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2 days only what to do

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manchester
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2 days only what to do

We are going to winelands for 2 nights at end of October, the choice of what to do is overwhelming.Please could someone suggest somewhere to stay that is interesting but not too expensive and could someone suggest a wine tour for us. First impessions of Stellenbosch seems that it is a bit twee and trippery, would prefer something a little more honest.

McGregor, South...
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1. Re: 2 days only what to do

Some might think Franschhoek a bit' twee and trippery' but hardly Stellenbosch!

It rather depends on what you are looking for and even perhaps the types of wine you enjoy. Perhaps a stay on a working wine farm would be of interest - have a look at Graceland http://www.gracelandvineyards.com/

Leeds, United...
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2. Re: 2 days only what to do

Hi

Agree with macym, Stellenbosch is definitely not twee. Both a university and working wine town. I have stayed on a wine farm in the past, but although I loved the views, I didn't really like driving into town each night to eat. There are a multitude of guest houses both in the town and in the area on wine farms

We are staying at Aan Dorpstraat Guest House this year, recommended by a frequent poster on here

www.aandorpstraat.co.za

If you have your own car, then I would do your own wine tour. That way you can pick estates that interest you. A lot of them are more than just wine tasting, with restaurants (some of the best in the Cape), beautiful cape dutch buildings, great architecture, museums, olives and olive oil, beautiful grounds and gardens to stroll around.

Have a look at www.wineroute.co.za

This will give you an idea of where the wineries are situated - the maps are very good. Also has a good accommodation section

Lisa

Southend-on-Sea...
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3. Re: 2 days only what to do

I agree with Macsym and Lisaplaces Stellenbosch is far from twee and has a nice "real town" atmosphere. We where there on a Friday and Saturday night at there were plenty of locals/students in the restaurants and bars. Of all the places we visited in South Africa Stellenbosch was the easiest and most pleasant to wander about in the evening.

In terms of wine tours the first question has to be do want to self drive or go on an organised tour?

Cape Town
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4. Re: 2 days only what to do

I have to disagree with the other posters and agree with you - Stellenbosch has pockets of honesty and other pockets of touristy impressions. There are some really authentic options though, for example Muratie - you feel like you are tasting with friends. Villiera is a sparkling specialist on the edge of Stellenbosch, near Paarl. De Trafford is a boutique wine estate at the end of a long country road, amazing wines you can't find often. If this is your vibe, you'd be better off staying away from the show stoppers like Ernie Ells and Delaire - they are really amazing, but they are so cosmopolitan you don't feel that down to earth vibe. I keep a blog and have written an article about how to pick the perfect wine farm - given the hundreds of choices - if you'd like to read more you can find it at …blogspot.com/2010/07/eeny-meeny-miny-moe-is… Good luck!

Cape Town
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5. Re: 2 days only what to do

Theresa

"Pockets of Honesty" !! Of the more than 250 wine farms in the Stellenbosch region I would suggest that well over 90 percent are primarily working Agricultural properties where the owner, the winemaker or someone involved with the estate, will be happy to spend time with you and explain what they are doing. Hardly any of these farms then charge for tasting. Yes there are some estates which are on the Tour Bus Trail, charge for tasting and focus more on tourism than growing and making wine but these are easy to avoid. Just look at the number of cars and buses in the car park when you drive up. More than a dozen then just carry on to the next farm!

Add to this, as Lisa and Simsu say, that Stellenbosch itself is one of the most interesting towns in the whole of South Africa. How can anywhere centred on a major University be "twee"! The more than a hundred buildings which are Historic Monuments (from the late 17th to the mid 19th century) are nearly all either homes or places of work. Even the 6 buildings which are preserved by the town council as the Village Museum are not prettied up but presnted to show Stellenbosch homes from all the different eras. Add to this good shopping, art galleries and museums for the local and student population, and loads of student cafes and restaurants and you have one of the most vibrant towns anywhere in South Africa.

Now Franschhoek might be a different story ;-)

Edited: 4:36 pm, October 20, 2010
Cape Town
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6. Re: 2 days only what to do

Hi, Van de Caab - I don't mean to offend! or imply that Stellenbosch is not amazing - just saying that it can be authentic, and it can also be touristy - selection of the right places to visit, depending on what you are looking for, is absolutely essential. I doubt overseas visitors want to spend their time driving around finding estates and then having to and dodge tour buses parked outside - what a pain - so I suggested the wine estates I have been to myself and which really offer honest and amazing experiences.

Leeds, United...
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7. Re: 2 days only what to do

Hi Theresa

I have read your blog and found it very interesting. Although, I do not necessarily agree with your winery choices. That is the whole point of what VDC is saying. Stellebosch has over 250 wineries to choose from. I have had some good tastings and some bad ones in the past.

Hughsue - I would say have a look on the Stellenbosch wine route website

www.wineroute.co.za. Pick a few that you fancy, have a look at their websites. You will soon get an idea of which are the tourist traps, like Spier, Boschendal jsut to name a couple. Although I have had a very nice picnic at Baschendal, but hated their red wines!

Then ask the opinions of others on here. You will get lots of help.

Try not to plan your wine tasting day on a Sunday, as some are shut.

Then as VDC says, if you don't like the look of a winery, just go onto the next one.

I have been to wine farms in France, Spain and Germany, but find the experience much more rewarding. People are happy to spend time chatting to you, usually!, there is no snobbery, it is a pretty relaxed affair, the views are hard to beat and there are some great places for a lunch stop too.

We managed 42 wineries on our last visit (it was for a month and we did visit several different regions), and only a couple I didn't enjoy. My favourites were Rustenburg, Camberley, Glen Carlou (Paarl) and Thelema.! That ranges from small boutique to large global company!

I know you will have a great day, wherever you visit

Lisa

Cape Town
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8. Re: 2 days only what to do

Hi, Lisa- thanks very much for your compliment on the blog - I love the winelands and living in the Cape and am constantly finding inspiration since there are just so many places to visit. I'm also a fan of Rustenberg and Thelema - will have to give Camberley a try - putting it on my "list" ! Have a great day, Theresa

9. Re: 2 days only what to do

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