We spend a total of five days in the Franschhoek-Stellenbosch wine region, visit over 25 wineries and enjoy almost as many wine tastings. Of course, paired with excellent cheese platters, appetizers and complete menus. Although we have visited many wine regions worldwide, we have never seen such a density and variety of wineries. They present themselves in a wide range of styles: from the old Cape Dutch style to hypermodern concrete structures equipped with extravagant modern art. Size ranges from small family businesses, where the owners show visitors their owl in the tree, to huge infrastructure facilities with connected hotels, conference center and open-air stages. Also, the (price) levels and the positioning of the wineries differ extremely: from more down to earth to absolute high-end. We enjoy this diversity, are always curious what to expect next, and whether we fit with Shujaa through the sometimes narrow alley passages. Mostly we try to find an overnight place at the winery of our last wine tasting …. after four wine tastings a day you do not really want to go that far anymore.
After four intense days of Wining & Dining, we decide to head to the Cape Peninsula and Cape Town first and afterwards spend another day in the wine region …. we need a little “degustation break”.
Both during our trip to the Cape of Good Hope, the southwestern most point of Africa, and during our subsequent four days in Cape Town itself we have a wonderfully summer weather with temperatures well above 30°C: rather an exception for this region and especially at this time of the year. That’s why we do not have to worry about the weather when we visit Table Mountain😉. Time flies by and from day to day we like the city better: the combination of a unique location, great surroundings with sea and great beaches as well as the wine regions, good shops and restaurants and the nice and helpful South Africans is a unique combination. We enjoy our time here that much that we have decided – after having completed our trip around the world – to rent a house or apartment in Cape Town for a few months to experience the city even more intensively. We meet our overlander friends Daniela and Gregor from Berlin, whom we met in Zimbabwe (and who also rented a house in Cape Town at the end of their overlanding tour 😉), as well as a former colleague of mine. We do a bicycle tour to the Cote d’Azur like villages of Clifton and Camps Bay, visit the fascinating botanical garden Kistenbosch at the foot of Table Mountain and as part of a township visit also have a look at the darker, much less attractive side of Cape Town.
These already very poor townships with miserable living conditions suffer from permanent influx of other people, be it from the former Homelands Ciskei and Transkei on the Eastern Cape or from other African countries (Zimbabwe, Mozambique up to Nigeria and Niger). The resulting increased poverty and also unemployment but also the ethnic conflicts mean that the murder rate in Cape Town is now among the highest in the world and even the military, called to support the police, cannot really control the situation. In this respect, despite all the fascination and beauty of Cape Town, also this city is unfortunately representative of the extreme social differences and the resulting tensions that we have so obviously felt since our arrival in South Africa.