Cycling through vineyards in Cape Town

Neat rows of vines spanned the valley for miles. They were home to bright green bunches of grapes. Behind the carefully cultivated crop, Cape Town’s mountains jutted out into the blue sky. The landscape was aesthetically pleasing. It showed nature next to commerce.

The critical part of me focused on what this monoculture crop would be doing to the environment, all to feed our desire to drink fancy wine. Around 872 gallons of water is needed to produce one gallon of wine. When South Africa is water scarse already, should proving alcohol be a priority? What’s more, are pesticides being used and are they entering the water ways, affecting local ecology?

We later learnt that one vineyard Vergenoegd Löw Wine Estate, uses 1,000 ducks to ward away pests and no chemicals. You can watch the duck parade if you so wish. This made me feel hopeful.

In addition, the vineyards in Cape Town contribute positively to the country’s GDP. They provide not only jobs to 300,000 South Africans but also enjoyment to visitors and locals. Visiting the vineyards in the countryside highlights Cape Town’s beauty.

We were on a red city sightseeing bus to the vineyards. It was a hop on, hop off service so we could choose which vineyards we wanted to visit.

The first one we checked out was Allee Bleue. It was extremely peaceful sitting a watching the birds swoop down into the trees. A kind gentlemen explained to us about the different types of wines there and provided some to taste if you wanted to. They had a multi-award winning Shiraz which they were well known for. We had a wander around their land before getting back on the bus to the next vineyard.

At Boschendal vineyard we walked through the premises for twenty minutes and found a bike hire. Costing 100 rands or £5 we were free to peddle through the vineyard. There was a well signposted trail for us to enjoy. It was fantastic. The sandy track took us through the vegetable garden, along the vineyards and past horses and pigs. Cycling in the shade under trees we could see the dramatic mountains directly infront of us.

We passed farmers sheltering under trees for their lunch break. They waved as we whizzed past. Towards the end of our trail there was a wooden bridge to navigate across.

On returning the bikes we had a wander around the farm shop – selling not just wine but fresh fruit and vegetables, meat and organic toiletries. The picnic area was home to swings hanging from the vines. These were great fun.

Boschendal have invested in eliminating the number of alien plant species on their land. They have also implemented efficient irrigation systems to limit the amount of water used.

It was then time to board the bus once more. Our bus dropped us off at a tram stop. We boarded the tram, enjoying yet more spectacular views.

We chose to explore Babylonstoren vineyard, where there were extensive gardens.

Symetrical wooden structures had been built in the middle of paths. These were pleasing to the eye.

There were various trees dotted around the edge of the garden which we clambered up. One even had a wooden egg seat. It was precariously balanced between two branches that didn’t look that strong. Nonetheless it held my weight.

The vineyard also had a scent room where various health and skin products were sold. The shop smelt gorgeous. With lavender essential oils and caramel body butters to purchase, it was all extremely tempting. With too much choice, I ended up buying nothing.

It was then time to return to Cape Town. We had a wonderful day visiting vineyards and taking in the stunning scenery.

For dinner we went to an Ethiopian restaurant named Addis Cape Town. We shared various vegan curries with injera bread. It was delicious.

Before falling asleep we practised acroyoga. It was a relaxing end to a chilled day.

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