I recently got the opportunity to truly experience the heart and soul of not only the Cape Winelands, but a different side of South Africa. By travelling on bicycle around the Winelands, I was able to experience the people, culture, history and food, all in one day.
I understand how it can be overwhelming to come to a new country for the first time. What to do? What to eat? Where to go? I have travelled to 24 countries and of all my favorite travel stories are those that include exploring a place like a local. I discovered AWOL Tours, definitely not your typical tourist trap. They provide the full experience that is both engaging and educational. You will be able to learn more about wine farming and viticulture, as well as get the chance to taste exceptional cuisine all amongst breathtaking scenery.
Firstly, a quick breakdown of what was on the cards for the day; a short road trip, both historical as well as educational stops in Franschhoek, cycling through the vineyards and an amazing food experience.
The day started with an early morning collection from a given or chosen location that was best suited to my needs. Great communication was offered and everything was packed and ready upon my arrival. In the early hours of the morning, we made our way from Cape Town to the quaint town of Franschhoek. With a brief introduction into safety as well as bike set up, we were finally ready to start our adventure.
First stop, The Huguenot Monument. Dedicated to the cultural influences that Huguenots have brought to the Cape Colony after their immigration during the 17th and 18th centuries.
Continuing our adventure through the quaint little town, being mesmerised with a mix of both old and new. We make our way past several other historical stops (depending on whether you chose the half or full-day tour). As we continued through the picturesque town, we were exposed to various historical, architectural, and natural sites that Franschhoek has to offer.
The next stop took us into the heart and soul of it all, the Winelands. As you cycle through the vineyards, you already start dreaming about the delicious food and wine that awaits you. Even if wine is not your thing, alternative options such as coffee brewing, beer or chocolate tasting are on offer. A wide variety of top rated restaurants are available.
Continuing to soak up the beauty, we journey towards the final destination, Glenwood. One of my many favourites, a restaurant offering luxurious food. The words, good food and good wine should suffice but if not, here are some pictures that will quickly change your mind.
After spending some time of the bike, the day was starting to draw to an end and I could finally get a taste of the gourmet capital. On the menu for me was the rolled pork belly served with mustard mash, turnips, carrots and crackling, an absolute treat and some of the best wine I’ve had in a long time. Everything was perfect, it was clean, organic, and extremely delicious.
This entire experience made me appreciate the beauty of South Africa, it’s history, culture, food, and overall natural beauty. I hope as you read this that you are already imagining yourself on that bicycle. I encourage you not to fall trap to the tourist hot spots but rather let AWOL Tours show you the true beauty South Africa has to offer.