We first bumped into Niyati Dubey during our trip to Kenya and weren’t we glad we did! Niyati is a quintessential bohotraveller who travels whenever she can and goes to where her heart leads to. A mother of two beautiful children she lives with her husband and kids in Kenya and has traveled extensively across 4 continents. So impressed were we with her passion for travel and her experiences that we asked her to join the official bohotraveller team and she gladly agreed. In this first of her many articles to come your way, she recounts how she stumbled upon this awesome place on her road trip in South Africa and why she fell in love with it. Read on…
I stumbled upon Stellenbosch when I took a tour of the famous Garden route along the South African coast with my family. For those who do not know about this route, it is a stretch of about 300 kilometers (186 miles) that extends from Mossel Bay in the West to Plettenberg Bay in the East. For every traveler in South Africa, this route is a must in the things to do. Now when you set your foot here, you immediately realise why it is called the Garden route. The verdant lush along the deep blue water is a sight that greets you along the entire stretch. There is hilly terrain, meandering lagoons and stunning visuals that make Garden route a damn picturesque one!
While we were coming to an end of the tour and I was preparing for a reluctant good bye, there came that last surprise – STELLENBOSCH! A town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, situated about 50 kilometers (31 miles) east of Cape Town. It is a hilly region and famous for its wineries and vineyards. Stellenbosch’s Mediterranean climate supports the cultivation of some of the world's best wines.
Cloud's Estate, the last and panoramic stop of our Garden Route did all the justice to its name. It was indeed located on the highest point in all of Stellenbosch! This marvellous estate is situated within the Stellenbosch and Wine land area. It sits on one of the highest points of the Helshoogte pass, surrounded by towering mountains.
The Cloud’s Estate- Perfect place for a perfect stay
Cloud's Estate had 7 hotel rooms and 5 villas that look out onto a beautiful valley. Amenities of the room include a Nespresso machine, Smart TV, i-pad docking station, satellite TV and Blu-Ray DVD.
The estate's villas are set amidst landscaped gardens and are surrounded by vineyards. The villas offer fantastic views that can be experienced from the room balcony. When relaxing indoors, air conditioning in summer and under-floor heating in winter months make for perfect temperature during all seasons.
Our villa came with a cute and functional kitchenette that had a full size fridge, stove top and oven, microwave, Nespresso maker, kettle and was stocked with enough crockery and cutlery. A dining table seats up to 6 persons with 2 comfortable chairs and a couch that can convert to a double bed sleeper couch. Large ceiling to floor sliding doors open to a spacious balcony with awesome vista of mountains. Balconies have very comfortable seating arrangements. For those who love their TV everywhere, let us just add that there is one in the lounge but not the bedroom. For us it really did not matter so much! The bedroom has a king size bed and can be converted into twins and that is an add on when you are either traveling with friends or kids!
Outdoors here are spectacular not only because the natural beauty of the place but also because of the thoughtful design and architecture of the Villas. Guests can laze in cocoon-like sunbeds on the pool deck overlooking the front lawn which is set in a large, beautiful garden that has been painstakingly designed to appeal to your aesthetic senses.
Cloud’s estate serves breakfast, lunch and dinner daily but the vegetarian option is almost zero and the choices are limited. The menus they maintain are seasonal, so the best part is that they use fresh and local ingredients. One of the biggest advantages of being a Cloud’s guest is that you get to sample the estate’s own wonderful wines.
If you fancy dining and exploring other places in Stellenbosch, then neighbouring Delaire Graff Estate and nearby Tokara are some of the best options available here. There are other very well-known local restaurants in the area. Several nearby country markets offer ready-prepared and fresh farm food which makes for great fun while tickling your taste buds.
Exploring Stellenbosch is not complete without a visit to Huguenot fine chocolates where you can take a tour of the factory. For the great love for cheese do indulge in goat’s cheese tasting at Fairview or see the Von Arnim champagne sabrage on a Saturday at Haute Cabriere in Franschoek. There are also these wonderful options for the outdoorsy people who love their picnics! Boschendal, Mont Rochelle and a number of other wine farms in the area let you pamper your love for those relaxed sojourns with the outdoors where you can spread a floor sheet and lay out a picnic basket while basking under the warmth. There are many bicycle tours available from Stellenbosch. I highly recommend the bicycle tour from Stellenbosch to Franschoek valley. Picnics are particularly recommended if you are venturing these areas during winter.
As the wines of cloud estate were not ready then for tasting, we tasted wine and learnt the process of its making at Delaire Graff spa and as a Cloud's guest we got complimentary transport to the venue by a golf cart.
Our wine Tour at Delaire Graff
Delaire Graff wines rank among the most prestigious in the Southern Hemisphere. The Estate sits on the slopes of the Botmaskop Mountain peak. Around 20 hectares of vineyards are planted with Bordeaux reds and Chardonnay pesticide-free grapes expertly tended by hand. We entered The Wine Lounge ---an elegant retreat to relax over a glass of Delaire Graff wine. Lacquered floors lead out to floor to ceiling windows making it a perfect place to relax. There is pretty terrace outside where you can sit, dine and wine. Though you would want to sit by side of crackling fire inside the lounge during winters.
We tasted a combination of rose, red and white wines as a part of the wine tour at Delaire Graff . Elegant whites include Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc, and the award-winning Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc blends with luscious grapes sourced from across South Africa.During the wine tour we saw lines and lines of wooden barrels wherein the wines were maturing.
Farewell……with a hope to return
We never felt the time running so fast and finally it was time to say good bye. We headed back to Cape Town after an incredible stay at premium and luxurious accommodation at Cloud's estate which was an uber stylish destination surrounded by magnificent views, a stay at Clouds is difficult to forget. We also took along the lovely memories of our tour and taste of those heavenly wines that are as lovely as the region they come from!
So what are you waiting for? Make your plans for Stellenbosch NOW! Do comment and let us know how you liked this post. We have an impressive list of such awesome little known places. We hope you have subscribed to our newsletters to get to know about such stunning places and to be the first know of our cool and exclusive offers straight in your inbox.WHAT?!! You haven't??? So subscribe RIGHT NOW,unless you like missing out on awesome stuff...