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A ROAD TRIP OUT OF CAPE TOWN

A ROAD TRIP OUT OF CAPE TOWN

A circular journey that will take you through 4 wine producing regions in one day with changing scenery with each passing hour and a plethora of stopping points to accommodate any craving or any social setting? On main roads? Crossing 3 mountain passes? Let’s show you how:

You already know that Cape Town is blessed to be surrounded by a collection of wine routes, each with unique landscapes. The thing is, we usually pinpoint one destination in advance, driving to it and back.

New social distancing rules requires you to mostly be in the lap of known company. This makes your vehicle the capsule of safety and luckily, this capsule has wheels.

We suggest you start driving on the N2, taking off to the R310 towards Stellenbosch. Pass the town and continue to Helshoogte Pass. You’ll cross between the Simonsberg Ridge and the Hottentots-Holland range, with open views all the way to Table Mountain.

You than start descending towards the R45. After you pass the village of Pniel, you’ll exit the Stellenbosch Wine Route, and taking a right at the T-junction, begin your drive through the Franschhoek Wine Route.

The entire road, from Allée Bleue Wine Estate at the bottom, to La Petite Ferme on top of the valley, is dotted with wineries, restaurants and delis. Continuing on this road, you’ll reach the Franschhoek Pass.

The pass was once known as Olifantshoek (“Elephants Corner’), after the now mythical herds of elephant which roamed these valleys and mountains. This long, steep and dramatic pass, with its variety of scenery was South Africa’s first properly engineered road. On the other side of the pass, you’ll drive through Theewaters Nature Reserve, all the way to the big dam that is Cape Town’s main drinking water source.

While this part of the road gives you vistas over the Overberg Wine Route and mountain range, you will take a right turn on the R321 towards Grabouw and into the Elgin Wine Route.

This area, which grew mainly orchards in the past, now enjoys a reputation for producing cold climate, high altitude crisp wines.

Once you reach Grabouw, you connect back to the N2, starting your drive back towards Cape Town.

This part of the road will give you the most dramatic of the 3 mountain passes for the day: Sir Lowry’s Pass. It crosses the Hottentots-Holland mountain range between Elgin Valley and Somerset West at the bottom, on the main national road between Cape Town and the Garden Route. A railway line also crosses the mountain range at this point.

The summit of the pass is at 920 m. There is a viewpoint at the summit and this point is also used as a paragliding launch point. Baboons are often seen in this area.

Driving at a leisurely speed will allow you to finish the drive in 4.5-5 hours, therefor we suggest you plan most of your stops in advance, check opening hours and strongly consider pre-booking or ordering if you would like to visit a wine farm or a restaurant en route.  It is also advisable that you allocate some time for unexpected surprises like farm stall shopping, village walks or an observation break, and there are plenty of opportunities for these along the road.

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