LOCATION: Stellenbosch, South Africa
WEATHER: Much warmer, as we are inland. Sunny. High 85
We checked out of our Capetown AirB&B and caught an Uber to Stellensbosch, the main city in South Africa’s Wineland district. It was about 30 miles, but took 1.5 hours due to traffic.
We had booked our guesthouse through Hotels.com, so didn’t know exactly what to expect. We certainly didn’t expect this luxurious estate! (especially at the price we paid). Check it out at weltevredenestate.com
Several staff members greeted us and served us cucumber/mint ice water while we “sorted things out” (i.e., registered). The estate goes back to the Dutch settlers in the 1600s. All the buildings have beautiful thatched roofs. One of the staff escorted us to the manor house, where our room is upstairs.
We had to climb these stairs to the room – thank goodness we didn’t have our heavy suitcase!
The upstairs has a lovely commons area with antique furniture, and a decanter of sherry that was awaiting us….
Our room is cozy, with a slanting ceiling of the thatch. I love the smell – like fresh hay. We even have a big old-fashioned, clawfooted bathtub!
This is the view from the top of the stairs. The thatch on the right is the roof over our room.
After a restorative sip of sherry, we made our way to the restaurant, another thatched building, dating from the 1700s. We had more of their tasty water and a bottle of wine from a nearby wine estate. George had a deconstructed chicken/wild mushroom pie and I had some croquettes.
We learned that this estate is on their national list of historic places. It is used a lot for meetings, weddings, and other events. Staff outnumber guests by about 20:1, it seems.
We rested (George napped) during the afternoon heat, then took an Uber to Stellenbosch’s city center, about 3 miles away. It really reminds me of an American wine town like Napa or Walla Walla. Streets are lined with restaurants, art galleries, wine tasting rooms, and cute shops – specializing in ostrich leather goods. Tourists stroll the streets with bags of wine from wine shops.
We stopped at one outdoor cafe for a glass of wine ($2.50) and a beer (not sure how much, but more than the wine!)
We walked around the touristy part of town until we found a restaurant that looked good- a bit off the beaten path so was less crowded and less noisy\busy.
In addition to the nice selections on the menu, our waiter extolled the virtures of several daily specialties, including a game platter featuring a lot of African wildlife such as croccodile and ostrich. It sounded like too much food. Not being that hungry, we each just ordered an appetizer – George had tempura shrimp….
And, I had a bowl of mussels in a delicious cream sauce.
Not what you would call a typical Thanksgiving dinner, but absolutely lovely!
My mother always said I have “champagne tastes on a beer budget” and this trip to Stellenbosch fits that to a T!