African shoestrings – South Africa Day Thirty-nine – Stellenbosch wine route

What the Stumble Inn did have and what backpackers all have is plenty of information in the form of a notice board and flyers. The flyers were mostly from other backpackers and other forms of budget accommodation plus the odd restaurant and attraction or tour from all parts of Southern and Eastern Africa.
We even saw a flyer from a backpackers in England! This is really an excellent idea and a great way to pick up info whilst travelling. Some of the busiest places even have an ‘expert’ who can arrange almost everything for you, but most have people with enough knowledge to book tours and accommodation and guide visitors to local attractions.
We took advantage of this when we saw an ad on the notice board for a six day camping tour of the Kalahari called the “6 day Kalahari experience”. Neil booked it for us but we still had to wait for confirmation.

Of course for us the biggest attraction in Stellenbosch was the wine route. This is a route that you follow to 29 different wineries, if you’re up to it!
We decided to hire push bikes and just visit a few. Selecting the flattest route we enjoyed ourselves riding through the vineyards and stopping off at three different wineries.
Staff at all these places were friendly, informative and happy to give us some of their time. And even though I am unashamedly biased towards Australian wines, the wines were pretty good too, especially at a place called Jordon.
Most of these wineries had character white washed buildings of the dominant Cape Dutch style with an excellent backdrop of mountains and vines. The fourth and last winery, Spiers, was more like a theme park. Two restaurants, a café, conference and banquet centre, Cheetah Park and a deli from which we bought picnic supplies, made us forget that it was actually a winery. We sat around the lake and ate without a care in the world as we watched families enjoying the park like atmosphere in the warm sunshine.

All this tranquility and relaxation came to an abrupt end, when we discovered one of the bikes had a puncture. Somehow we had a feeling that a place like this wouldn’t have any facilities to repair punctures for tourists pleasantly warmed by the gentle sipping of wine.
We rang the Stumble Inn and Neil said he would come and pick up us. He had actually warned us about these giant thorns that are found in the grass. Even though we had been especially careful to avoid riding over grass, one little prick had created another bigger prick in the tyre!

Well every cloud has a silver lining. Whilst we were waiting we went on the Spiers cellar tour and tasting. Peter, our young host was very entertaining even though he had this annoying habit that’s crept into our society, of saying, “you’re welcome” after being thanked for answering a question.

We ended up waiting around for a fair bit of time after the tour before Neil picked us up and then charged us for the privilege!

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A small winery near Stellenbosch beneath the Stellenbosch Mountains

A small winery near Stellenbosch beneath the Stellenbosch Mountains

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