Simondium, Cape Winelands
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The little hamlet of Simondium lies at the upper point of a triangle with Stellenbosch and Franschhoek on the R45 and, because it is the lesser known of the three, tends to be described in terms of the other two towns, with little to warrant a visit in its own right.
But Simondium has fast earned a reputation of its own, particularly with regard to cheese. The annual South African Cheese Festival, which takes place on the rustic Bien Donné farm in Simondium in April, is now a major culinary event with people turning up in their droves to sample champion cheeses and wine. Local Simondium cheese makers have been among the medal winners, and local Dalewood Fromage, who farm using organic hand-crafted methods, have won awards for their Wineland Brie with Green Fig. Inspired by the Slow Food movement, the festival includes a cheese workshop where local cheese masters explain all about what goes in to making cheese.
As if to celebrate its new found popularity, Simondium also hosts the annual Cape Country Picnic Festival in February, again on the Bien Donné farm. All the food and drinks can be bought at the various stalls and the weekend also provides a sunset concert. Although wines have been produced in Simondium only in recent years, and include wine farms such as Lindhorst Wines, Cowlin Wines and Vrede en Lust, some of the vines date back 300 years and are fast earning a reputation in their own right.
Simondium is also on the Western Cape Brandy Route, introduced in 1997, 325 years after the first brandy was distilled in South Africa. Backsberg in Simondium is one of the smaller more intimate cellars on the list, and uses an imported pot from the Cognac region of France in the distilling process of the Sydney Back Estate Brandy.
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Featured Attractions in (or near) Simondium
Nestled amidst the idyllic beauty of the Cape Winelands is the Bottelary Hills region, home to a number of acclaimed wine farms as well as to the Bottelary Hills Renosterveld Conservancy. This area (including Stellenbosch) was founded by explorer Simon van der Stel (the first ... more information
Lying within the Western Cape's Cape Floral Kingdom, the 322 030 hectare Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve (CWBR) lies roughly 40 km east of Cape Town. It was officially registered by UNESCO in September 2007. The Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve is bordered in the south by ... more information
If you are even vaguely into cars, then the Franschhoek Motor Museum is worth a visit. Over 400 vehicles that range from the Beeston Motro Tricycle (1898) to the 2003 Ferrari model, there is something to make everyone drool, even if you're not an ardent fan of the automobile. Museum it might be, but forget the ... more information
Franschhoek has been one of South Africa’s chief wine-making regions for centuries, and this history permeates every element of the town. Historical architecture adds to the experience of sampling some of the world’s finest wines for a truly memorable time. The valley itself is practically ... more information
Franschhoek Wine Valley Food and Wine Route includes the restaurants and wine estates that fall into the Franschhoek valley, even if these borders have relaxed somewhat to include the R45 between Klapmuts and Simondium. Already regarded as the 'gourmet capital' of South Africa, the map ... more information
The Groot Drakenstein correctional facility (the former Victor Verster maximum security prison near Simondium, between Franschhoek and Paarl) is a working prison that was renamed in 2000. It is on the map chiefly because this was the last place in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated and it was through ... more information
The beautiful Jonkershoek Nature Reserve lies in the Jonkershoek Valley just above Stellenbosch. Surrounded by the magnificent Jonkershoek Mountains, part of the Boland mountain range, this is the place for wonderful hikes within their peaks and never-ending kloofs. In total, the Jonkershoek ... more information
Lying in the Du Toitskloof Mountains close to Paarl, Limietberg Nature Reserve is a beautiful space in which to spend time, particularly if you are a hiker. There are nine separate hiking trails that wind through fynbos, indigenous forest, rugged and steep kloofs, and valleys through which the Breede and Berg rivers ... more information
Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve lies in part of the UNESCO Cape Winelands Biosphere Reserve on the Franschhoek Pass. Described by visitors as 'incredible' and 'beautiful', the reserve is extremely popular with hikers and day visitors who head to the reserve to enjoy the views and ... more information
This route combines world-class wines with breath-taking scenery to create an idyllic destination for just about anybody. The sweltering, dry summers and chilly winters give Paarl the perfect climate for an array of wine varieties. Whether red white or rosé, sparkling or dessert, Paarl’s ... more information
The Pearl Valley Golf Estate is surrounded by the Simonsberg and Drakenstein Mountains and bordered by vineyards with The Berg River water hazard running through it. Pearl Valley Signature Golf Estate and Spa is destined to become the premier residential golf estate in South Africa. Designed on ... more information
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