Updated: Sep 20
A Family Tour of the Garden Route
*Please note: all information is correct at the date of publication. See individual winery websites for up-to-date info!
Cape Winelands to Plett Winelands: Cape Town - Plettenberg Bay!
From Cape Town we followed the N1 through the Huguenot Tunnel leaving the Wellington & Paarl valley wineries behind us. As you leave the tunnel you find yourself in the midst of the beautiful Cape-fold Mountains, with dramatic rock faces and waterfalls, covered in proteas.
You then find yourself driving towards Worcester and the famous, old R62 road, which is the alternative route up the Garden Route through the Klein Karoo rather than the coastal route on the N2. We drove through the Robertson wine region, but unfortunately had no time to stop as we had to reach our first destination in Riversdale by night fall.
The Robertson region has a fantastic array of relaxed wineries to visit and produces great-value wine. It is well worth a trip for a weekend break from the city or a 2-day stop up the Garden Route.
Aan’t Vette Winery & De Doornkraal Vinotel
Our first stop up the Garden Route was at the four-star De Doornkraal Vinotel in Riversdale (the first Garden Route town when traveling from Cape Town). We stayed for two nights in a lovely two-bedroom family cottage on the edge of the estate’s single block of Syrah, which has yielded multiple award-winning wines, both red (Syrah) and blush (Syrah Blanc de Noir). The cottage also overlooks a tranquil dam. The experience was truly splendid, and it was a shame that we could not stay longer than two nights!
The estate is located on the banks of the Vette River on the edge of Riversdale and part of the recently established Eden Wine Route. The boutique De Doornkraal Vinotel on the estate is a multiple national and regional winner of the prestigious Lilizela Tourism Award. Its buildings, dating back to c.1746, have been carefully restored to preserve history while amplifying both luxury and charm.
The estate’s award-winning wines can be rewardingly paired in its Country Kitchen restaurant, which boasts a variety of authentic local delights (which, during our stay, included delicious Cape Malay curry, kudu loin and springbok sosaties). We indeed enjoyed a fantastic evening with a three-course dinner paired with various Aan’t Vette vintages.
With Riversdale only being 25 minutes away from the sea, we had no choice but to squeeze in a bit of beach fun for the ‘tots’ at Stilbaai on our way up the Garden Route! Stilbaai is a fantastic sea-side town at the mouth of the Aan’t Vette river with a gorgeous and safe blue-flag beach, perfect for families and young kids.
Have some time in Stilbaai? … Then be sure to stop at the incredible Inverroche Gin Distillery… one of the first craft gin distilleries to create gin infused with the local wild fynbos botanicals. They even do a blending experience where you can create your very own gin!
Next stop up the Garden Route is the seaside town of Plettenberg Bay, also known as the Jewel of the Garden of Eden, due to its stunning bay and beaches surrounded by old indigenous forest.
Plettenberg Bay – the Jewel of the Garden Route
Beacon Island Hotel
Our first stay was at the gorgeous Tsogo Beacon Island resort located on the water’s edge next to the main swimming beach. The absolute perfect family resort with hot pools inside and out, supervised kids’ activities and lifeguards in season. The kids just loved it and could not get enough of the pools!
Time to tour the Plett Winelands...
Kay & Monty
The first winery on our Plett Winelands tour was Kay & Monty. It was our first visit there, so we were excited to see what they have on offer.
It has a beautiful setting overlooking a lake and stunning horses. They happened to be setting up for a wedding that evening.
Popping our first bubbly at Kay & Monty Vineyards in the Plett Winelands – the splendid Blanc de Blanc MCC 2016.
We then continued with their full tasting, which also included their Sauvignon Blanc (the wine varietal that Plett Winelands is best appreciated for), a 2004 Shiraz, 2012 Tempranillo and their Big Red.
This while the kids entertained themselves playing Jenga and giant wooden dominoes.
We enjoyed a really lovely light tapas for lunch paired with their wines.
Plettenvale Wines was next on our list and also our first visit there.
We had a wonderful private tasting with the owner & winemaker, Gloria, from her intimate tasting room overlooking the hills and vineyards above Plettenberg Bay.
