Sample award-winning wines, play some of the finest golf courses on the planet and watch the big five roam in the wild. No golf trip can come close to South Africa’s sensational offering.
Centered around Cape Town, the country’s legislative capital and one of the most spectacular cities on the planet, golfers can opt for a range of wine routes, each of which encompasses South Africa's extraordinary natural beauty and of course, championship golf. We take you on a tour of the best golf and wine destinations in South Africa.
Venture inland from Cape Town and you will find some of the world’s most beautiful winelands. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl form the backbone of the wine route and in each region, you will find dozens of wine and grape producers. From Savignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc to Shiraz and Pinotage the Western Cape produces some of the finest, and most affordable, wine on the planet, all of which can be enjoyed while soaking up the breath-taking setting.
Stellenbosch is located 45 minutes east of Cape Town and is known as ground zero of the South African wine industry. Surrounded by beautiful mountains, the area is home to more than 150 wine farms and estates as well as a collection of fantastic courses. The town itself is a thriving university hub filled with gorgeous Cape Dutch architecture, a huge array of restaurants and some fantastic nearby courses.
The wine tasting itself is unparalleled, with signature varietals like Pinotage and Chenin Blanc, as well as a variety of other quality wines to enjoy, all at South Africa's notoriously affordable prices. You can find them all on the wine list at Ernie Els’ classy restaurant, the Big Easy, which is nestled among the quirky architecture on South Africa’s second oldest road, the oak tree-lined Dorp Street, once the ‘wagon road to the Cape.’
Meanwhile, golfers are spoilt for choice. From the century-old Stellenbosch Golf Club, a gorgeous layout situated at the foot of the majestic Helderberg Mountains, to the Gary Player designed Erinvale Golf Club, which affords fabulous views of False Bay and the Hottentots Holland mountain range. Erinvale is also home to a luxurious hotel, set in a tranquil spot amid private gardens and beautiful oak trees, just 40 minutes from Cape Town. From the spectacular offering at Lanzerac Wine Estate to the relaxed setting at the Spier Hotel & Wine Farm, there is a huge selection of accommodation establishments matching all budgets and tastes.
Travel a little further along the beautiful Garden Route and you will find some of South Africa’s best golf, including the three fabulous courses at Fancourt, Ernie Els’s Oubaai Golf Club and the breathtaking Peter Matkovich/Darren Clarke-design at Pinnacle Point.
Nestled between towering mountains in the beautiful Cape winelands lies the magnificent Franschhoek Valley. This is the food and wine heartland of the country, where splendid wines are grown and top chefs create international cuisine. The fertile Franschhoek Wine Valley is home to some of South Africa’s noble cultivars and classic styles. These range from superb whites such as Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Semillon and Chenin Blanc, to full-bodied reds.
Where ever you travel in the valley you will find exceptional food and hospitable wineries. Akkerdal Wine Estate an artisan winery, Bellingham Winery a unique estate that can date its history back to 1693 and GlenWood, a small winery located in an area of outstanding natural beauty, are among the most visit wine estates in Franschhoek.
The third oldest settlement in South Africa, Paarl can date its history back to 1687 and has a wealth of cultural and historical attractions. Set amid the bountiful nature reserves of the Drakenstein Valley, the Paarl Wine Route is one of the country's oldest wine routes and is known for its rich, full-bodied, spicy red and crisp white wines. The region is particularly regarded for the quality of its Shiraz. With a wealth of award-winning farms, Paarl is a great choice on a visit to the Cape Winelands, especially when paired with a round at the Jack Nicklaus signature course at Pearl Valley Golf Estate.
Just outside Paarl is the Drakenstein Prison, where Nelson Mandela spent his last years of captivity and from which he completed his “long walk to freedom”.
Established in 1692, Spier is one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms. Today, Spier Hotel & Wine Farm is an award-winning eco-friendly establishment, boasting 153 rooms in village-style buildings, clustered around six courtyards. An award-winning restaurant is coupled with Spier's fabulous collection of wines for an indulgant and relaxing stay.
Designed by Gary Player and host to the 1996 IGA World Cup of Golf, the Erinvale Golf Course is thought of as one of the best courses in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Situated at the foot of the Helderberg Mountains, it has spectacular views of False Bay and the Hottentots Holland mountain range in the east.
The Franschhoek Wine Tram hop-on hop-off tour encompasses picturesque vineyards, breath-taking scenery and world-class cuisine. Passengers aboard the hop-on hop-off tour will experience a unique way to see some of South Africa’s most distinguished wine estates, including Mont Rochelle, Rickety Bridge and Babylonstoren.
Cooled by Atlantic breezes, carpeted in vineyards and folded in the arms of velvet Fynbos Mountains, this wine paradise near the beautiful coastal town of Hermanus, just 90 minutes from Cape Town, is considered by many to produce the best cool-climate wines in the world.
The Hermanus Wine Route has, over the past few years, become recognised as a destination for wine and food enthusiasts, especially of Burgundy-style pinot noirs and chardonnays.
Hemel-en-Aarde (meaning "Heaven and Earth" in Afrikaans) is an area of 15 wineries in the Walker Bay Wine Region that rises from behind the coastal village of Hermanus. Its terroir – clay soil and the cool south-easter that acts as a vortex, cooling down the vineyards with cold air from the Benguela current – imparts a unique flavour to wines, which are often compared with those of Burgundy.
The Marine Hermanus is a spectacular clifftop hotel overlooking Walker Bay in the Western Cape's Overberg region. As well as being an unforgettable place to make the most of the area's golf and wine-tasting opportunities, the hotel is also the ultimate location for whale watching during whale season. Great to combine with the fabulous Arabella Golf Club.
The Arabella Western Cape Hotel & Spa 5* is not only one of South Africa's most luxurious properties but also boasts a course consistently ranked among the top layouts in the country. Situated in the heart of the Kogelberg Biosphere, Arabella was designed by Peter Matkovich and is popular with the likes of Ernie Els and Gary Player.
Each winery in Hemel-en-Aarde produces small amounts of highly individual, terroir-driven wines. Situated on a 20km-long meandering route rich with vineyards, wine estates, restaurants, is Pinot noir and Chardonnay specialists Hamilton Russell Vineyards, a fantastic estate set behind the old fishing village of Hermanus.
The Constantia Valley, which sprawls prettily up and down the slopes of Table Mountain, is the historical hub of the South African wine industry. Situated 18km from the city centre it is the closest wine experience for visitors to Cape Town.
Constantia has nine wine estates open to the public. The architecture ranges from classic Cape Dutch to ultra-modern glass and rock, all affording green views of endless vines, and from the higher slopes, a glimpse of the ocean and the hint of the sea breezes that play an important role in the growth of the grapes.
There also several fantastic golf courses in the region including Steenberg Golf Estate, Royal Cape Golf Club, Westlake Golf Club and Clovelly Golf Club.
The Vineyard Hotel is a charming retreat set at the eastern foot of Table Mountain. Nestled on an eco-award winning riverside estate, the tranquil resort is just a short drive from the city and Cape Town International Airport, as well as a number of championship courses. Close to numerous vineyards.
Home to one of South Africa's finest layouts, Steenberg is a must-play on a visit to the region. The course forms part of a historic estate, that includes a luxury hotel and wine-tasting experience. Many of the holes carve their way through the vineyard and take in a variety of wetlands, parkland and heathland.
Visit the wine and sushi bar set at Beau Constantia high up on the slopes of Table Mountain. The modern glass structure known by the locals as “the fish bowl” is not to be missed. The tasting room is adjacent to the fish bowl and the sea views from there might distract you from the wines.