First stop were four original houses, oldest one being Schreuder House of 1709. Plenty of bibles and the odd firearm says it all. The docent in the above photo is wearing period costume and gave a good overview of the early settlers. I must have been taught this during my schooling but history and especially Afrikaaner history did not interest me at the time. How times change.
On to the main purpose of our excursion into the vineyard laden mountain slopes. We had ordered a picnic lunch basket to be consumed under the old oaks. Monday was not their busy day and there was only one other like minded couple to share the lawns with – nice.
Had a tasting in the Delheim cellars, one of my old favorites, and their wines did not disappoint.
Next day I told Rose we’d go for a short morning walk and headed out to Jonkershoek Reserve at the end of the valley. Our WildCard got us in but the gatekeeper asked if it was our first visit and suggested the waterfalls hike, 3 hours round trip. I asked about the Panorama Trail but he said we should come back another time for that as it was a 6 hours hike.
Set off and soon started gaining altitude as the path entered a small gorge. Signpost said waterfall #2, must have missed the sidetrip to #1 a while back. Clock said 1 hr so I said lets go for the Panorama version which takes off from here up a steep gully called “Kurktrekker” or Cork Screw.
Aptly named as the messy path curled it’s way up and out onto a saddle.
Route back to the car was hot and longer that I had guessed, took us 5.5 hours, pretty close to the gatekeepers estimate but longer than Andre’s morning walk
A short drive outside Stellenbosch is Franschoek (French Corner) and the French Huguenot Monument, another place I never visited in my early days. Escaping religious persecution in Europe during the 17th century a small number made their new home here. The woman in the monument had a bible in one hand and a broken chain in the other. Religious freedom and casting off her oppressors. They were quickly assimilated into the Dutch society and all that remains are farms named after regions in France.
Did a complete lucky dip for the next winery and picked La Bourgogne just outside Franschoek. There was a gate and a key pad at the entrance but we just coat tailed through the car in front. Walked around to the tasting area and we were in. Had a nice cheese & meats plate to complement the wine and starve off the hunger pains.
Next day we walked over to Stark-Conde and they have a unique tasting island amid a large pond. Very mellow indead and we came back the next morning for breakfast at their little cafe.
Wanted to go back to Delheim but Muratie is on the way. You have to drive through Muratie to get to Delheim. Muratie is one of those classic old farms that don’t change. The entrance makes you feel you are in a museum, which you are, and the wines tasted the same as they were 35 years ago when I last visited.
Last day we visited Eikendal and a very commercialized Spier on our way home to my brothers house.
Wednesday afternoon we get invited to hike with a bunch of folk that just love the mountain. Pete has been all over it and takes us from Tafelberg Road, up to the saddle between Devils Peak and Table Mountain proper, over to the Pulpit, out to Oppelskop and back down again. Wind blew like hell. Lift one foot up to take a step and if a gust hits you you’re off the path. A stiff southeaster as the locals will say.
Afterwards it was pizza and wine -a really great bunch of people (and dogs) and Rose & I thoroughly enjoyed it.