We’re not travelling now so that we can travel in the future, and a winelands trip is a South African favourite you should start planning for. While most people have heard of the likes of Constantia, Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek, there are so many other wine routes that offer hidden gems that only true wine insiders know about. To make it easier for you to start planning your trip, we’ve listed our favourite underrated wine regions in South Africa.
Tulbagh is famously beautiful, but somehow hasn’t garnered the same level of interest as the other Cape wine regions. For our biking brethren, this part of the Western Cape offers some of the most dramatic scenery and amazing roads to ride. For MCCs, there’s an abundance of choice: Old school houses such as Krone, well-established, upmarket favourites Saronsberg, and lesser-known boutique operations like Montpellier de Tulbagh. You’ll also never be short of good food in this part of the world, so it really is a picture perfect holiday for the foodies out there.
Wine is something new for the KwaZulu-Natal province, which is not an official wine ‘region’, but a ‘geographical area’ instead. We’re including it because it is still small, and the least known of the wine producing areas in the country. KwaZulu-Natal boasts one of the highest altitude certified single vineyard estate wines in the country by Abingdon Wine Estate, whilst Highgate Wine Estate produced the province’s very first certified Chardonnay. The area is gorgeous, green, and full of country charm. From farm houses and roaring fires to red wine and organic markets, there’s plenty to explore while you wind your way in and out of wineries.
Klein Karoo region
The wine regions of the Klein Karoo stretch along the world’s longest wine route – Route 62. The heart of the region is a flat semi-arid basin surrounded by some of the most imposing mountain ranges in the Cape – the Groot Swartberg and the Langeberge-Outeniqua Mountains. Rich soils and microclimates particular to the region have produced fortified wines for years, but more recently the region has become famous for dry table wines. It isn’t wine alone that dominates the region either – beer, wine, brandy and port combine to make this one of the most diverse of the wine regions in South Africa.
These lesser known routes are recommended for people that are seeking unique, often more rustic experiences filled with colourful characters and exceptional wines. For any wine lover visiting South Africa, we recommend that you visit both the well-known wine routes as well as a few of the smaller ones in order to immerse yourself into the wine culture and to understand the breadth of wines South Africa can offer.
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