The popular 1970s John Denver song “Take me home, country roads” is definitely resonating with many South Africans at present as they ponder their plight under lockdown. How to get rid of cabin fever? It’s as easy as getting into your car and driving to the picturesque towns of Paarl (pictured above) and Wellington, the perfect destinations for a quick break, whether over a weekend or in the middle of the week. Within an hour’s drive from Cape Town, both are renowned for their gracious hospitality, unparalleled scenic beauty, wide open spaces and an array of tourism attractions.
The various wine estates, restaurants and other tourist attractions have enough space to comfortably allow social distancing, while product owners are highly aware of COVID protocols and promote strict adherence to the guidelines.
Couples, families and groups of friends will find loads to see and do.
FUN FOOD AND WINE EXPERIENCES
Food lovers can enjoy a variety of taste experiences, seasonal dishes served with award-winning wines and spectacular views that will ensure unforgettable culinary experiences. With offerings ranging from picnics and charcuterie platters to fine dining, visitors are spoilt for choice from farm-style breakfast settings to sunset or sundowners on classic wineland terraces. Most chefs support local producers and use seasonal produce to create a selection of mouth-watering menus ranging from classic country cuisine to creative, authentic South African dishes with an international flair.
Wine enthusiasts can explore an array of wine destinations, many of which will take travellers off the beaten track into the most beautiful valleys and mountain ranges that enclose the region. Be sure to stop at Fairview Cheese and Wine Estate which is without doubt one of the most iconic destinations in the Cape winelands with its goat tower and herd of goats – beloved by young and old.
Another family-friendly destination in Paarl is Perdeberg Cellar with ample space and something to appeal to the entire family with seating inside and outdoors, wine tastings for adults and tasting boxes for kids. Youngsters can play outside in the garden, while their parents enjoy a glass of wine or craft beer.
Tantalise your taste buds with the adventurous Five Senses pairing at Nederburg that offers a food and wine experience par excellence. For a relaxing ambience, Ridgeback Wines is the place to be with its lush garden, adjacent dam with flock of swans, terrace restaurant and a guesthouse on site should you like to extend your stay.
Heading out to Wellington, try Dunstone’s champion wines in the original wine cellar, country cuisine in their popular bistro and various accommodation options. For a trip to yesteryear, Bosman Family
Vineyards boasts a proud heritage spanning eight generations with a strong environmental and conservation background. Visit their 260-year-old cellar with its farm museum and barrel cellar and discover the legend behind the Afrikaans saying “stokkiesdraai,” which means playing hooky.
Experience true Boland hospitality at Imbuko and enjoy their famous tasting of gourmet pies paired with four wines from the Van Zijl range. The extensive wine list, delicious snacks, stunning views and child-friendly ambience ensures a fabulous visit. The home-made cabernet and pinotage grape jams are also worth a taste.
Lockdown has definitely created a new appreciation for the outdoors and the region offers several adventure-filled trips. Family-friendly destinations have ample space available, which makes social distancing easy. Explore the network of hiking and
cycling routes around Paarl and Wellington to experience the scenic beauty of the region. Several destinations offer exciting outdoor activities ranging from relaxed vineyard walks to longer hiking trails.
Mountain-bike enthusiasts should add Paarl Adventure Trails to their itinerary. This vast trail network connects the farms around Paarl mountain and can be accessed from Rhebokskloof, Spice Route and Knus Karoo Kombuis. Alternatively opt for the MTB Wild Boar Trails at Val du Charon outside Wellington to explore an entire network of trails for riders and runners.
Animal lovers must make time for a visit to Alpaca Loom (left). Feed the alpacas or get to know these cuddly animals during a guided tour to the alpaca shed with the owners. This affordable outing allows parents to relax in the coffee shop while keeping an eye on the kids in the play area.
Nature lovers will most certainly appreciate the beauty of the Bainskloof pass as well as the Hawekwa and Groenberg mountains outside Wellington. Add a visit to Rooshoek farm (right) to view buffalo, antelope, gemsbok, bontebok, feral pigs and other animals in their natural habitat during a two-hour game drive. The farm forms part of the renosterveld conservancy and teems with wildlife and diverse fynbos species.
Visitors are encouraged to download the Voicemap mobile app and go on self-guided heritage tours of both Paarl and Wellington. Discover the historic attractions of each destination, while an expert virtual guide relates interesting stories that capture the history and heritage of these enticing Boland towns. The voice guide is available free of charge in English, Afrikaans and German.
You might need more than a day to explore the region. Pop in at the local tourism information centres for recommendations on overnight facilities or find accommodation specials on the website. Contact +27 (0) 21 872 4842 or firstname.lastname@example.org and +27 (0) 21 864 1378 or email@example.com for more information. Visit the websites www.paarlonline.com and www.wellington.co.za or follow @Visit Paarl and @Visit Wellington ZA for the latest news and updates.