“You had me at ‘wine’”, was my response to the friend who was surprised to receive my payment for our ladies’ wine walk weekend within an hour of the invitation!
And thus it was that almost a year later eight of us finally found ourselves Kulula bound for Cape Town International Airport and into the hands of Andries from Trails and Travels.
Trails and Travels offers a myriad of both guided and independent walking and cycling trips nationwide. This variety, plus the exemplary service that they offer make their 5 star rating on Trip Advisor no surprise.
WINELANDS WALK: DAY 1
Andries suggested tackling the Mont Rochelle Nature Reserve trail for day one. We lapped up his knowledge of the local flora and ecology. The walk was more arduous than we’d anticipated which made the cool cellar and bubbles we enjoyed at Haute Cabriere Wine Farm on its completion even more delicious!
Sundowners that night were at at Dieu Donne Wine Estate. What a sunset! And the dinner at Roca did not disappoint.
WINELANDS WALK: DAY TWO
Day two’s walk began at La Motte. This walk was self guided, and included a few areas of clambering up and over rocks. We were rewarded by a rest in the shade of a gorgeous little pergola at the top and a magnificent view down and across the valley. The route was well marked out and a great combo of challenge and beauty that could only have been improved by a glass of Sauvignon Blanc at the top!
Dinner that evening at Le Petite Ferme was such a treat! Their service was faultless and fun and all our meals exquisitely presented and totally tasty. In fact we ordered a selection of deserts just because they sounded so pretty.
WINELANDS WALK: DAY THREE
We woke to a heavy cloud on Saturday morning, and despite a few hangovers and some surprisingly achey muscles we were undeterred from planning day three’s walk. This day took us through the many vineyards that are on the outskirts of Franschhoek: Mont Rochelle, Grande Provence and Rickety Bridge to name a few. This gentle amble led us to Chef’s Warehouse at Maison for a light lunch which was absolutely the culinary highlight of the weekend. Tapas consisted of eight plates, in three courses, shared between two. The presentation, and flavor of each course was better than the last, until eventually, and with surprise the ostrich tartare was voted our favorite of their offerings. The afternoon was perfection, and the only thing we’d do differently next time is to arrive earlier, and leave way, way later!
Full of food, with tired legs, happy souls and a new appreciation for an unwooded Chardonnay, we boarded our flights back to Johannesburg that evening already planning for next year’s trip!
GOOD TO KNOW
* The walks are seasonally available so one must book well in advance. This is not a last minute trip.
* Whilst not totally necessary, a proper trail shoe is an advantage as terrain was often rocky and loose.
* Training for the walk is not necessary, but a moderate level of fitness is required.
* One good meal a day is sufficient. Food in Franschoek is decadent and and arriving at dinner still sated from lunch can spoil the foodie aspect of the trip.
* Book all meals in advance! Most restaurants were full on the evenings we dined.
* If travelling as group, and splitting costs equally, check that your hotel rooms are all of a similar standard in advance. We had some ladies in the penthouse and some in the dungeon!
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