Saturday , 15 December 2018
South Africa Blog / Tag Archives: cape winelands

Tag Archives: cape winelands

The Eastern Cape Versus the Western Cape – What’s the Difference?

The Eastern Cape Versus the Western Cape – What’s the Difference?

First-time visitors to South Africa can’t be blamed for not knowing their eastern from their western when it comes to the capes. They’re relatively near to one another, and have many similarities. So, what’s the difference between the laid-back Eastern Cape and the slightly-busier-but-still-very-chilled Western Cape?

The Lowdown on the Eastern Cape

 

The Eastern Cape is a massive, but quieter province. It stretches from Storms River to the area previously known as the Transkei (which borders KwaZulu-Natal), and inland to include gorgeous mountains. The Eastern Cape is characterised by some large cities, like Port Elizabeth and East London, but mainly by its rural Xhosa villages, which freckle the landscape. Cattle roam the grassy plains and there is an undeniable sense of space and solitude.

 

The Eastern Cape is also home to some magnificent game reserves and national parks, thanks to all of the space available for the wildlife to roam. A few of the best known of these are Addo Elephant National Park, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, and the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve. For this reason, the Eastern Cape is fantastic for safaris, bird watching, and game viewing. Look out for the Big 5 – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.

 

This province has an extensive coastline, and the waters are fairly warm and safe for swimming. There are also loads of rivers that lead to the sea, particularly between Port Elizabeth and East London. These create pretty holiday retreats along the coast. It is an awesome destination for anyone that loves watersports and, because of the consistent winds, it has become a world-class kiting destination.

The Lowdown on the Western Cape

 

A little more cosmopolitan than its eastern counterpart, the Western Cape tends be more about shopping, winelands, and entertainment. Of course, there are many spectacular natural areas here too; with its impressive mountain ranges, verdant valleys, exquisite white-sand beaches, and endless stretches of vineyards.

 

In fact, the Western Cape is known the world over for its wines. So, it is not surprising that, around the main city centre of Cape Town, there are many wine farms. Here, visitors can taste some excellent wines (or pair them with delicious meals).

 

More than just the metropolis, the Western Cape is home to unique little towns and villages that give it its character. These include Franschhoek, Swellendam, Robertson, Paternoster and Hermanus. A little further away from Cape Town, there is the Garden Route. This is home to Knysna, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, amongst other gems.

 

Cape Town itself is home to some of the world’s best-known attractions. These include Table Mountain, Robben Island, the V & A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and the Two Oceans Aquarium.

 

Adventure sports like shark cage diving, bungy jumping, abseiling, kloofing and mountain climbing are a must here, because the landscape lends itself to exploring. The ocean waters are significantly cooler in the Western Cape than the Eastern Cape.

EC vs WC

Well, it’s almost impossible to choose between the two. They both have incredible natural areas, plenty of history and lashings of culture. The Western Cape offers great shopping, plenty of history, world-class wines, and first-class entertainment. The Eastern Cape is hard to beat in terms of its game reserves, stunning warm sea water, pristine beaches, friendly folk, and tranquillity. They both have loads of charming historical towns and lashings of culture. In addition, they both have plenty of accommodation – ranging from guesthouses and B&B’s to game lodges, resorts, hotels, and apartments. Find a full range of establishments on SA-Venues.com.

 

Exploring Somerset West

Exploring Somerset West

Part of the Cape Winelands, Somerset West is conveniently situated just 30 minutes from the hub of Cape Town in the Western Cape. Although the vast majority of this town is residential, there are a few natural areas and, of course, wine farms that make this small district a fabulous place to explore. Somerset West is perhaps best known as being the first sight after travelling Sir Lowry’s Pass; the gateway to Cape Town when coming from the Cape Helderberg.

Having been established by the Dutch in 1672, Somerset West is steeped in history. Today, there still exist homes and farmhouses that reflect the old Cape Dutch style, some of which have been meticulously preserved for the sake of tourism and heritage. Read More »

Exploring Franschhoek

Exploring Franschhoek

Surrounded by the exquisite Franschhoek Mountains, which are jade-coloured in some places and rugged rock in others, the town of Franschhoek is an utter escape. It is charming, elegant, historic, scenic, fun and, above all, the culinary capital of South Africa.

It is situated some 87 kilometres from the city centre of Cape Town in the Western Cape Province, along with all of its most famous attractions (such as Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and the V & A Waterfront). Despite its close proximity to the Mother City, the peaceful ambience with the distinctive European air is unlike any other place, setting Franschhoek apart as a unique destination. Read More »

Exploring Stellenbosch

Exploring Stellenbosch

One of the primary towns of the Cape Winelands, Stellenbosch  is renowned for the incredible wines produced in and around it, as well as for the history that is felt in its architecture, wide roads, and many museums and galleries. More than this, Stellenbosch exudes an irresistible allure, thanks to its verdant beauty. Oak trees line the streets (in fact, this was once called City of Oaks by the Dutch settlers that discovered its inordinate beauty) and the surrounding mountains are visible from just about anywhere in this university town.

Stellenbosch is about 50 kilometres outside Cape Town in the Western Cape and is surrounded by other Winelands towns like Paarl, Pniel and Franschhoek. The rolling hills and mountains are adorned with immaculate vineyards, where the fruits are sweetened by the South African sunshine and the hands that pluck the grapes have viticulture in their blood. Read More »

Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market

Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market

It seems that Cape Town’s favourite destination on a Saturday morning these days, is to go to Stellenbosch to visit the Fresh Goods Market, situated at Oude Libertas. This amphitheatre style, outdoor and indoor market comprises of an energetic frenzy of food, beverage and craft sellers pedaling their wares and feeding hordes of hungry market goers, every Saturday between 9am-2pm.

The food is fresh, gourmet, trendy and delicious and one is easily swayed to partner brunch with a ‘real’ beer or even a margarita before the Boeing has even flown over! The ample space and rolling lawns on the outskirts of the market give it a feeling of space, allowing for relaxing with friends, while enjoying a smorgasbord of delicious offerings from the market. The ‘slow food’ philosophy at the market, as opposed to fast food, ensures that all the food on offer is independently and ethically produced. Read More »