What is #Stellenblog, you ask?
Well, it’s the biggest digital campaign the winelands have ever seen. Four international bloggers; Norman Roehlig from Germany’s i-Ref, Matt Long from the USA’s LandLopers, Niamh Shields from the UK’s Eat Like A Girl and Keith Jenkins from the Netherlands-based travel blog Velvet Escape, are here to eat and drink their way through Stellenbosch. I’m one of the local bloggers, explore our own home with new eyes, along with Sarah Khan from The South AfriKhan and Ilse van der Merwe from The Food Fox.
Stellenbosch Wine Routes is showing us, and essentially the world, just why Stellenbosch is known as the wine & gourmet capital of South Africa.
Eat, Drink, Sleep, Repeat
Since Friday last week, we have been eating and drinking some of the best food in the country, if not the world, drinking some of the top wines being produced in South Africa and visiting some of the most beautiful places my eyes have ever seen.
I have not for one second felt even a slight hunger pang since we started the journey, as in true South African and Stellenbosch style, the Stellenbosch Wine Routes team is feeding us at every opportunity. Decadent buffet breakfasts, three/four/five course lunches and six/seven/eight course tasting menus for dinner…all paired with wine. I mean, can you imagine how much I am in my element right now?
First Stop, #visitOverberg
We spent last weekend exploring the gorgeous Overberg before #Stellenblog officially kicked off, and we managed to squeeze in several weeks worth of highlights into just two days!
The Marine Hotel
I’ve stayed at this beautiful Marine Hotel before, and have loved it ever since. The prime location (the last time I stayed here I could hear whales from my bedroom window!), friendly staff, stunning food and plush rooms make it the ultimate in Hermanus luxury. We kicked off our journey with a celebratory 6 course tasting menu and wine paring in their Pavillion Restaurant, a delicious indication of what was to come for the rest of the week. (PS. They’ve got a Pinot Noir vs Pinotage evening coming up that looks excellent! Book your ticket for the 9th of May)
What can I say about Grootbos that could put into words the exquisiteness of this place? I stayed with them last winter (read about my experience here) and I was really looking forward to visiting in the summer time. This time round there was no sign of rain and the day turned out to be just perfect in every way. We arrived to breakfast with a view before starting an action-packed itinerary, all of which was a surprise.
A beautiful beach walk on the pristine and untouched De Plaat beach, a visit to some of the Grootbos Foundation’s special projects (which I will talk more about in the near future), a three course lunch, a flight over Hermanus in a tiny plane where we spotted three Great White sharks and four pods of dolphins (!!!), a boat ride out to the world famous Shark Alley with Marine Dynamics (the only guys to use if you want to see Great Whites in South Africa and support ethical, responsible shark tourism and research), a flower safari to view indigenous fynbos, sundowners in the incredible Grootbos boma and an intimate six course dinner paired with local wines in their private cellar later, it was hard to believe that we had only spent 12 hours at Grootbos!
Grootbos offers all these activities and more (horse riding, boat based whale watching) to their guests and the property itself is something that you cannot afford to miss out on. Anyone visiting Cape Town should include Grootbos as a must-visit on their itinerary.
Lots more to come on these experiences, in the meantime, I just wanted to share a few pictures from my phone. If you want to catch up on everyone’s #Stellenblog feeds, find them all in one place here. You can also follow me on Twitter and Instagram for other stuff that I don’t post here.