Secret Season Stellenbosch: Tips for Active and Outdoor Lovers in South Africa’s Leading Wine Region
Commonly referred to as “The Secret Season” by locals, South Africa’s low season (May to September) is the perfect time of the year for an active holiday.
Whilst wine tastings and cellar tours on sun-drenched and clear days are non-negotiable features on a Stellenbosch itinerary, the area offers outdoor fanatics just as much fun with a host of adventure attractions. What’s more, Stellenbosch has just launched a range of off-peak packages and travelers can now stay and play in Stellenbosch for a fraction of what they’d normally pay, and still get to add in extra activities. For further information visit http://stellenboschtravel.co.za/destination-stellenbosch.
With daytime temperatures around 16-20ºC, winter in South Africa is nothing like winter in Europe. Visitors will be pleasantly surprised as the air is clean and fresh, the sky is painted bright blue and the landscape is covered in green vegetation and flowers – the perfect weather to explore Stellenbosch’s stunning vineyard and mountain countryside. Outdoor activities range from easy cycling through town, exhilarating mountain biking trails and scenic walking routes to breathtaking fun in the sky such as helicopter trips, skydives and paragliding for unsurpassed views of the picturesque tourist paradise below.
Stellenbosch is the perfect hub from where to explore surrounding regions like Cape Town (45 minutes away), the coast and Hermanus for whale watching (45 minutes to an hour away) and other wine regions like Franschhoek (20 minutes away).
Adventure Highlights in and around Stellenbosch:
- Vineyard hiking trails around The Devon Valley Hotel is your opportunity to relax and unwind as the tranquility of the rolling hills unfolds. Enjoy the hospitality of the wineries along the route who share many generations’ toil to cultivate wines of origin and style. There are three spectacular routes on offer: The Mountain Route for the bird and nature lover; The Vintners Route for the wine lover and the Devon Valley Route for the health and fitness lover – this trail affords the hiker with a good work-out, all along the slopes of the vine-clad hills, with commanding views of both sides of the Devon Valley. Trail maps are available at the hotel (devonvalleyhotel.com)
- The Schapenberg Stagger, a guided biodiversity and wine walk which starts at Waterkloof Estate near Somerset West and takes hikers to three other wineries, Onderkloof, Journey’s End and Da Capo (walksforwine.co.za)
- The magnificent self-guided trails through the Jonkershoek Nature Reserve, range from easy strolls through fynbos and relic forest with cascading waterfalls to the incredibly scenic but demanding 17.1km Panorama Trail with views all the way to Cape Town (capenature.org.za)
- The single track of Jonkershoek is a Mecca for mountain bikers – and you can freewheel from the gates of the reserve all the way down to the historic Lanzerac Estate for some post ride refreshment. (adventureshop.co.za)
- Gourmands will enjoy Bike and Saddle’s eco-biking safari at Clos Malverne – a leisurely pedal through the scenic backroads of Stellenbosch’s Devon Valley topped off with a three-course lunch and wine (bikeandsaddle.com)
- Horse riding adds romance – and the benefit of an elevated view – to the wine experience. One of the best places to saddle up is the Equine Sports Centre just outside Stellenbosch, which offers rides followed by a wine tasting and picnic on the Morgenhof wine farm (equinesportcentre.co.za)
- The Helderberg Farm, best known for its delicious strawberries, offers hiking and a couple of 4×4 trails (helderbergfarm.co.za)
- Segway Tours at Spier Estate (spier.co.za/visit/segway-tours)
- Tour the vineyards in an open safari-style game viewing Land Rover at Jordan Wines, with stops to experience the spectacular views of False and Table Bays as well as the flora and fauna of the Cape Winelands.jordanwines.co.za/tasting-tours)
- Adventure Shop – An adventure tourism organization offering adventure tours and activities, safari and overland travel. Popular vine hopper wine tour service (adventureshop.co.za)
- Book a guided farm walk, and learn more about winemaking as well as the stud farm operation at Avontuur Estate (avontuurestate.co.za)