Plettenvale Wines has 6000 vines including Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, as well as the Syrah block. Due to drought and recent fires they have sadly had a decreased harvest. Gloria’s favourite wine is Rosé; therefore, she focuses on Rosé wine and MCC.
They have an absolutely delicious pink bubbly that is produced using an unusual clone, giving it a very unique taste.
After our tasting at Plettenvale Wines, we headed off to meet a friend for a light bite and sunset drink at the beachfront Bungalow.
They have a few wonderful suites on the beach and a family room as well as great sushi and casual food which is best enjoyed while watching the sunset glow over the beach.
T’Niqua Stable Inn
It was huge family fun taking a ride with the horses to the beautiful cliff edge with the Robberg Peninsula in the distance.
The T’Niqua Stable Inn has lovely tasteful wooden rooms and a couple of spacious family rooms with the kids’ quarters upstairs.
They have a pool and games, and they offer horse riding. The service and food are excellent, and the setting is stunning!
T’Niqua Stable Inn serve breakfast and fantastic 3-course dinners. We had such lovely dishes including a huge gorgeous artichoke starter, lamb chops, and local cob fish and basil mash plus loads of veg another evening. And lastly homemade desserts, all paired with Aan’t Vette wines, which we brought along.
Other Plettenberg Bay Restaurants visited:
Enrico Restaurant in Keurbooms
For dinner we went to Enrico, the famous seafood restaurant with a beautiful position and view on the edge of the beach in Keurbooms. For years they have had consistently fantastic Italian food! We paired fresh Kob and seafood linguini with a La Motte 2017 Millennium; and the kids spaghetti bolognese and Italian kisses. They also have an enclosed grass patch next to the restaurant for kids to play ball together. There are huge, fun rock formations for older kids to clamber on. I had to try keep the kids entertained on the beach and off the big rock (unlike last time!).
Another restaurant we visited during our stay was Nineteen89, which had a relaxed atmosphere and great food. The menu includes Thai curry, burgers and much more. The kids were also treated to free ice cream from the manager!
The Fat Fish
The last restaurant that we ate at was The Fat Fish, which is on the main beach near the Beacon Island. They have incredible décor- wood barrels on the ceiling, and superb food - awesome seafood curry, sushi and fresh fish! Just need to add some more local Plett Wine to their great South African wine list.
We enjoyed an excellent tapas and wine pairing at the restaurant after the rainstorm, followed by a fantastic private tasting at the wine tasting room with the managers. One of Bramon’s wines is the MCC 2015, which is a Sauvignon MCC with a Mexican pepper smell and is absolutely delicious! It is a lovely, fruity dry. They also have a Rosé that is 10% Pinot Noir and 90% Chardonnay with a light, tart, cherry taste.
(Winery to be featured further in Part 2)
22 Julia B&B
We also stayed at the charming 22 Julia B&B in Plettenberg. There one can appreciate South Africa’s beautiful diversity with stunning panoramic views overlooking Poortjies Lagoon and the ocean with the Tsitskamma Mountains as a backdrop. You will be treated with cosy rooms, friendly German hospitality and delicious breakfasts.
Please join us for Part 2!
Next up is Part 2 of our Family Tour of the Garden Route: Plett Winelands to the Cape Winelands! Join our adventure while we stay at the family-friendly glamping specialists AfriCamps Ingwe and Oakvalley, while wine tasting at Bramon and then stopping off at ReedValley and Baleia wineries on our way back to Cape Town and the beautiful Cape Winelands.
Tasting room operating times:
Inverroche Distillery: 10-4pm daily except Sunday 11am-4pm
Kay & Monty: 11am-4pm Tuesday-Sunday
Plettenvale Wines: 9am-6pm Monday-Friday; 9am-1pm Saturday & Sunday
Aan’t Vette Estate – tastings by appointment only (A bottle of wine can, however, be ordered at the Aan’t Vette Country kitchen.
Links to tasting room websites:
Links to accommodation websites:
Wineries on the Eden Wine Route (featured next up):