Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Cape Wine Routes
When one reflects on the splendours of the Cape - lush green valleys, rugged mountains, azure seas and sky - then the Cape Winelands are usually top of the list. Visitors pour into the Western Cape to experience our viticulture, restored Cape Dutch farmsteads with their distinctive gables and thatched roofs, and the mountains that form the dramatic backdrop to all of this.
The Cape winelands are some of the most scenic in the world and wine tourism is one of South Africa’s fastest growing industries. South Africa also has the largest number of Fairtrade certified wineries in the world and the biggest single Fairtrade accredited project worldwide was recently launched at Du Toitskloof Cellar in Rawsonville in the Western Cape.
Traditionally, when referring to the Cape Winelands, one called to mind the cellars around Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington and Franschhoek. However, South African wine has undergone a whole new momentum. An emerging ethos has taken the local wine industry into the global arena. South African wine has come of age and is now competing on the world wine stage. A whole new generation of winemakers has appeared and there has been a shift from grape farming to wine growing.
One would thus be remiss if one did not include the many wine routes of the Cape, some of which are an easy drive from Cape Town, such as the Constantia, Durbanville, Darling and Walker Bay winelands. Most of South Africa’s vineyards are found in the Western Cape near the coast. The weather is perfect for growing grapes - rainfall measures up to 40 inches a year, the mild Mediterranean weather provides the perfect climate and the ground is mainly sandy and rough.
The Cape’s winelands stretch from the coast to the plains of the Little Karoo, where grapes are also grown in the riverine valleys. There are currently some 560 wineries and 4 400 primary producers of vineyards in the Cape, divided by the Wine of Origin Scheme into 4 main regions: The Breede River Valley, The Little Karoo, Coastal and Olifants River.
For more information about the Wine Estates of the different wine routes, see Wine Estates sorted by regions and viewable on maps.
Popular Wine Routes of the Western Cape
Breedekloof Wine Route
Where? Breede River Valley
The youngest wine route in South Africa and just 90 km outside of Cape Town, the Breedekloof wine route lies in the Breede River Valley, which stretches from Gouda in the west, McGregor in the south, Montagu in the east and the Tankwa...
More info and contact details: Breedekloof Wine Route
Cape Agulhas Wine Route
Where? Cape Agulhas
Most of the vineyards of this, the southern most point of Africa, are found in the little village of Elim. The pretty village is a national monument in its entirety and lies on a peninsular washed by two oceans - the Indian and Atlantic...
More info and contact details: Cape Agulhas Wine Route
Cape Point Wine Route
It was only in 1998 that the new Cape Point Wine District was declared and the Cape Point Vineyards are still relatively new on the tourist itinerary. They were established in 1996 with the first vines on the Noordhoek wine estate...
More info and contact details: Cape Point Wine Route
Constantia Wine Route
One of the very few appellations in the world just minutes outside of a city, the Constantia wine route has swelled from its original 5 wine estates to 8. The estates have a rich history of winemaking that dates back to the late 1600s...
More info and contact details: Constantia Wine Route
Darling Wine Route
Although traditionally part of the Swartland, Darling is a demarcated wine district and home to her own wine route, including five wine cellars all of which benefit from the cool breezes off the Atlantic Ocean and the long, hot summers...
More info and contact details: Darling Wine Route
Durbanville Wine Route
Some nine estates lie on the beautiful, rolling Tygerberg hills, producing a wide variety of wines. The terroir is vastly different from one cellar to the next, and whilst some farms are influenced by the cool Atlantic Ocean, deep soils and night-time mists...
More info and contact details: Durbanville Wine Route
Elgin Wine Route
The wines that have begun production here are predominantly fruity, and Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Shiraz do particularly well. Elgin is regarded as a cool climate terroir, which means that grapes grown here potentially ripen slowly...
More info and contact details: Elgin Wine Route
Franschhoek Wine Route
Franschhoek is just 50 minutes’ drive from Cape Town and the heart of one of the oldest and most beautiful wine routes in the Cape. Just half an hour’s drive from Stellenbosch, Paarl, Wellington and the Somerset West wine routes, Franschhoek...
More info and contact details: Franschhoek Wine Route
Helderberg Wine Route
Where? Somerset West
The 30+ members of the Helderberg route follow distinctly different methods of growing grapes, from a 300-year old historical cellar to state-of-the-art boutique wineries and visiting the wide range of family-owned estates and...
More info and contact details: Helderberg Wine Route
Klein Karoo Wine Route
Despite the low rainfall for the area, viticulture happens in the riverine sites, kloofs and valleys of its spectacularly rugged mountains and produces some of the country’s most diverse wines. Within the Little Karoo are a number of...
More info and contact details: Klein Karoo Wine Route
Olifants River Valley Wine Route
All in all, this wine route encompasses 200 km of stark contrasts and extraordinary beauty, and the wines produced are quality, value-for-money wines. Rainfall is low and soils vary from sandy to red clay loams, but the Olifants River...
More info and contact details: Olifants River Valley Wine Route
Paarl Vintners Wine Route
Paarl Vintners has earned its place as the world’s first ‘red route’ because of its focus on wines such as Roodeberg, Cabernet Sauvignon, port and Shiraz. The Paarl district includes the wards of Franschhoek and Wellington as well as...
More info and contact details: Paarl Vintners Wine Route
Robertson Wine Route
The Robertson wine route includes the town of Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson as well as some of South Africa’s best names such as Weltevrede, Bon Courage, De Wetshof, Rooiberg, Bon Cap and Kranskop - to name but a few...
More info and contact details: Robertson Wine Route
Stellenbosch Wine Routes
Just 45 minutes from Cape Town, the Stellenbosch wine route is the oldest in the country and represents over 300 wineries. Because of this it is divided into a number of sub-routes to make it easier to travel, namely: Bottelary Hills...
More info and contact details: Stellenbosch Wine Routes
Swartland Wine Route
Where? Riebeek Kasteel
Meaning ‘black country’ and named after the indigenous Renosterbos, which turns a dark colour at a certain time of the year, the Swartland wine route extends from Darling on the west coast down to the Oliphants Mountain at Porterville...
More info and contact details: Swartland Wine Route
Tulbagh Wine Route
Only 80 minutes’ drive from Cape Town, the Tulbagh Valley lies surrounded on three sides by mountains – in the west, the Obiqua Mountains, to the north the Winterhoek Mountains and to the east, the Witzenberg Mountain range. Cool, south...
More info and contact details: Tulbagh Wine Route
Walker Bay Wine Route
Walker Bay, a 45 minute drive from Cape Town, has become a fashionable region to visit, particularly with the establishment of over a dozen wineries in and around Hermanus, already popular for its whale spotting between June and November...
More info and contact details: Walker Bay Wine Route
Wellington Wine Route
Only 45 minutes outside of Cape Town, the Wellington wine route is one of the youngest wine routes in the Cape, although the viticultural heritage dates back to the French Huguenots of the late 1600s. Officially launched in the mid 1990s...
More info and contact details: Wellington Wine Route
Worcester Wine Route
The Worcester district is the largest in terms of winegrowing area and volume, accounting for nearly 20% of national vineyards. It produces almost 27% of South Africa’s total volume of wine and spirits and is the most important brandy...
More info and contact details: Worcester Wine Route