Adding a Wine-Estate Stay to Your SafariApril 26, 2021
By delicious coincidence, many of Africa’s most iconic safari destinations are in cork-tossing distance from its most spectacular wine regions. So it’s little wonder that many Micato travellers—especially those whose itineraries take them through South Africa—end up incorporating a pre- or post-safari sojourn at one of the country’s stunning boutique wine estates. Properties like those listed below aren’t just perfect places to prepare for or unwind after safari; they also produce some of the globe’s finest New World vintages. Cheers!
One of the most venerable wineries in South Africa’s Western Cape, Babylonstoren sits at the foot of ruggedly beautiful Simonsberg mountains. The roughly 500-acre estate, which planted its first grapevines in the early 1700s, now produces 13 varietals ranging from crisp, refreshing Viognier and Chenin Blanc to robust Shiraz and Bordeaux blends. These can be enjoyed in the property’s sleek modern tasting room, on guided tours of its expansive cellars, or at its haute farm-to-table restaurant (which uses produce almost exclusively harvested from the onsite vegetable and fruit gardens). Accommodations here—which include suites in a historic farmhouse, and a collection of private cottages—all combine exterior whitewashed rusticity with luxuriously updated interiors.
Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek
Though its history dates back more than three centuries (and once had the distinction of being owned by South Africa’s first Black vintner), Mont Rochelle’s 100-acre wine estate achieved new cachet in 2014, when it was bought by Sir Richard Branson. As well as completely refurbishing the property’s historic buildings—including the handsome thatch-roofed manor housing 22 plush, modernized suites; two casual-chic restaurants; and a 150-year-old wine cellar where fine Chardonnay, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon are produced—Branson added opulent amenities like a spa, tennis court, and swimming pool. In keeping with his commitment to sustainability, he also incorporated an array of conservation and community outreach initiatives at the property, like the development of child care and job-skills training programs for local families.
Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch
Another long-lived estate recently rejuvenated by a glamorous new owner, Delaire Graff’s 100 Edenic acres are overlooked by the dazzling peaks of the Stellenbosch mountains. The property, whose viticulture dates to the late 1600s, was acquired in 2003 by renowned British jeweler Laurence Graff, who polished it into the gem it is today: A collection of sumptuous private villas, each with its own terrace plunge pool, set amid flowering, sculpture-punctuated gardens. The estate also has two refined restaurants, a decadent spa, a tasting lounge, and a cluster of upscale boutiques—all with views over the surrounding vineyards, where the label’s award-winning Cabernet Francs, Chardonnays, and sparkling rosés are produced.
La Residence, Franschhoek
Occupying 30 lovingly tended acres of Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines, plum orchards, and olive groves, La Residence sits nestled in a slice of the Franschhoek that offers mountain views in every direction. The 11 spacious, opulent suites here are all individually decorated with antique furnishings, lavish textiles, and works of art from both South Africa and far-flung parts of the world. Tempting though it may be to linger in these nests, the rest of the property beckons, with its guided vineyard tours, sun-washed infinity pools, and two gourmet restaurants—including the refined, chandelier-bedecked Great Hall, and the alfresco Loggia where afternoon tea is a time-honored tradition.
If your appetite to visit some of Africa’s most glamorous wine estates feels whetted, let us help. A Micato safari expert can arrange for a variety of wine-country experiences as part of your safari itinerary. Request the Micato Safaris brochure and contact a safari specialist to start planning today!