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Winelands / Page 1

The fertile green valleys of Cape Town's winelands are surrounded by proud mountain ranges. Towns and villages have many historic homesteads and monuments, and every so often fruit orchards are to be seen, whose produce may be found in all corners of the world. It is the Mediterranean climate and winter rainfall area of the south-western Cape that produces some of the best wines in the country. The rich, fertile soils along the Breede River and especially the areas of Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Paarl, have become world famous for their whites, reds, sherries, ports and brandies.

I n f o r m a t i o n :
Cape Town Tourism {+27 (0) 21 - 4264260} at the The Pinnacle, Corner Castle & Burg Streets, Cape Town. Western Cape Tourism Board {+27 (0) 21 - 4265639/47} at the The Pinnacle, Corner Castle & Burg Streets, Cape Town.

Winelands - Helderberg

The Helderberg area includes Somerset West, Strand and Gordon's Bay. The drive to Somerset West takes just 30 minutes from Cape Town along the N2. Close to Stellenbosch, this residential centre has a delightful setting and many of its residents commute to Cape Town daily. The historic N.G. Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) was built in 1820 and is worth a visit. Visit the Vergelegen estate which eventually led to the downfall of Willem Adriaan van der Stel's corrupt regime.

Just 5 minutes from Somerset West is the seaside resort of the Strand which has a 5 km stretch of beach with warm water and safe swimming. This is a favourite area for anglers.

Gordon's Bay
is a water-sport paradise and a charming fishing village. Its position is marked by the painted giant 'GB' and anchor sign on the mountainside above the bay. The quaint fishing and yacht harbour bring a mediterranean atmosphere to this enchanting haven.

Winelands - Stellenbosch

Only 30 minutes' drive from Cape Town lies the town of Stellenbosch, the second oldest town in South Africa. The settlement was established in 1679.

The Stellenbosch Tourist Information Office and the Stellenbosch Wine Route Office are in Market Street - start to your tour here! Many of the historical buildings are close by and it is possible to discover some of Stellenbosch on foot.

The Toy & Miniature Museum is situated behind the Information Bureau and is the only one of its kind in South Africa.

Close to Market Street is the town square, known as Die Braak, where there are some interesting buildings. The VOC Kruithuis (Powder House) (1777), the Old Rhenish Mission, the Church of St Mary (1852), the Coachman's Cottage and the old Burgerhuis (1797) are all worth visiting.

Dorp Street has the longest row of historical buildings in the country. In the lower part of Dorp Street is an elegant, gabled mansion that houses the Rembrandt van Rijn Art Museum. Next door is the Stellenryck Wine Museum. Other interesting buildings include the Theological College, the Old Reading Room, the Old Parsonage, the Old Lutheran Church (now an art gallery), Stellenbosch Gymnasium, La Gratitude, Voorgelegen and Oom Samie se Winkel, one of Stellenbosch's first general dealer stores. It is crammed with traditional fare, bric-a-brac, curios and other exciting goods. there is also a delightful tea garden.

The Stellenbosch Village Museum, in Ryneveld Street, is a superb collection of historic houses ranging in periods from 1709 to 1850; and each is restored and furnished in the style of its particular period.

Following the Stellenbosch Wine Route is one of the most enjoyable ways of seeing the south-western Cape.

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