Life throws some amazing experiences at you from time to time, but I had no idea that spending a day and a half with a bunch of really awesome bloggers and influencers in the Helderberg would be as unforgettable as our recent #DiscoverHelderberg trip was!
The trip was organised by the folks over at the Stellenbosch Wine Route and put together by the talented team from Destinate, who were the brains behind getting such an amazing bunch of people together to experience some hidden gems that the Helderberg has to offer!
What made this trip extra special was not only the incredible places we got to visit, but the people that we got to share this experience with, and they were of course, Carlinn from “SuperficialGirls“, then the talented Natalie Roos from “Tails of a Mermaid” and “Destinate“, Lauren Fowler from “Lost is a Place Too“, Louzel who was there representing “Traveller 24“, Leigh from “Pretty Mint“, Alfred from “Vuurtoring” (He’s also an incredble photographer!!), the HILLARIOUS Dee from “The Good Holiday” and then the bubbly Thalia from “Too Much Loveliness“. Do yourself a favour and check out all their blogs too!
It all kicked off from the V&A Waterfront, which is where we all met and from there, we were taken off on an epic 36 Hour adventure to Discover the hidden gems below that the Helderberg has to offer.
Peter Falke Wines
The first stop was at Peter Falke Wines, which is where we all got to sit in the garden under the warm Spring Sun, enjoying not only a variety of their delicious wines, but they served up an amazing cheese and cold meats platter! The wines we got to taste were a mix from Red to White, to their extremely refreshing rosé.
The farm is open to the public 7 days a week and a PERFECT place for sundowners on a Friday afternoon to get the weekend started.
After an enjoyable hour and a half soaking up the sun, drinking wine and getting to know the group of bloggers we were with, we had to say our good-byes as it was time to move to discover our next location, Longridge Wines.
It’s was a short drive from where we were and upon arrival, we were were greeted with a cold drink before heading out to explore the farm itself.
Longridge grows a lot of their own veggies on site and these are displayed in a very creative way in the gardens around the farm. A short walk from the main house, we were asked to jump onto a tractor that had a few trailers on it and from there we were taken on a slow drive around the grounds.
My highlight from that short drive was the stop we made where there were a group of Nguni Cows grazing inside the vineyards. The Nguni Cow is one of my favorite cows out there and to be able to photograph them inside the vineyard itself was something special! Even more so, they had calves with them, so getting close up to them to snap a few photos was a pretty special experience. What wasn’t fun was when I touched the orange string we were told not to touch because they are live wires and I managed to electrocute my ass!
After exploring the farm, we were taken to a wine pairing that included 6 of their finest wines, paired with different savoury and sweet foods from trout jelly and deep fried pasta, to orange flavoured chocolate. The pairing itself costs only R65 and believe me, the amount of wine you get with all those delicious treats is a decent amount, so next time you’re in the area, pop in!
Our time unfortunately ran out and we needed to move onto the next experience, which was just a stones throw away at the Avontuur Estate.
My experience in the Helderberg had 2 major highlights of which our visit to Avontuur Estate was one of them! I mean, come on, 2 WEEK OLD BABY FRIGGEN HORSES!!!
Yes, we got to see and touch these cute little guys that were only 2 weeks into what will become a pretty fast paced life because at Avontuur Estate they not only make great wine, they also breed thoroughbred horses and they are beautiful in every way!
When we arrived, we were greeted by owner Phil Georgiou, wine maker Jan van Rooyen and a glass of their MCC. From there, Phil took us on a walk through to see his prize horses, which ranged from the Pregnant Mares through to their 2 week old foal’s, which pretty much stole the hearts of everyone watching them hop and gallop around the field.
It was a pretty special moment when Phil managed to get one of the foals over to him so he could touch it on its nose. After that, it wasn’t long before it had built up enough courage to come over to a few of us from behind the fence and to nibble gently on our fingers! I DIE FROM CUTE OVERLOAD!
After saying our farewell’s to the little guys as they were led away into their stables for the night, Phil took us back to the tasting room, where Jan took us through some of his award winning wines and gave us a little education ourselves about the history of Social Media!
Sadly, the day had come to an end and it was time to head off to the Country Guest House, which is where we were spending the night!
The Country Guest House & 96 Winery Road
We were treated to a night’s stay at the Country Guest House, which is where Carlinn & I had a huge room that walked out from our private patio, into the vineyards and a bird hide that I shot a time-lapse of the next morning.
The famous 96 Winery Road is also on the property and this is where we were taken for dinner that evening and damn it was good! To start we were given some Pork Belly Slices, the most delicious risotto to share and of course plenty of great wine from Ken Forrester Wines.
For mains, I went for their 500g Rump Steak which was accompanied by a creamy pepper sauce and truffle fries. The desert was a trio of decadent delights that ranged from a Crème Brûlée, through to the yummiest peanut butter ice cream! NOM!
After a great night of eating and drinking great wine, we all turned in for the night because we had a 9:30am wine tasting booked.
The next morning we made our way to breakfast before heading out and I went for the French Toast with Crispy Bacon, which was delicious, but we didn’t waste too much time because it was Friday and we were starting it off in style at Ken Forrester.
Ken Forrester Wines
To get to Ken Forrester Wines from The Country Guesthouse was a quick drive across the road and when we got there, we were taken to an old school looking cellar for the wine tasting. While enjoying their wines, we were joined by Ken himself and his farm dogs that go everywhere with him.
He told us some great stories about the farm, the history and more, but when he brought out the biltong they make, my jaw dropped because it is some of the best biltong I’ve had in a very very long time!
Our stay was a little too short, but we did have a short 20 minute drive to get through, because it was time to head over to Waterkloof Wines.
Remember when I said their were 2 major highlights of the trip, well this was the other one because this little gem, which we’ve never been to before, is just incredible!
When you arrive on the farm, you drive up a winding road to the top of a hill, where their restaurant and tasting room are located with a panoramic view over the Somerset West coastline below and rolling mountains ranges above. It is truly something every person visiting the Helderberg needs to experience.
Waterkloof has a lot more to offer than you seem to think you know if you’ve ever been here, and this was explained to us in a really informative Biodiversity Tour around the farm on the back of another tractor and another MUST-DO activity when visiting them.
After the tour, we made our way back to the restaurant and tasting room for a delicious lunch cooked by their head chef, Chef Gregory Czarnecki. He cooked up a selection of food that left me wanting more!!
To get our pallets going, we were brought a Marron Fritter followed by a Norwegian Salmon with fennel sorbet. The main course was Karoo Lamb accompanied by aubergines and stuffed cannelloni and that was just mind blowing!! To end it off, we were given orange blossom macrons, a turkish delight and my favourite, the this pastry delight stuffed with lemon curd! I enjoyed my desert in the shuttle because we needed to rush off to Lourensford for our last stop of the trip.
Lourensford Wine Estate
I’ve only ever been to Lourensford once before, and it was for the Getaway Show, but little did I know these guys have a lot more up their sleeve of awesome surprises.
We were treated to a Turkish Delight Wine Pairing, and I am a huge fan of Turkish Delight, so I was pretty much in my element! We were also taken through some of the history of the estate, as well as what they are doing in terms of renovations for some great new features coming in the future!
After the pairing was done, we made our way into their own brewery for a quick beer because it was Friday afternoon after all and there’s no better way to end off such an incredible 36 hours in the Helderberg with the most incredible people!
Watch our full video travel diary below or check out the full Discover Helderberg photo album of my favourite photos from the trip and let us know in the comments which of these amazing places in the Helderberg you’d love to travel to.