Ah, what a place to be: the Cape Winelands and Cape Town offer such a variety of things to do, taste and see, that it's hard to fit it all on to one page. We'll give it a try.
Round and about:
Stellenbosch, a leisurely 15-minute drive away and the nearest town to Hawksmoor House, is a place of great beauty and historical interest. The second-oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town, it is also one of the best preserved, with a mix of architectural styles, including Cape Dutch, Georgian, Regency and Victorian. Home to one of South Africas oldest universities, Stellenbosch is the Cape Winelands´ most interesting and lively town with numerous restaurants, bars, shops and galleries.
A drive to Franschhoek, 40 minutes away, takes you over the historic Helshoogte (Hell's Heights) pass, and through the breathtakingly beautiful Banghoek (Scared Corner) Valley, a route which just happens to be at the intersection of some of the best-known Cape Wine Routes. In Franschhoek you're spoilt for choice on restaurants, bars, shops and galleries.
Hawksmoor is set at the heart of the Cape Wine Routes: all around you, in every direction you look, there is wine. And it's waiting for you. Whether you choose to drive yourself, or we arrange a driver for you, there are few better ways to spend a couple of days, than wandering through the Cape Winelands, stopping in at earth-cool traditional cellars or at the newer, sophisticated architectural tasting rooms, to taste some of South Africa's best vintages and cultivars.
The bustling and beautiful city of Cape Town, 25 minutes away, offers all manner of entertainment and relaxation. Some of our favourite things to do are:
- Open-top Red Bus Tour: the best way to see Cape Town without having to worry about traffic or having a glass of wine at lunch, is the hop-on-hop-off red open top bus. See http://www.citysightseeing.co.za/ for info and to buy tickets online. The Red Tour goes around the city, the Blue Tour goes wider afield around the Pensinsula. The bus stops at (among others) the Cable Car, Camps Bay, The Mount Nelson & Company Gardens, and the V&A Waterfront. So if you catch a cab into town to one of the stops, or park your car at one of them, you can use the bus as your transport to see the best of Cape Town.
- The Table Mountain Cable Car: a once-in-a-lifetime experience awaits you. Remember to book your tickets online. They’re valid for seven days from date of purchase so you can pick your best weather opportunity. Go to http://tablemountain.net/
- The aquarium at the Waterfront has a wide variety of displays and is very family-friendly and accessible.
- The Cape Wheel at the Waterfront (our version of the Millenium Wheel) is a lovely experience too: see http://www.capewheel.co.za.
- The Planetarium just off Orange Street in town has great show programmes for all ages. You sit in a wonderful dome in recliner chairs and are given a tour of the southern hemisphere night skies, which is pretty wonderful for all ages. The air conditioning is nice in summer too! Just next door is the Museum.
- Camps Bay Beach has umbrellas and loungers for hire, and VERY COLD water, but is a great place to spend a sunny afternoon. Vendors sell ice creams and cold drinks, but there are also loads of cafes and good seafood restaurants just across the road.
- Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens are a delight for young and old alike: there are restaurants, shops and galleries at the entrance, and plenty of shady walks through these world-renowned gardens. From December to April, the Kirstenbosch Summer Concert Series brings an international and local musical programme to the gardens every Sunday evening: pack a picnic and enjoy a sunset and a bottle of wine while you listen to some great music.
- Kirstenbosch will also soon be opening a 150m long aerial walkway through the Arboretum, home to over 450 indigenous trees. The walkway, known as "The Boomslang", meaning Tree Snake, will curve its way through the forest, allowing visitors the chance to explore it from a 12m height. The walkway will be open to the public at the beginning of March 2014.
For guests that need a break from touring, tasting and people, Hawksmoor offers a tranquil retreat from the world, with a range of gentle activities to rejuvenate body and mind.
- In-room massage and beauty therapy: book an in-room pamper session for yourself and relax and enjoy the peaceful sounds of the farm while you treat yourself.
- Afternoon Tea: enjoy a cup of fresh tea or coffee, and a freshly-baked cake of the day, late afternoon.
- Cheese and meat platter: order a selection of fine local cheeses and excellent local charcuterie, to enjoy with a bottle of Hawksmoor wine, either on the verandah or on a picnic blanket out on the shady lawns.
- Whisky in the Drawing Room (this is a particular favourite of ours): Enjoy a "self-drive" journey through some of the premium whisky regions of Scotland and Ireland with our hand-picked selection of Single Malts and fine blends. Take your time, use our tasting notes, and choose your favourites, or enjoy one of our recommended Regional Tasting Journeys. Whether it's in the drawing room by the fire, or on the verandah to the sound of crickets, this journey can take some time, so be prepared to stay up late.
- Select a book from our library, take a towel and a cold drink, and retire to the pool for an afternoon of quiet meditation.
- Spend some time in our library and at the guest computer, researching your next day's activities. We're always happy to make suggestions and recommend our favourite wine tasting and restaurants, and will be glad to make reservations for you.
- Sit on your private verandah with our spectacular views and your thoughts.
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Just go there! This was our favourite guesthouse on our trip in South Africa. It really is the most beautiful place. I would return in a heartbeat.doll84, United Kingdom