With its rolling hills, maculate countryside, sunny climate and vineyards as far as the eye can see. The Western Cape is truly a wonderful and amazing place to visit. From the sleepy town of Franshhoek to the hustle and bustle of Cape Town, The Western Cape has so much to offer.
Dating back to 1688, Franshhoek is a little bit of France nestled in South Africa and is known as the ‘wine and food capital” of South Africa. Franshhoek has a long history of posting some of the best vineyards in the world. With the strong wine culture and the pristine nature on show they both go hand in hand to make Franshhoek into a place of beauty. The wine tram which was once the branch line between Paarl and Franshhoek to serve the local farmers to get their produce to the local markets is now a service to tourist getting them from vineyard to vineyard across Franshhoek. The night life in Franshhoek is always chilled with two pubs/bars in the centre of the town. The Elephant and Barrel being one of them and the Station the other. The Station has been turned into a pub after the rail route between Franshhoek and Paarl was discontinued and serves some great craft beers. The Elephant and Barrel is nestled in a corner of a court yard in the centre of Franshhoek and is the perfect place to chill outside and have a few drinks. If pubs and bars aren’t to your face then there are plenty of wine estates to visit. You can take the wine tram tour which takes you to various different wine estates across Franshhoek. Most of the estates still remain in there original cape dutch farm houses which offer a traditional feel whilst wine tasting.
Hermanus & Betty’s Bay
Whale watching is a must if you visit Hermanus around October time of the year. This is when the southern right whale pass through on there migration. I was lucky enough to have been passing through Hermanus during the time the whales where migrating through. We watched the whales jumping and leaping out of the water whilst chilling with a few glasses of wine from the shore in a bar called Biatangs cafe which sits on the rocky shore of Hermanus. This served as a great viewing spot getting close to whales without getting sea sick on a boat. Hermanus is also famous for the Great White sharks that lurk in the waters of the coast of Hermanus. If your feeling brave, which I wasn’t. You can go shark cage diving and meet the great sea monsters up close and personal. Just a bit further down the road along the Garden route you come across Betty’s Bay. Famous for it’s colony of African Penguins. You can get up close to the Penguins which I never thought I would do in Africa.
A Stellenbosch night out is a must for any young traveller visiting the Western Cape. The university town is well known for its night life. With bars such as Mystic and Bohemia which offer a hipster/student vibe. There always seems to be something going on everyday of the week here. Either there’s up and coming bands playing live music or young students dancing the night away on the dance floor. Stellenbocsh has so much to offer, if Bars and clubs aren’t your thing then theres also the many vineyards that surround the town. Stellenbosch is part of the Cape Winelands and boast some of the best wine estates in South Africa such as Spier, Delaire Gaff and Rust en Vrede which al have spectacular views across the vineyards and the surrounding mountains of Stellenbosch. Like most of the cape winelands, Stellenosch has a very historic architecture with many Dutch farm houses all over the town which adds to the towns character.
The Garden Route
The Garden Route has it all. With its imaculate beaches to its ancients forest. This magnificent of coastline which stretches across the eastern and western cape. People are drawn to this stunning part of the world which has the power to make you stop and stare. The route will take you through the ancient forest of Tsitsikamma National Park and the pristine beaches which pop up along the coastal road. There’s plenty of wildlife on show, where you can watch the whales pass through on their long migration or visit the penguins that dot the many beaches in the western cape. The garden route is a must and something that will blow you away.
You can never really over estimate Cape Town. Theres beauty all around you. From Table mountain towering over the city to the summer beaches of Camps Bay and Clifton Beach. Where ever you look or were ever you in this city you’ll be amazed. Cape Town also has a very elegant side to it. With the hip bars, the many art galleries, the world renowned restaurants, the classy shopping centres and the elegant wine estates, Cape Town really does have it all. You can easily find yourself lost in this magnificent city.
you’ll always find what your looking for in the Western Cape. you might even just find yourself or even lose yourself in the most amazing part of South Africa.