As 2019 draws to a close, I am fondly reflecting on the most memorable experiences I have enjoyed in and around Cape Town during the year.
All of which you can enjoy going forwards.
So, here are the 19 best experiences to enjoy near Cape Town in 2019 – and beyond:
1. Villiera Wines Game Drives and MCC and Nougat Pairing
Villiera Wines, near Stellenbosch, is one of the loveliest wine farms to visit. They really offer visitors some excellent experiences.
Highlights include: fun, affordable game drives (complete with buck species, giraffes and bird life); MCC and nougat tastings; and other equally great wine tastings.
All tastings are enjoyed in a beautifully stylish, relaxed setting. This ensures a memorable experience.
Villiera Wines is also passionately people- and planet-focused. They are one of the biggest advocates for social upliftment and eco-friendly farming practices.
Villiera Wines is an immersive, delightful experience. This is one Stellenbosch estate I recommend visiting!
Read more on Villiera Wines here.
Contact: +27 (021) 865 2002, email@example.com
2. Pitstop Eats at Potbelly Coffee Shop and Bakery
Near Stellenbosch, travellers can also enjoy a well-deserved pitstop at the delightful Potbelly Coffee Shop and Bakery.
Overflowing with a wide assortment of fresh meats, baked and bottled goods, snacks and other treats, their shop is perfect for stocking up on road trip essentials, or, ‘padkos‘.
The coffee shop, meanwhile, is rustic, quirky and fun. It serves excellent, generous meals and nice drinks.
All in all, Potbelly is the perfect family one-stop.
Contact: +27 (021) 875 5664, firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Rust-en-Vrede Gallery and Clay Museum Outing
Although history and art fascinate me, I am not normally a fan of galleries. Often, they are either too dull or pretentious for me. Happily though, Durbanville-lying Rust-en-Vrede is neither of these things.
Captivating from start to finish, Rust-en-Vrede is vibrant, carefully and devotedly maintained. It makes for a delightful, free local outing.
Curator, Hamlin Jansen van Vuuren and assistant curator, Donovan Mynhardt are happy to chat to you and share insights into the history, displays and featured artists.
Aside from the gallery and clay museum, the grounds are beautiful. There is also a lovely cafe on-site in Yoco Eatery.
Rust-en-Vrede is the best embodiment of local artists, Durbanville history and true community spirit.
So if you are in Cape Town’s Northern Suburbs, check out this local art gem.
Read more about Rust-en-Vrede Gallery here.
Contact: +27 (021) 976 4691, email@example.com
4. Al Fresco Dining at Durbanville’s Yoco Eatery
Yoco Eatery is a charming cafe in central Durbanville.
It shares its premises with Rust-en-Vrede Gallery, making for a fun outing.
They have a good menu, with a nice variation of food and drinks. In terms of seating, it offers both soothing indoor tables, as well as al fresco dining beneath the trees.
Service is friendly, the setting is lovely and food and drink is excellent here… what more could you want from an eatery?
Read more about Yoco Eatery here.
Contact: +27 (021) 975 6322, firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Lunch at Luxurious La Motte
To me, La Motte remains one of the most elegant, timeless Franschhoek estates around.
Blessed with beautiful gardens (fronted by vineyards), a fascinating museum, top quality wine and one of the best winelands restaurants, Pierneef à La Motte… La Motte is an experience of note. This is a Cape wine estate at its finest.
With Chef Eric Bulpitt at the helm, Pierneef à La Motte is every bit the stunning, sophisticated restaurant its aesthetics hint at.
Earlier this year, I was invited back to Pierneef à La Motte to try their then-new Garden Menu… And the food and wine was sublime.
Few winelands restaurants are as delightful or high class as Pierneef à La Motte.
Still, even if you don’t join them for a meal, La Motte is a wonderful estate to explore. And one well worth a visit.
Read more about La Motte and its estate offerings here.
Contact: +27 (021) 876 8800, email@example.com.
6. Breakfasts, Coffee and Cakes at 1987 Eatery at Hertex
It’s rare for me to visit a place more than once or twice a year – but I have been drawn to 1987 Eatery at Hertex several times this year.
And each time, the setting, service and menu has thoroughly impressed me.
Whether you visit for an incredible breakfast, coffee (and cake) break or lazy brunch, 1987 Eatery at Hertex, Bellville is a delight.
This is without a doubt my favourite locale – and for good reason.
Read more about 1987 Eatery at Hertex here.
Contact: +27 (021) 914 0851, firstname.lastname@example.org
7. Delightful Diemersdal Luncheons
In 2019, I set out to explore more of Durbanville Wine Valley’s top wine farms. When you think of the area’s finest estates, Diemersdal is one of the first to spring to mind.
