You don’t have to be a tourist to jump onto the City SightSeeing Cape Town’s Red Bus! This is the perfect choice for those moments when you feel like exploring the countryside without having to bring along your driver’s licence.
The Red Bus operates daily and runs a variety of tours, we opted for the Franschhoek and Stellenbosch Winelands Day Tour. This full day guided tour departs from the City SightSeeing Tour Office at VnA Waterfront at 09h00 and returns around 17h30. The tour includes 2 wine tastings at 2 wine estates, 1 cheese pairing, 1 cellar tour, WiFi and USB ports on board the air-conditioned bus, transport to the various locations and lastly, a photo opportunity at the picture postcard view of Table Mountain from across the water in Blouberg.
A word to the wise, we suggest you have breakfast before you depart the VnA as wine tasting begins quite early 😁 We departed the VnA and headed for our photo op in the ever windy Blouberg. Please note that this is just a quick pit stop. There is no time for shop breaks. After our photo op, we jumped back on the bus and headed to Anura Vineyards in Stellenbosch.
Located on the foothills of the Simonsberg Mountains, Anura is home to several award winning wines as well as the Forest Hill Cheesery. Anura boasts a beautiful setting, the layout is crisp yet quaint and becoming. Upon arrival, we were taken on a well-informed cellar tour followed by a wine and cheese tasting.
Our tasting consisted of a Sauvignon Blanc paired with Marisch cheese, Rosé paired with Camembert, Grenache Noir paired with Manchego cheese and the Pinotage Syrah paired with Swiss Mountain Plain cheese. Our favourite was the Grenache Noir paired with the Manchego cheese, mmm just so good 👌🏼
After the tasting, we were given some time to browse and take in the sights. Shortly thereafter, we hopped back onto the bus and headed to Franschhoek. Driving through the idyllic little town gives you a good idea of the sheer amount of wine estates and restaurants available for your enjoyment. Once in the French Corner, we were given 2 hours to do as we pleased. The options are endless. We decided lunch would be the best course of action considering we had another wine tasting on the agenda.
Not wanting to walk particularly long in the rain, we opted for the Tuk Tuk Microbrewery. Lunch consisted of beer battered fish and chips and cheese nachos with guacamole, sour cream and pico de gallo. Seeing as though we were at a brewery, we figured we’d give their Craft Beer Tasting a go as well. When in Rome right? 😁
The CBC tasting included 100mls of Lager, 100mls of Dunkel, 100mls of Weizen, 100mls of Pale Ale and a T&T for good measure 🙈 For those of you who are unsure of the components of a T&T, it is made up of Don Julio Tequila, a Spicy Tomatino Shot and 1/2 a CBC Lager.
Needless to say, the slight chill in the air wasn’t really a problem anymore. With our 2 hours almost at an end, we walked back to the bus and headed to our last stop for the day, Vergenoegd Wine Estate.
Located just off Baden Powell Drive in Stellenbosch, Vergenoegd Wine Estate has its fair share of charm. We arrived at the estate while their Saturday market was in full swing. The market boasts food, fresh produce, arts and crafts, beer and wines, live entertainment as well as kids entertainment.
A little browse through the market and our tasting began. It consisted of 5 red wines including their Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Blend and Cape Colony. During our tasting, hordes our people began queuing near the restaurant. We discovered the estate has over 1000 Indian Runner Ducks. The ducks are released into the vineyards in the morning and return in the evening, this is known as the Duck Parade. The ducks are part of an integrated pest management program and the Duck Research Program. The results of the program will be made available to other farms and vineyards who wish to opt for natural pest and snail control by Runner Ducks. Needless to say, it was quite a sight. Amazing actually.
Once the ducks had returned to their quarters for the evening, we jumped back onto the bus and headed for the VnA. We arrived at the VnA just after 17h00, thinking… wow we’re going to sleep well tonight. All in all, the Red Bus Franschhoek and Stellenbosch Winelands Tour is fun, informative and stress free. There’s enough structure without the tour being rigid and inflexible. Give it a go! It’s wine, food and waddling ducks; what more could you ask for?