoy the view of the beautiful dam and tasting room.

Picnics can be collected from (and returned to) the charming Spier Farm Kitchen, where other wholesome goodies and home decor is available for purchase. Picnic baskets are R580 for two sharing and R290 per person; a bottle of signature wine is included.

So book a picnic, spread out a blanket (which you can rent from the Farm Kitchen) and settle down beneath the weeping willows…

For more information on Spier picnics, please contact or visit the Spier Farm Kitchen.

Photo credit: @jakkalsfontein

4) Eat out at Spier’s Eight Restaurant

Eight Restaurant is, like all of Spier’s buildings, tastefully decked out and beautifully true to the spirit of Cape Dutch architecture…Eight has also previously been included in the prestigious Eat Out 500 list in 2016.

Its lovely interiors include eco-friendly and sustainable practices. It also uses creative works by local designer Heath Nash. And – as with the rest of the ultra-earth-conscious Spier – Eight generally uses organic, locally sourced produce in its meals. (Much of which is grown in the farm’s delightful Werf Food Garden; the rest is brought in from the surrounding area.)

Eight Restaurant looks elegant and natural, and has a wonderful play area for kiddies. We did not dine here but when we visit Spier again, I would love to pop by for a meal.

For more information on Eight Restaurant, please contact: (021) 809 1188 or eight@spier.co.za.

5) Relax while you feast at Hoghouse BBQ & Bakery

Meanwhile, Hoghouse BBQ and Bakery lies a stone’s throw away. Famous for its slow-cooked, smoked BBQ meals, Hoghouse is a more relaxed eatery, though no less lovely. The views from ‘The Hog’ are perhaps even better.

Chef PJ Vadas is renowned for his culinary skills, so diners can also enjoy Hoghouse craft ales or Spier wine with tasty meals.

While the adjoining Hoghouse Artisan Bakery and Shop offer a wide variety of lovely food treats, African wares and, of course, mouth-watering baked goodies… Our picnic included one of the crispy Hoghouse wood-fired baquette and it was probably the first thing we devoured with relish!

For more information on Hoghouse BBQ & Bakery, please contact: (021) 881 3174 or howdy@hhbc.co.za. Booking is essential but Hoghouse is open seven days a week.

6) Ride around on a Qhubeka Buffalo bike

Previously named by BBC as the 10 most beautiful bikes in the world, they are perfect for riding around Spier’s wide, well-kept roads, allowing you to absorb the farm’s natural beauty in a fun and healthy way.

And because Qhubeka is an worthy NGO, which helps supports poorer communities with work opportunities, they also add a bit of hope to our planet too.

During our visit, we saw several couples leisurely peddling about on these yellow bikes – and it looked seriously fun! If you are a guest at the Spier Hotel, you can hire one of these sturdy bicycles out and take them for a spin.

For more information on the Qhubeka Buffalo Bicycles, please contact Spier Hotel reception or see Qhubeka’s website. 

7) Shop for delightful goodies at the Spier Farm Kitchen

The Spier Farm Kitchen is one of my favourite parts of Spier. It’s a gorgeous spot, with a shop and wide assortment of home-ware, baked goods and of course, Spier’s amazing wine, as well as other drinks.

In this cosy, cheerful place you will find everything from rotisserie chicken to wood-fire Hoghouse bread. And the friendly staff are on-hand to assist with all your needs.

We were fortunate enough to go home with some real treats from the Spier Farm Kitchen. This included a bottle of 2017 Spier chenin blanc (from our pre-booked picnic), organic Farmer Angus eggs, Triple Chocolate Granola (R100 but divine!), Naartjie Rosemary Biscotti and Almond Nut Butter to name a few!

Guests can customise their self-made picnics here and also use the Kitchen as a collection/drop-off point for their pre-booked picnics. Cushions, blankets and more are also available for you to loan out for your picnic. (These are paid for.) While we had the standard spring picnic, there are also vegetarian and children’s options. Picnic baskets may be collected from 12:00pm – 14:00pm.

