Wine, whales and wilderness with a capital W, Knysna, South Africa

By Christy Collins

September 1, 2010

Category: Uncategorized

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Today is Mum’s birthday and I have the feeling I’m on my way home. South Africa, or at least the part we’ve seen so far, is stunningly beautiful and reminds me so much of home that I almost feel I’m there. And that is part of the function of this trip: transition.

The wine country around the Cape is beautiful and chock-a-block (as we used to say) with good, and very affordable wine. Highlights include:

  • The day we left Cape Town we lunched on the terrace with a view back towards Table Mountain at Seidelberg in Paarl.
  • In Franschhoek we visited a cellar built inside the mountain at Cabriere; tasted reds around the open fire at Rickety Bridge; had lunch while the owner changed our tire at Dieu Donne; and sipped whites under the trees at Boschendal.
  • In Stellenbosch we gaped at the view while the lovely Margot brought us wine and fresh bread with hummus at Delaire Graff Estate.

And after that the boot was full and our wallets empty so we decided to tear ourselves away from the wine farms to go whale watching in Hermanus.  

The whales had waited for us: as soon as we finished lunch, several began leaping up out of the water, to the delight of the tourists gathered on the rocks. We celebrated our good fortune with gelati before pushing on to Swellendam where Mr. K and I stayed in a little hut with only a kerosene lamp for light which was brilliant (and right in our price range!)

Yesterday we hiked a little in the National Park at Wilderness. It’s the off season so we pretty much had the place to ourselves. The GPS function on my camera reported that we were in “Eden” and the late afternoon sun and the still water of the estuary below the ochre gorge had me pretty much believing it.

Mr. K wanted to try the oysters when we arrived in Knysna so we dredged out our backpack’s finest threads and headed to the waterfront for sparkling wine and appetizers before returning to the hotel for cheese, chutney and a Delaire chardonnay followed by a dessert wine from Rickety bridge (almost as delicious as the young man who served us there. Ladies: highly recommended).

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