Outside of Cape Town

By Alan Ramsay
This item appears on page 40 of the February 2019 issue.

A longtime resident of Cape Town, South Africa, I've been providing ITN readers with suggestions for places to visit (Jan. '19, pg. 45). Here are a few places farther from town.

• If you're in Stellenbosch, a university town 45 minutes east of Cape Town, I would recommend visiting the wine estates Cavalli (phone +27 21 855 3218, cavalli

stud.com), in the Helderberg region, and Glenelly (Lelie Street, Idas Valley, Stellenbosch; phone +27 21 809 6440, glenellyestate.com), the former with an art collection and rugby-memorabilia gallery and an excellent restaurant, the latter with a stunning collection of glassware and art dating from 100 BC to the present.

Franschhoek, a 1½-hour drive east of Cape Town, is also worth a visit, but make the visit a couple of days because there you will find a number of excellent wine estates and restaurants and good shopping, along with many historical places of the French Huguenots, who established the town.

• A wine-tasting experience and cellar restaurant that you should not miss is Haute Cabrière (Lambrechts Road, Franschhoek; phone +27 21 876 2630, www.cabriere.co.za), where the fare is superb, if expensive at over ZAR500 (near $35) per person. (Try the duckling matched with their Pinot Noir.) Note that the wine-tasting experience includes the opportunity to enjoy a selection of tapas, rather than a meal in the restaurant.

This venue offers wonderful views of the mountains across the valley. I'm a regular visitor, like, every month, if for no other reason than that I am a shareholder.

Here are some excellent places to stay.

• The 5-star La Petite Dauphine (Excelsior Road, Franschhoek; phone +27 21 876 3936, www.lapetite.co.za), just outside the town, has luxurious cottages, with rates ranging from ZAR3,000 to ZAR7,000 (near $208-$485) per night for two. (The rate can be higher for a single night but is negotiable in quiet times.) It's been more than a year since I stayed there, but it was worth every cent!

• The 4-star La Fontaine (21 Dirkie Uys St., Franschhoek, Cape Town, South Africa; phone +27 876 2112,www.lafontainefranschhoek.co.za), just off the busy main street in the centre of town, has large, comfortable rooms, recently extensively renovated. Rates for two run ZAR1,300-ZAR2,000, depending on the season. It's very well run, with an excellent breakfast, as I have found many times, most recently in late 2017.

Maison Chablis Bed & Breakfast (PO Box 574, 15 Berg St., Franschhoek 7690, Western Cape, South Africa; phone +27 [0] 21 876 2366, www.maisonchablis.co.za) is in the heart of Franschhoek's historical centre and within easy walking distance of the best restaurants in the charming village.

A recently added annex (in a home built in 1880), where my wife and I were very comfortable in October 2018, is next door to the 8-bedroom guest house and offers a superior double room, lounge and patio.

Room rates start at around ZAR2,000 per room per night, depending on the season. (The village gets busy in peak season, November to April, so plan a visit for wintertime, when the weather can be excellent, despite the typical Cape rains, which are heavier in July and August.)

In addition, Cape Town's seaside suburbs (best described as villages) of Kalk Bay, 30 kilometers south, and Simon's Town, 40 kilometers south, are worth visits for the scenery, the restaurants and the shopping, if you are interested in bric-a-brac and "collectibles," or just to experience the character of these two special places.

Simon's Town also has the quite special South African Naval Museum (Private Bag X1, Simon's Town, 7995, South Africa, phone +27 21 787 4686, simonstown.com/navalmuseum/index.htm).

Cape Town, South Africa