Cape wine farms with hiking trails

Diversity is in our nature. This isn’t mere lip service; the Cape winelands are located in the heart of the Cape Floral Kingdom, a world heritage site that’s home to some 10 000 plant species (more than are found in the whole of the northern hemisphere), 70 percent of which are endemic.

Add to this ancient soils and a landscape positively littered with mountain ranges and the result is a unique and prolific biodiversity.

Spring – though every season has its own floral displays – is a particularly special time to experience our nature in technicolour. And what better way to do it than to on a wine farms, where you can enjoy wines grown on these soils too?

La Motte
La Motte is set in a bowl of mountains in the Franschhoek valley, with its property running onto the mountainside. La Motte has pledged to ‘the highest conservation and biodiversity standards and the protection of precious indigenous flora and fauna’. The official hike is circular route, which offers ‘abundant birdlife, a protea garden, sustainably farmed vineyards, a wealth of flora, resident mammals and reptiles and the breath-taking vistas of the Franschhoek valley’. The five-kilometre hike starts at the La Motte tasting room.

Thelema
Situated at the top of the Helshoogte Pass, Thelema Mountain Vineyards ranges between 370 to 640 metres above sea level. This six-hour hike begins at Thelema, where you walk up past the vineyards en route to the large dam; from here the trail starts at a footpath marked by a cairn which leads up the Simonsberg mountain. Hikers will experience diverse fynbos, kloofs with waterfalls, as well as staggering views of Pniel, the vineyards and distant Cape Point, Table Mountain and the Franschhoek mountains. The Hottentots Holland mountain range can be seen from the summit. After your trek, wind your way down to enjoy some well-deserved Thelema wines.Photo from www.bonneesperance.com

Zevenwacht

There’s a 14-kilometre route here, which you can make use of in any way you choose: from hiking to mountain biking and trail running. Explore the slopes of the Rheebokrand Hills, which are a hotspot for the rare and protected Renosterveld fynbos. The route also includes trails through the vineyards, a MTB single track and spectacular views of Cape Town. For a more leisurely experience, take a stroll in the forest. After getting some of that necessary fresh air, head back for a picnic at the dam paired with Zevenwacht’s wines.

Lourensford

This wine estate offers a number of trails up the mountains, crossing the Lourens River and over rocky mountain parts. Hikers can expect sea and mountain views. Keep updated for the regular full moon hikes too. There are also mountain bike and trail running routes, with a selection of one-day experiences for all fitness levels. After taking in the beauty stitched around this property, take advantage of the fine wine and food on offer too.

The Green Mountain Eco Route

The Green Mountain Eco Route is the world’s first biodiversity wine route. The route falls within the Groenland Mountain Conservancy, in the greater Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve, and encompasses Botrivier, Elgin Valley, Grabouw, the Houwhoek mountains and Villiersdorp. Experience the pristine fynbos and spectacular views with a hiking trail in the mountains. Make sure to make time to stop at one of the cool-climate wine cellars for a tasting. There are mountain biking trails too.

Photo from www.sa-venues.com

The Wellington Wine Walk

Now for something completely different. There are three options for this experience, which take place either over three or four days, and include everything from wine tasting to walking through buchu farms, and many hiking trails through the valley’s wine farms. On each wine walk there are two guides to show you the way as well as to impart their local knowledge. Baggage is transported to each overnight stop ahead of the walk.

Offering incredible biodiversity literally on their doorstep, there are numerous walks in and around the wine farms of the Cape; all you need to do is put on your walking shoes and come explore.

– Malu Lambert