However, it wasn’t until my visit that I learnt just how gorgeous this estate really is. Everything from the tasting room to Diemersdal Farm Eatery are eye-catching, impressive and great to explore.
The restaurant is a bit pricey but definitely worth a visit. Because the food, service and setting are faultless.
If you are desirous for a memorable winelands luncheon… head to Diemersdal.
Read more about Diemersdal here.
Contact: +27 (021) 976 3361, email@example.com
8. Scenic Wine Tastings at De Grendel
De Grendel is arguably one of the most scenic spots for a winetasting in Durbanville Wine Valley. And needless to say, this multi-award winning wine estate needs no introduction.
Famous for their high quality wines, award-winning restaurant and stunning views of Table Mountain in the distance, De Grendel Wines is a class act.
De Grendel offers a great choice of wine tastings, including their Flagship and Premium tasting options.
For those seeking an incredible dining experience or picturesque wine tasting, De Grendel ticks all the boxes.
Read more about De Grendel here.
Contact: +27 (021) 558 6280, firstname.lastname@example.org
9. Waterside Picnicking at Mont Rochelle
To say I love wine farm picnics is an understatement. They are some of my absolute favourite travel-meets-food experiences.
And one of my favourite estates is Mont Rochelle in fairest Franschhoek. Combine the two and you have a match made in foodie heaven.
The picnic experience at Mont Rochelle is comfortable, scenic (you sit around the dam on the lawn or picnic benches) and entirely romantic.
We loved the picnic overall and found it to be a lovely setting.
And if you can’t visit for a picnic, you might join Mont Rochelle for an overnight stay, restaurant meal or majestic wedding.
Read more about Mont Rochelle and its estate offerings here.
Contact: +27 (021) 876 2770, email@example.com.
10. Sunday Feasting at The Kraal
The Kraal at Joostenberg Wine Estate is one of my most special, beloved travel memories for 2019.
This homely, country-style restaurant outside Stellenbosch encompasses the best aspects of hearty, delicious food and good companionship, serving both up in an idyllic farm setting.
This is slow-cooking, good eating and sincere fellowship at its best… At The Kraal, you feel like an extended member of this welcoming family… This is a Sunday lunch to beat all others.
Aside from the atmosphere, the food presentation, estate wines and culinary dishes are unrivalled. The Kraal is impossible to fault, in its service right down to its thoughtful place settings.
Whether you visit as a couple, group or friends, The Kraal is one for the foodie bucket list.
Read more about The Kraal here.
Contact: +27 (079) 641 1320, firstname.lastname@example.org.
11. Family Fun at Blaauwklippen Vineyards
Famous for its Blaauwklippen Family (and Twilight) Markets, wines, food and most recently, stunning accommodation and weddings/events, Blaauwklippen Vineyards is a joy to visit.
For families, few estates are as readily geared up to handle children as Blaauwklippen – but this Stellenbosch estate is beautiful for all to enjoy.
We visited Blaauwklippen for an incredible bunny chow and wine pairing during winter – but since then, the exciting Hamm and Uys Eatery has opened its doors. (I haven’t been yet but reviews are positive so it’s worth a visit.)
Whatever you do at Blaauwklippen, it will be magical…
Read more about Blaauwklippen and its estate offerings here.
Contact: +27 (021) 880 0133
12. Exploring Picturesque Stark-Conde Wines
Few estates are as stunning as Stark-Conde Wines, Stellenbosch. This is seriously one of the most beautiful places I have been to in the Western Cape.
It is a natural paradise, enhanced by its picture-perfect tasting room, quaint Postcard Cafe and tranquil outdoors, which include a beautiful lake, surrounding gardens and breathtaking views of the famous Jonkershoek mountains.
We visited Postcard Cafe for some coffee and cake… But I recommend doing a winetasting too – if only for the views.
If you are looking for an incredible place in the Jonkershoek Valley, Stark-Conde is for you.
Contact: +27 (021) 861 7700, email@example.com
13. Dreamy Cakes at Tables at Nitida
Nitida Wine Farm is one of the prettiest wine estates in the Durbanville Wine Valley.
I loved exploring it by foot, starting at Cassia Restaurant before wandering down to the adorable-looking Tables at Nitida.
If you visit them for anything – let it be their cake. They make amazing cakes and good drinks. Plus, Tables at Nitida is child-friendly so it is a nice spot to go with family or friends.
If you prefer more stylish dining or wine tastings though, visit Cassia.
Contact: +27 (021) 976 1467,
14. An Authentic Russian Tea Experience at Hazendal
Hazendal Wine Estate is one of the most explosive wine estates around at present.
With its beautiful Cape Dutch buildings, authentic Russian tea ceremony, Avant-Garde Restaurant and Wonderdal for kids, it is hard to best.
