Cape Winelands

After departing Matjiesfontein, travellers on Rovos Rail’s luxury train journey will find themselves inching closer and closer to the famous Cape Winelands. The second-last stop on the journey; the sweeping Cape Winelands are located close to the city of Cape Town and boast an abundance of fertile green valleys surrounded by majestic mountain ranges, working wine farms and charming towns and villages.

The Cape Winelands is dotted with the small yet thriving wine-growing towns of Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Historic homesteads and monuments line the quaint streets which bustle with local activity, wine enthusiasts and a wealth of tourists from all corners of the world.

Of all the wine-growing regions, the Stellenbosch wine route has to be one of the most popular. Home to Stellenbosch University, the charming student town teems with historic architecture, national monuments and one of the largest collections of world-class wine estates, including Spier and JC le Roux.  As the second oldest town in South Africa, Stellenbosch is a historian’s dream; with oak trees shading the emerald gardens and some of the most exquisite examples of traditional Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture lining the quaint streets.


The traditionally French town of Franschhoek is located just 45 minutes from Cape Town and lies within one of the most beautiful wine valleys in the world. If lucky, those on the African rail tour can catch a glimpse of the lush landscapes dotted with fruit orchids, rolling hills and sweet, country charm. The small yet incredibly popular town is the food and wine capital of South Africa; boasting eight of the top 100 restaurants in the country set amongst traditional Cape Dutch architecture and seemingly endless green fields.


Known as the ‘Red Route’, Paarl is famed for the extensive variety of grapes grown there, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. Over 25 wine cellars make up the popular wine route, including KWV, Nederburg, Simonsvlei and Avondale which flourish in the lush setting and fantastic climate. The town of Paarl itself is a vibrant collection of beautifully restored Cape Dutch, Georgian and Victorian architecture which includes the oldest Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa as well as the Paarl Museum which treats visitors to an in-depth look at the town’s fascinating history.