Ultimate Food and Wine Tour of South Africa

A 8 day trip to South Africa 
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Rare game meats barbecued over a wood fire, 17th-century vineyards displaying private cellars, decadent restaurants combining French and African styles; this charming tour celebrates the very best of South African food and wine. From farmers’ markets to microbreweries, hidden secrets to distinctive wine valleys, you immerse your senses on an 8-day journey through all the local flavors. It features the country’s best restaurants and each day is privately guided for an exclusive and engaging experience.

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General Information

Photos
Table Mountain at sunset.
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Cape Town, Table Mountain, Constantia, Woodstock, V & A Waterfront, Biscuit Mill, Gugulethu, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Franschhoek

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Cape Town – Dinner at Test Kitchen

Touch down in Cape Town, and the clear ocean air immediately unblocks your senses. Every evening, the wind rolls over the mountain, clearing the atmosphere so that the sky will shine deep blue tomorrow. This might be a large, vibrant city, but it’s nature that always dominates. Table Mountain stands imperious, Atlantic Ocean waves roll against white beaches, and there’s always a sublime view to enjoy. You’ll be greeted at the airport by your private guide and transferred to a five-star hotel at the V & A Waterfront. With its many bars and markets, yet easy harbor-side charm, the pedestrianized area around your hotel is ideal for downtime after the culinary tours.

After a relaxed afternoon, you head out to Woodstock and a gourmet tasting menu at The Test Kitchen, widely regarded as the best restaurant in Africa. It ranks number 22 on The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, up six places from 2015 and still the only entry from Africa. It’s also won South Africa’s EatOut Restaurant of the Year every year since 2013. Experimental molecular cooking mixes with a plethora of traditional local flavors, creating a menu that changes with the seasons. Picture smoked seabass with celeriac extraction, frozen turnip and mustard, and lime compressed apple; local licorice-cured wagyu biltong, cauliflower and truffle cheese black garlic salsa. The menu comes with a wine pairing, taking you through nine exceptional small courses, each tailored to build upon the lingering flavors of the last.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, transfer, dinner reservation at The Test Kitchen

Day 2: Cape Town – Table Mountain’s Secret: The Vineyards of Constantia

Table Mountain stands imperious in the morning light, its vertical slope stretching over a kilometer above the ocean. Few people head up here in the morning hours, yet it’s when the views are at their most exquisite. Gaze down the tip of Africa, across two oceans, and over the bay to Robben Island. After taking the cable car up and down, you’ll spend the rest of the day exploring the hidden side to the mountain. The back slopes are draped with vines and 17th-century vineyards, which go mostly unseen by international visitors. Even after three centuries, they prefer to keep their produce small and local.

Start at Constantia Glen, where a cheese and charcuterie platter is mixed with the vineyard’s red blends. Then continue along the slopes to Klein Constantia, the most revered of all the Constantia vineyards. One of the winemakers takes you through the tasting, leading up to a dessert wine that was in Platter’s top ten wines of the world. Then spend a leisurely afternoon at Steenberg, a historical vineyard that’s taken a new-world approach to production. If there’s time, the Constantia wine route has another eight vineyards to explore, all with stunning views of the city. After a relaxed few hours back at the hotel, you have a dinner reservation at Kloof Street House, a decadent restaurant that’s all about great food and a vibrant boutique atmosphere; their thick-cut steaks are considered amongst the best in the country.

What’s Included: accommodation, Constantia wine tasting, breakfast, lunch

Day 3: Cape Town – The Craft Brewery Revolution

Scroll back 20 years, and the pioneers of African beer were found in Namibia, a former German colony. Using the techniques of 19th-century Europe, this was the only country where beer didn’t come in the form of underfunded local efforts or multinational conglomerates. That has changed. Cape Town has become the hub of a craft brewery revolution, with microbreweries evolving into major rivals to traditional brands like Castle and Black Label. There’s a staggering amount of choice, with over 50 breweries found within an hour of Cape Town. Today’s tour explores the best of these, with the brewers guiding you through the tasting.

Devil’s Peak Brewery is an obvious place to start. It’s been the most successful in pushing craft beer into the mainstream market. Their tasting tray is all about classic styles crafted to perfection. Continue to Woodstock Brewery, where their tasters are always infused with the brewer’s quaint styles. You’ll start to experience the experimentation, in Indian Pale Ales, whiskey barrel matured stouts, and amber ales. Then continue to a microbrewery cooperative, where 16 small brewers share a single facility, each of them passionately producing something to try. There’s youth and vitality here, in both the beers and the tasting.

An interlude from the tasting comes at the Pot Luck Club, a spin-off restaurant from The Test Kitchen. Serving tapas on the eighth floor of a converted industrial building, with glorious views of Table Mountain, this restaurant has become Cape Town’s premier lunch spot. The menu has The Test Kitchen’s same attention to detail and innovation, including many variations of international classics; the ceviche tacos are in a different league. As with all the day’s tours, you have a private guide and the pace is very flexible. There are countless other microbreweries with tap rooms that can be visited, dependent on your mood.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, breakfast, lunch reservation at Pot Luck Club

Day 4: Cape Town – Flavors of the Township

South Africa is famous for its meat. The country’s staple are large chunks of fresh steak, straight from the farm, barbecued over a wood fire and combined with a spicy salsa (chakalaka). It’s filling, flavorful, and best experienced with the locals. After a relaxed morning, you’re taken to the township of Gugulethu, where the legendary Mzoli’s Grill is packed with locals and celebrities alike. Meat is purchased from the butcher, a range of steaks along with boerewors, thick traditional sausages. Rather than separated sausages, boerewors is a single circular roll that could weigh close to a kilo. Packed with the juiciest parts of a cow, it’s been a staple for three centuries.