Hazendal is a delightful Stellenbosch estate to visit. Not only for its effortless beauty but for its impressive professionalism and pride that runs through every inch of the estate.
My friend and I joined them for the Russian tea ceremony and it was a definite highlight of the year. I particularly loved the authenticness and unique beauty of this Russian teatime affair.
Hazendal is also a wonderfully child-friendly estate, making it ideal for couples, friends and families.
Read more about Hazendal and its estate offerings here.
Contact: +27 (021) 903 5034, firstname.lastname@example.org.
15. West Coast Flower Spotting
The annual springtime flower spotting is one of the biggest drawcards to the West Coast region. At its height during August and September, this unique natural wonder transforms the earth into a spring flower show.
And one of the best places to go flower spotting is the West Coast National Park’s Plankiesbaai and Postberg sections. These are only open during flower season and are truly stunning in their own rights.
But the West Coast National Park, near Langebaan, is a haven for more than just its flower shows… There is accommodation, wildlife, lagoon swimming, hiking, cycling, house boats and watersport fun to be had here.
The West Coast National Park is one of my best local attractions – and quite honestly, I can visit it any time of year, flowers or no.
Read more about the West Coast National Park and its attractions here.
Contact: +27 (022) 772 2144
16. Avondale’s Annual Open Garden
The secret garden of Avondale, in the heart of Durbanville, is unquestionably the most beautiful garden I have visited in South Africa. And yes, I rate it more highly than Kirstenbosch National Botanical or Stellenberg Gardens.
Open to the public only once a year, Avondale Open Garden is a place of incredible natural beauty, refined garden architecture and impossibly beautiful floral displays.
I have been twice now – once in 2018 and again in 2019 – and I love the outing so much that I will probably attend every year.
This family-friendly event is a special way to celebrate preserving our planet, even in the midst of one of the biggest cities.
It is, and always will be, one of my best finds in Cape Town.
Read more about Avondale Open Garden here.
Contact: +27 (021) 976 5475, email@example.com
17. Steam Train Fun with Ceres Rail
One of my biggest travel highlights of 2019 was the once-in-a-lifetime of a steam train journey.
Thanks to Ceres Rail Company, you can take several magical train journeys across the Western Cape. But one of their most popular trips is the Cape Town-Elgin return trip, which I experienced.
To say it was flawless and magical is an understatement… I loved every second of this unique, timeless travel experience!
Best of all, you get to spend a few hours in Elgin before the journey home. Use this time to explore the pumping Elgin Railway Market or even to see more of this gorgeous valley.
This trip is worth saving for… That much I am sure of.
Read more about Ceres Rail Company’s steam train trips here.
Contact: +27 (079) 077 5332, firstname.lastname@example.org.
18. Elgin E-bike and Wine Tasting Tours
Elgin Adventure Centre have created a variety of incredible travel and outdoor experiences for locals and tourists alike.
With everything from ziplining to segway tours to oh-so-fun e-bike and wine tours, adventurers are well and truly spoilt for choice.
I joined them for the epic e-bike and wine tour, which was bucketfuls of fun. Taking you from Elgin Railway Market to the majestic Oak Valley Wines, this guided tour is truly special and enjoyable.
After a delightful, highly recommended wine tasting at Oak Valley Wines’ Pool Room, it was time to cycle back through the oak trees, down peaceful country lanes.
I found this experience utterly delightful and can recommend any experience with Elgin Adventure Centre, as real safety and endless fun are their primary goals every time.
Read more Elgin Adventure Centre’s tours here.
Contact: +27 (071) 509 1747, email@example.com
19. Stellenberg Open Gardens, Kenilworth
Finally but by no means least, I enjoyed visiting the charming Stellenberg Open Gardens.
Held annually, this special, family-friendly garden event is one marked on many people’s calendars – and with good reason.
Stellenberg Gardens, a historic, tranquil oasis in Kenilworth, is a lovely place to explore. You can spend an hour or two roaming every inch of this private estate before joining the (optional) special, paid for tea and treats in the garden.
Especially for families, groups of friends or avid green fingers, this garden is a treasure of a find.
Read more about Stellenberg Gardens here.
Contact: +27 (021) 761 2948, (021) 762 7733, firstname.lastname@example.org
These are my 19 best experiences for 2019 (listed in chronological order) – but I hope you get to try them for yourself in the future too!
Thank you to everyone who made each of these unique, memorable experiences possible for me or who shared them with me. 🙂
About the author
Content writer by day and blogger by night, Tamlyn Ryan passionately runs her travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust - Travel Writing and Photography, from her home base of Cape Town, South Africa. Despite having a national diploma in Journalism and working as a content writer by day, 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.