western cape wine tour revisited

I'm back home in Sydney; swamped with work and domestic chores and I'm still having problems accessing my online images. I've managed to download some of the images and have recreated a few as well so I could write this blog post. 

The reason for my visit to South Africa was to attend a conference in Cape Town to. Once the conference was over, as a treat I booked myself a few nights accommodation at The Robertson Small HotelRobertson is a 2 hour drive from Cape Town so I hired a car to make the journey east. As Robertson is in a wine growing district I found myself on an impromptu tour through the wine regions of the Western Cape, which for someone who barely drinks alcohol is a bit of a laugh.

My Cape Town host was a member of the Thelema Wine Estate family so where else could I go when I was in Stellenbosch?

I drove in and was astounded by the beauty of the place so I needed to take a few photos before my wine tasting.

I was travelling mid week so when I arrived I was the only person tasting and I was given the royal treatment.

The mint cabernet sauvignon was my favourite
wine and if it weren't for the strict on board liquid restrictions I would have taken a bottle home with me. I'm still trying to see if the wine is available in Australia.

I drove out of the winery heading for Babylonstoren but quickly realised I was driving in the wrong direction. I drove into the Delaire Graff Estate and explained my predicament to the man on the gate who let me turn around.

The Graff Estate is gob smackingly gorgeous so I took a few photos before turning around and heading back in the correct direction.

I took my time so I'm sure the gate-man was wondering what had happened to me.

The drive to Babylonstoren took me down a dusty dirt road. 

The old farm house is a beautiful example of Cape Dutch architecture.

I took a walk through the gardens but as it was mid winter there wasn't much on display but I did find olives ripening on the trees

and lemons aplenty.

I loved these rustic wicker baskets.

The birdsong in this grove was enchanting. I tried capturing one of the birds oon my camera but they were way too fast for me.

Whilst walking through the garden I stumbled upon this grove of prickly pears.

The weather that day was remarkably warm for a winter's day. I wished I'd brought my hat with me.

I would have loved to have had my lunch here at Babel

but instead I had my lunch in
The Greenhouse. The Greenhouse reminded me a little of the Cafe at Petersham Nurseries. I dined outdoors under the oak trees.

My lunch, a very tasty lamb pot pie.

My dining companions that day were a little older then I.

Making my way back to the car I spied this glamorous hen house.

Some rustic goodies from the shop.

Once lunch was over it was back into the car for the drive to Robertson. I took the toll way and drove through the amazing Du Toitskloof mountains towards Robertson. As the speed limit was 120 kms I couldn't stop to take a photo but I wish I had. I drove into Robertson and then tried to locate the hotel without the aid of a map or a GPS. I gave up; asked for directions in one store and was redirected to the guy in the bike shop who 'knew everything'. He gave me clear instructions and before long I was driving into the car park at The Robertson Small Hotel.

The place was just gorgeous and exceeded my expectations.

My room was one of the stable suites which looked out onto a pool and the hotel's in-house restaurant. I loved the 'impossible to misplace' room keys.

The rooms were beautifully appointed and filled with thoughtful touches - flowers/a free drinks bar/a variety of international adapter plugs/a small cheese platter turn-down service/a lavish bathroom and a booklet of 'small experiences' one could undertake while in the region.

As my room looked out onto the restaurant as soon as I'd unpacked, I went for a wander around the Small Restaurant.

I was too busy eating to photograph my meals, which were all beautifully prepared. On my last day I had the opportunity to chat to the executive chef, Mariska who was absolutely lovely, as were all the staff at the hotel, particularly my server Elizabeth.

Some photos I took of the newly designed water-wise cactus garden and did I mention the daily car wash service to remove the dust gathered during one's wine tasting expeditions? I didn't want to leave.

For my 'small experience' I decided to go olive oil tasting at the Marbrin Olive Farm. There was such a stark contrast between the lush fields of Stellenbosch with Robertson. This place was parched.

I was very kindly taken through a tasting by the owner and was lucky enough to pat his friendly puppies as well. 

It was mid winter and 28°C the day I visited and the owner Clive was praying for rain.

It just isn't a farm without a tractor.

Red dust and the smell of gum trees. I could have sworn I was home.

After my stay in Robertson I drove back to Cape Town via Franschhoek travelling along the R43 and the R45. It was a slow journey because I kept stopping to take photos.

I drove through the amazing Franschhoek Pass which was the highlight of my trip to Franschhoek. 

I drove slowly through pea soup fog to Franschhoek. Unfortunately the winery I'd chosen to visit was unexpectedly closed. It was a Saturday so Franschhoek was very busy and the winery at which I did my tasting was very large and impersonal and not the experience I was seeking. I didn't stay long and drove on to Cape Town.

The last stop on my wine tour was The Fairview Wine Estate in Paarl. As you can see the weather had taken a turn for the worse but I still enjoyed the cheese and wine tasting. 
By then I was on my way to Namibia, so next blog I'll share with you some of my images. I just have to recreate them all first.

See you all again soon.

Bye for now,


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