The meat comes out on a platter, and you eat with plastic cutlery. This is no luxury restaurant, but rather a local hangout that celebrates the multiculturalism of modern South Africa. Mzoli’s is widely regarded as the best barbecue experience in a country that loves to barbecue. Except it’s not a barbecue, it’s a braai, a local term that reflects the method of cooking on hardwood coals. Return to Cape Town and the afternoon is at your leisure. The guide can take you anywhere in the city, perhaps the beach at Camps Bay, the markets of Long Street, or the fish market at Hout Bay. Complete the day with a tasting menu at Chef’s Warehouse, another one of Cape Town’s top five restaurants. It’s an informal affair following a set menu that changes every month.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, transfer, breakfast, lunch at Mzoli’s, dinner reservation at Chef’s Warehouse

Day 5: Stellenbosch – Schnapps, Chocolate, and the Wines of Paarl

Start today at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock, where a Farmers’ Market presents a wonderful choice of local produce. Taste chocolate that you can only find in Cape Town, try a decadent hot pork belly pie, sample all manner of sauces and preserves, and taste your way through farm-fresh biltong. With live music and a colorful atmosphere, this morning market has grown into the most loved Saturday hangout in Cape Town. From here you drive north, following the N1 to the vineyards of Paarl. The wines are rugged and full-bodied here, cultivated in a valley with challenging conditions. Winemakers must work hard, and that’s reflected in the wines they produce, particularly the Bordeaux-style blends.

These wines are the perfect complement to the flavors of an old farming region. At one farm, you’ll combine wine and cheese, and then at another you’ll pair the wines with local chocolate. Complete the tasting at The Spice Route, where multi award-winning schnapps is among the select tasters. With views stretching over the valley towards Cape Town, today’s vineyards help provide an eclectic overview of the Winelands’ grapes and flavors. This is very useful for the guide, who can plan the next two days of tasting based on your preferences. Your overnight accommodation is on a wine farm, where an opulent villa overlooks the vineyards and the sense of tranquility is absolute. Dinner at this wine estate is included and blends wonderfully well with the estate’s cellar.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, Paarl wine tasting, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 6: Stellenbosch – Expressive Wines of the Stellenbosch Valley

Stellenbosch is the celebrated centerpiece of the Cape Winelands. Vines have dominated the valley for hundreds of years, carpeting the lower slopes of dramatic granite peaks. On a clear day, you sit on a vineyard’s terrace and can gaze out all the way to Table Mountain. On any day, you’ve got a choice of well over 100 vineyards. Tours aren’t fixed in this part of the world. With so much choice, the expert guide will base the day’s itinerary on your tastes. For bubbles, head to Villiera, where their Method Club Classique is the finest in the country. Shiraz grows wonderfully well on the graveled slopes of Hartenburg. For a journey through South Africa’s local grape, Pinotage, there’s no better experience than the winemaker leading a tasting journey at De Waal.

Stellenbosch has five distinctive wine areas, and it’s always nice to explore the differences. Stellenbosch Berg is all about crisp whites and opulent red blends. Greater Simonsberg is where swanky wine farms create some of South Africa’s flagship bottles. The verdant slopes of Bottelary Hills provide unusual terroir for vineyards that aren’t open to the public; of course, your guide will be able to gain access to the finest private cellars here. With a few days in the Cape Winelands, the South African style is to follow your nose. Enjoying the Cape blends? The Helderberg has some exceptional offerings. Inspired by heavy red wines that will keep in a cellar for 20 years? Then you’ll have a tasting at Kanonkop. Lunch will be included and in fitting with the theme of the tour, will be at one of South Africa’s top ten restaurants.

What’s Included: accommodation, Stellenbosch wine tour, transfer, breakfast, lunch

Day 7: Stellenbosch – Old-World French Influence: The Franschhoek Valley

South Africa’s oldest town is dominated by whitewashed townhouses and flowing slopes of ancient vines. Franschhoek immediately immerses you in an old-world style, celebrating a bygone era through French-inspired restaurants and plush vineyards. The wines of this valley are unashamedly expensive, cultivated in the Burgundy style by a very choice picking of grapes and production. These are wines for a refined palate, offered from cellars that use first-fill French barrels and keep their bottles for years before release. Like yesterday, the itinerary will follow your taste buds.

After a relaxed day of tasting, you have a dinner reservation at Foliage, a restaurant that combines old-world European influence with the tantalizing tastes of Africa. Like the vineyards, you can appreciate how foreign influence has pervaded through Franschhoek. Yet everything is also distinctively African, celebrated through the beautiful vistas, welcoming atmosphere, and friendly smiles that greet every turn. The beauty of exploring South African food and wine is that it’s such a part of local culture. The places you visit aren’t for tourists; they’re where the locals go, where tastes are refined yet traditions go back for 300 years.

What’s Included: accommodation, tour, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner reservation at Foliage

Day 8: Stellenbosch to Cape Town – Departure

From your wine farm accommodation, it’s less than a 45-minute drive back to Cape Town International Airport and your departing flight. Enjoy a final breakfast overlooking the vines, perhaps with a glass of MCC, and then depart South Africa with a wonderful range of tastes still rolling around the palate.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Starting Price 

$3,195
This trip is customizable for your private travel.

What's Included 

  • Accommodations
  • In-country transportation
  • Some or all guided tours and activities (dependent on season)
  • Expert trip planning
  • 24x7 support during your trip
The starting price is based on travel during the low season for a minimum of two travelers staying in shared 3-star accommodations. Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates.