The owners are very hands-on, and the lodge and
surrounding buildings have been decorated in a very
stylish manner. In the grounds is their own recently planted
vineyard. The environment encourages long walks and is
a paradise for bird and nature lovers, as well as being a really
The final leg of our trip took us through some breathtaking
scenery, taking us several thousand feet up virtually into the
clouds through the Franschhoek Pass to the Cape Winelands.
Like many of the towns we visited, Franschhoek has just one
main street. Here there is a conglomeration of the most stylish
shops that we had come across with prices to match.
As well as spending your time visiting the numerous
vineyards for which the area is famous, there are also some
excellent restaurants. The better and most popular ones do,
however, need to be booked in advance. Several of the
vineyards also have their own restaurant. The one we tried,
Haute CabriŤre Cellar was very good. Food is paired with a
suitable wine, available by the glass as well as the bottle, with
the total menu offered in both small and normal size portions.
Crime is rife, particularly in the cities, and it is important
to constantly have your wits about you. Taxis, as we know
them, are called cabs and can be quite expensive. However,
drivers will also quote a price and not put on their meters.
Taxis are mini-buses which are shared with other people,
usually going to a determined destination.
The country is vast, and although the roads are well
maintained, they are not, in some areas, as wide as they need
to be which can result, if driving, in being stuck behind a
truck without being able to pass it. If you hire a car, it is worth
remembering to have cash with you to buy petrol as this is
one of the only times when you canít use a credit card.
The good news, however, is that the cost of petrol is about
half that in the UK, and they also drive on the left-hand side
of the road. Your driving licence, however, does need to
include a photograph. Also, make sure, when you take the
vehicle, that any scratches and dents are noted and that on
returning the car that the body work is checked, and you
have a receipt to this effect.
Otherwise, you may find that your credit card is debited
for things that you were not aware of. This, unfortunately,
applies in whatever country you visit. Smoking is still
acceptable in lots of places although some restaurants have
separate areas for smokers.
Flying time is approximately 11 hours non-stop, but as the
country is in the southern hemisphere there is very little time
difference, so you donít have to worry about jet lag. Having
said that, you are still spending a lot of time travelling, and
might need an early night when you arrive!
Natasha Blair travelled courtesy of Africa Pride.|
Tel. 01904 781 500; www.african-pride.co.uk
Heathrow Express: 0845 600 1515; www.heathrowexpress.com
Vineyards in the
Hex River Valley
Web site created by Mark Griffin