Cape Winelands

Home of South Africa’s World-renowned Wine Makers

Welcome to the magnificent Cape Winelands. The first recorded grape pressing in South Africa dates back to the early 1650’s. Soon after Jan van Riebeeck set foot ashore in 1652, the first grape vines were planted in the Company’s Garden. On 2 February 1659, Jan van Riebeeck produced the first wine from Cape grapes. Assisted by enthusiasm from other Dutch Governors, viticulture was soon established in various regions. As time went by, the beautiful wine regions of the Western Cape started unfolding in what is today one of the best wine-producing regions in the world.

There are various internationally acclaimed wine farms that produce award-winning wines, each with their own unique story and rich history.

Franschhoek

Franschhoek is a special and breathtakingly beautiful wine valley not far from Stellenbosch and Paarl. Due to King Louis of France revoking the Edict of Nantes in 1685, thousands of French Protestants (Huguenots) fled France into the rest of Europe. Assisted by the Dutch, about 150 French Huguenots arrived in the Cape from The Netherlands and were given land around the Berg River region. They farmed the land with crops and wine vines, and Franschhoek soon developed into a majestic wine region. The Dutch named the region Franschhoek Hoek (French Corner), as there were a large number of French immigrants living there. Most of the farms that were developed were given French names and to this day, most still carry these proud names. A visit to the famous Huguenots Memorial Museum will give you an interesting experience of the strong culture and history of the early French Settlers.

The Franschhoek wine valley offers an excellent range of superb wine cultivars – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, and a variety of red wine grape ranges which flourish in the valleys of Franschhoek.

There is also an MCC route through Franschhoek where you can experience some of the best Method Cap Classiques, which is the South African equivalent to French Champagne.

PAARL

As the early Dutch Settlers expanded into different regions in the Cape, the area known as the Drakenstein was colonised in 1687. Later, a town developed and in 1839 Paarl was born. Today, Paarl is nestled in the beautiful Drakenstein Valley, not too far from Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and about 45-minute drive from Cape Town. The name Paarl (Pearl) derives from the granite boulders overlooking the town that shines in the sunlight when the granite is moist.

This historic town is just north from Cape Town, and as can be expected, has magnificent 16th Century Cape Dutch architecture. It is said that Paarl is the birthplace of the Afrikaans language, and the Afrikaans Language Monument towers high on the slopes and can be seen miles away. Although some areas in town has grown commercially, a sense of tranquillity remains with wine vines literally growing alongside the main road through town.

The Paarl wine route and its glorious wine farms are most popular for its Shiraz cultivar, but due to the rich soil, and excellent climate, Paarl also produces a wide variety of other wine grapes. On this route you will experience some of the best wines in the region, and visit award-winning estates. KWV, one of the biggest wine producers in South Africa, also known for its excellent brandy production is also situated in Paarl. Visiting KWV for a private cellar tour, and a delicacy pairing is certainly recommended.

Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch has become a popular tourist destination for so many reasons. Simon van der Stel, former Governor of the Cape, founded Stellenbosch in 1679, which makes it the second oldest town in South Africa. The town is known for its beautiful old buildings and big oak trees that line the streets. In fact, “Dorp Straat” (Town Street) has one of the longest rows of old buildings, including Churches surviving in any major town in SA.

In recent times, Stellenbosch has become a vibrant centre due to one of the biggest Universities in Africa opening its doors in 1920. The culture of the early settlers is also very apparent as Stellenbosch has a unique character with original Victorian and Cape Dutch architecture. A visit to the Village Museum will show you this rich heritage in a unique way. Stellenbosch is one of the world’s best viticulture regions due to the excellent climate and soil.

Edwin and Adriaan are really terrific! Our trip was spectacular and everything ran like a Swiss train! We went to Kirstenbosch Gardens, Cape Point, Hermanus, Simonstown, wine estates in Stellenbosch and Table mountain. They are knowledgeable, fun to be around and the days flew by. We can’t thank them enough for making our trip so easy and so truly enjoyable!! We felt like we were part of a terrific family! Enjoy Cape town and enjoy Avatar tours. Thanks again Edwin and Adriaan for everything!!

Dr Posnic – Jacksonville – USA
The most beautiful place with the most talented tour guides. Avatar tours showed us the most fantastic places and sites in Cape Town. We only had 4 days but Adriaan and Edwin made the tour exciting, and efficient. I can highly recommend Avatar tours for your visit to Cape Town.

Kristina Slot – Denmark
I HIGHLY recommend Avatar Tours. My wife and I were in South Africa for business and took a week vacation after work. Adriaan setup our entire stay and provided a personalized tour of Cape Town and our safari in Kruger National Park, as well as our cultural tour of Pretoria and Johannesburg. This was an amazing experience!

Steve Tibbets – USA
I had the best tour experience with Avatar Tours. I experienced the wine, safari & boulders bay/Penguin tours with Avatar. Apart from the fact that all the planning and costs were included in the price and the knowledge of the area was outstanding, the personal service was exceptional. I felt completely safe and very well looked after from the minute I was picked up to the time I was dropped off. The interest given to make sure I was having the best time ever was incredible. I highly recommend this tour company and I will be back for more tours in the future. Thank you Adriaan for helping me have the best time in the Western Cape Area! 🙂

Evelyn Lena – UK
It was my first time to visit South-Africa. Adriaan from Avatar Tours organize a 3-day private tour for me, and I really enjoyed this trip. Highly recommended!!

Ed Lin -Taipei Taiwan
My husband and I just had the most amazing trip, mainly due to the fantastic job Avatar Tours (aka Adriaan and Edwin) did to plan each day we were in South Africa. They were extremely kind, flexible and fun. From climbing Table Mountain with us, to spending the day checking out penguins and touring the beautiful sites at cape point, to wine tasting and city tours these two made our trip a dream. Adriaan did a fantastic job finding and booking our safari experience. He called and checked with us to ensure everything was as expected. They went above and beyond to make sure our trip was what we’d imagined. Can’t say enough great things and recommend them enough. 5-star service all the way.

Eralda Palucci – USA
Without any prior booking, we called Adrian to ask if we still can have a guided tour via Cape Town, and only 1 hour later we got it! Thanks to Adrian and his colleagues we spend two perfect days in this magical city, and that was amazing. I would highly recommend a township tour and walking city tour for everyone who wants to feel the spirit of Cape Town and South Africa. Thank you, Adrian, we really enjoyed it!!

Tannha N – Moscow Russia