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Wine Trams and sidecars.....


Black Opal's Senior Sales and Product Manager, Alex Taylor, took a holiday to Cape Town and the Winelands back in May. Despite having growing up here, she finds something new to experience and enjoy every time. Here's Alex's account of her latest South Africa travel experience.

On arrival in Cape Town we were met by our friendly driver who whisked us off to Babylonstoren, our home for the first four nights. Babylonstoren is located within close proximity to two of the Cape's most visited Winelands towns; Franschhoek and Stellenbosch and is best described as a farm hotel.

We were staying in one of the Fynbos Cottages, which are set a little away from the main hotel. Due to this distance we received our own golf buggy, making it easy to explore the expansive farm. It was also quite fun whizzing about!

Our cottage was extremely spacious and gorgeously decorated. There was a large living room, where an open fire place makes perfect to enjoy a glass of wine during the chilly evenings. Added to this was a glass cube kitchen, bedroom with four poster bed and huge bathroom with a feature bathtub and a walk-in shower large enough for a whole family! I knew from the minute we walked in, that our stay would be amazing!

Our first introduction to the food was the next morning – the breakfasts are nothing but spectacular. The freshest fruit picked straight from the gardens, honeycomb from their very own own hives, freshly made bread, local cheese and biltong (dried meat similar jerky, but nicer!) and this was just the buffet for starters. The a la carte menu had plenty of choice tool including a 'farm breakfast' (similar to a full English, but with a South African twist) and a daily chef's special.

Babylonstoren has a host of of onsite activities such as wine tasting, bread-making, garden tours and rowing on the dam, all of which are included in your stay. And if that all gets too much the Garden Spa offers a welcome place to relax and recharge.

Despite there being so much happening in the hotel, we did venture out to explore the local vineyards for which this area is famed. One of the best ways to do this has got to be the Franschhoek Wine Tram.

Simply put this is a hop-on hop-off experience, allowing you to visit a number of farms without the hassle of having to get between them and the cherry on the top is that they offer a transfer service to and from your hotel. Meaning everyone in the party can enjoy the tastings without the worry of having a designated driver.

With a number of routes to choose from you will definitely find an option that suits your wine preference and of course I am happy to offer my recommendations. We opted for the Yellow Route and managed to visit four vineyards, one of which was Richard Branson’s Mont Rochelle. This was where we opted to stay a little longer and enjoyed a relaxed lunch whilst lapping up the views of the surrounding valley.

Before we knew it, it was time to move on and although sad to be leaving this beautiful part of the Cape, I was excited to be heading to Cape Town; the city where I grew up.

An easy drive into Cape Town brought us to the bustling V&A Waterfront and our home for the next four nights, Lawhill Luxury Apartments. Offering a choice of one, two and three bedroom apartments they are conveniently located a short walk from the hustle and bustle of the Waterfront and an excellent choice for families and couples alike.

The Waterfront itself has so much to offer. Enjoy shopping for curios in one of the craft markets, visit the Two Oceans Aquarium to learn all about the sea life that inhabits the Capes coast, enjoy an array of cuisine or simply soak up the atmosphere whilst enjoying a drink at one of the many bars, our favourite being Ferrymans.

Having grown up in Cape Town and been on holiday a number of times, I wanted something different to experience whilst there and what better than a day spent exploring the Cape Peninsula by sidecar? We were met by our guide at our apartments where he discussed options for our day.

We chose to head south towards Cape Point stopping en route at some of the small towns that dot the False Bay Coast – Muizenberg where the surfers were out in force, the sleepy town of Kalk Bay with its quirky shops and the naval town of Simon Town where a must visit is the penguin colony at Boulders.

We then headed across the Peninsula to the Atlantic coast where the dramatic cliffs dominate and if you are lucky and there at the right time you may even be lucky enough to spot a whale or two. We stopped at the town of Noordhoek for lunch before what must be the highlight of the day – driving along the dramatic Chapmans Peak, an experience not for the faint-hearted!

Our journey continued down to the harbour town of Hout Bay where we visited the working harbour before heading to Camps Bay around the coast to Sea Point and finally back to the V&A.

Once again upon returning to Cape Town I found something new to savour. I would be delighted to help you plan your next holiday to this fabulous part of the world.

Are you a cricket fan? Combine a trip to Cape Town with Test Match action on our hosted South Africa tours taking place Christmas and New Year 2019/20!


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