Africa Day Twelve: South African Beauty In The Wine Country.

Africa Day Twelve: South African Beauty In The Wine Country.

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One of my greatest enjoyments in life  is waking up in a strange bed in a foreign land. I awake with that sense of excitement and wonder that I had as a child, anticipating heading to explore  my new location.   We have been on a very tight schedule on this trip, and this allowed us to see so much of  Africa, but sometimes I just like to take my time and slowly investigate a new city. And this morning I had almost  two hours before we left for our tour.  So  I was off at sunrise. capetown-morning-walk-2

I  left our upscale residential neighborhood, nestled between Lion’s Head and Table Mountain  and headed toward  downtown Capetown,hoping to make it  to the

As I left the neighborhood traffic increased as did the appearances of commercial

And some interesting restaurants and cafes. . I love to eat, one of the reasons I walk so much, and would have loved to give this place a try. capetown-morning-walk-13

I walked through what  was once an older part of town and which has become a center for the Islamic population of Capetown. capetown-morning-walk-10

It was further to the downtown than I had anticipated  but I eventually made it to the towering office buildings, banks and a lot of new construction. capetown-morning-walk-20

Unfortunately, when I saw the sign for the waterfront, still a ways off, I had already walked almost 45 minutes and had to head back. capetown-morning-walk-23

It was still a great walk and I learned a lot about the city and it’s residents. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike.

After another delicious breakfast  we boarded our bus for a tour of the South African wine country and some of it’s famous wineries. We drove inland and soon left the suburbs of Capetown and into the rural areas of the  winelands and it’s  beautiful scenery. south-africa-wine-country-drive-7

Our first stop was at the famous Fairview Wine and Cheese, both a vineyard and a goat farm, where most of our group engaged  in wine  and cheese tasting.  I am not a big wine person, so I headed outdoors, along with a few birders, and explored the beautiful grounds. south-africa-fairview-winery-tour-7

I soon found the famous goat tower.south-africa-fairview-winery-tour-11

And some of it’s famous resident goats enjoying a view form the second floor. south-africa-fairview-winery-tour-19

I wasn’t able to locate much wildlife here but did enjoy the beautiful rose gardens and views of the distant mountains. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to the Fairview Wine and Cheese

We next drove to the Boschendal Estate. one of the oldest farms in South Africa, established in 1685, and now home to another famous winery. south-africa-boschendal-winery-2

I explored the beautiful old buildings, gardens and ancient trees, this time finding some local birds including this South African canary. Here is a link to some more photographs from our visit to this winery. south-africa-boschendal-winery-13

We next toured,  some of the quaint old towns of the region including Franschhoek  and Stellenbosch, home of one of South Africa’s best  universities. south-africa-wine-country-drive-19

There was so much to see, and again, as is always the case, so little time to see it all.  I wish I had time to explore the towns, and their parks, churches, stores and even cemeteries.south-africa-boschendal-winery-24

We stopped  for a truly lovely lunch at Clos Malverne, where I had one of the best fish chowders I  have ever tasted. south-africa-wine-country-drive-26

Our last stop was at the Neethingshof Estate   another old farming estate established in 1692 and now a fine winery. south-africa-neethlingsof-winery-7

Here we were given an extensive tour of the winery and the wine making process.  south-africa-neethlingsof-winery-10

It was very interesting to see how much is involved in the  process and to learn that American oak is one of the best woods for making the casks they are stored in. south-africa-neethlingsof-winery-13

Most of our group enjoyed tasting some  of the finished product, while a few of us enjoyed roaming the beautiful grounds and rose gardens.  Here is a link to some more photographs from our tour of the winery.

After our tour of this last winery we made our way back to Capetown, learning more about the history and culture of South Africa from our guide. We drove past some of the poorer areas were  dire poverty still exists.  From what I have learned there is a stark contrast in income and wealth distribution in this beautiful country.  We saw only the beauty on this visit. south-africa-wine-country-drive-39

As we approached Capetown we watched the weather change as a bank of clouds rolled in from the sea. south-africa-wine-country-drive-41

It rolled over the hills near our lodging as we ended our day of touring the wine country of South Africa. Here is a link to some more photographs of our drives throughout the day.

It was the last night of our adventure and my sister and I took a taxi down to explore the  Capetown waterfront and have a nice meal at the elegant  Baia Seafood Restaurant.  As always as the day ended, I was wishing there were a few more hours to explore this beautiful city and it’s history,  Here is a link to  a few more photographs from the waterfront.“Visit Cape Town and history is never far from your grasp. It lingers in the air, a scent on the breezy, an explanation of circumstance that shaped the Rainbow People. Stroll around the old downtown and it’s impossible not to be affected by the trials and tribulations of the struggle. But, in many ways, it is the sense of triumph in the face of such adversity that makes the experience all the more poignant.” ― Tahir Shahsouth-africa-capetown-waterfront-2