For more information on Spier Farm Kitchen, please contact (021) 809 1172.

8) Enjoy one of Spier’s picturesque walks

If you’re more of a nature lover than an art fiend, why not enjoy one of Spier’s delightful walks?

To be honest, even an amble across Spier’s expansive garden lawns is a treat – but the Heritage and River Walks (both free) are truly special. We did the 30-minute River Walk and absolutely loved it!

Photo credit: @jakkalsfontein

Established by the hugely talented, well-known landscape architect, Patrick Watson – with the help of horticulturalist, Wilton Sikhosana – the soothing River Walk celebrates South Africa’s most beloved National flower: the Protea.

Photo credit: @jakkalsfontein

It provides a gentle saunter through a gorgeous variety of Proteas, which hug both sides of the well-kept pathway. Along the way, you also step back in time with a cool fossil display, Jurassic Park-style. The River Walk winds alongside (and eventually over) the stunning Eerste River, with an amazing backdrop in the Helderberg Mountains and neighbouring farmlands…

For more information on either the Heritage or River Walk, please visit the Spier website.

9) Explore the Spier Tasting Room and Shop

Spier’s Tasting Room and Shop enjoy arguably the best views of the entire farm, overlooking rolling lawns, cool boulders and most of all, the beautiful dam.

Inside, you will find all kinds of wonderful goods, from beauty products to gifts and even water bottles! Again, Heath Nash has worked his magic, with a jaw-dropping chandelier suspended from the ceiling. Behind and below, elegant wine racks and shop goods add to the decor.

As with everything at Spier, tastefulness and farm-style chicness is the word… and the Tasting Room, shop and outside deck are no exception to this rule.

 

Here you can enjoy some awesome wine tasting, with a variety of wine-pairing options, like chocolate and wine, children’s grape juice tasting and a seasonal spring tasting too. There are also yummy food platters on offer.

For groups larger than eight, a reservation is a must, while larger groups will be accommodated in the awesome Cow House (also worth a visit), opposite Spier Farm Kitchen.

For more information on the Spier Tasting Room or Shop, please contact: (021) 809 1147.

10) Hop on a Segway for a tour around Spier

Riding a segway is pretty much a dream I’ve secretly held since I first saw them when I was about 14… add to that the chance to segway your way around Spier and it’s a dream come to life.

Spier offers several amazing guided Segway tours through its vineyards and around the farm, taking you to see the sunset or its chickens, as well as much more!

The tours cost between R350-R700 and run for +/- 1-2 hours. (A 30-minute training is included in the tour duration.) Children under 10 or 12 are not permitted on the tour, depending on which of the three options you choose. 

Tours depart from the Spier Wine Tasting lounge and look endlessly fun so we will just have to return and make my dream come true some time soon!

For more information on Spier Segway Tours, please contact (021) 809 1157 or visit www.segwaytours.co.zaBooking is essential.

These are just some of the amazing experiences you can enjoy at Spier and whether you’re a wine lover, art admirer, foodie or nature lover, there really is something for the whole family to enjoy at this stunning Stellenbosch wine farm!

Overall, Spier Wine Farm is a firm 10/10 for me. Thank you to Spier Win Farm for making our first experience and farm picnic so outstanding. In particular, I must give a special thanks to Marina Vermeulen and Brigette Delis.

In honour of authenticity, I’ve stuck to the experiences we personally enjoyed or saw – but other Spier highlights include (to name a few):

  • The Craft Market
  • Spier Hotel & Spa
  • Hotel Restaurant
  • Wonderful Conference and Wedding venues
  • Spier Artisan Studio

For more information on Spier Wine Farm, you can contact them on: (021) 809 1100 or email them at info@spier.co.za, visit their website or find them for yourself at Spier Wine Farm, Baden Powell Drive (R310), Stellenbosch, Western Cape, South Africa. 

Author: Tamlyn Amber Ryan

Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. And, despite a national diploma in Journalism, in her free time, Tamlyn’s preferred niche remains travel writing.

Tamlyn is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and, above all else, an innate love for the great outdoors.

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