Travel and a bit of shopping
First published on http://www.grootconstantia.co.za
The wheels of the bus go round and round… and everyone on the City Sightseeing Red Tour Bus swivels their heads from side to side as there is so much to leave you agape on the Blue Mini Peninsula Tour. The Hop-On Hop-Off bus leaves from the Two Oceans Aquarium at the V&A Waterfront (or 81 Long Street) where after it circles Table Mountain – look out for antelope on the southern slopes as you drive past with the wind in your hair.
If you have time before your visit to Groot Constantia hop off to stroll around the wonderful gardens at Kirstenbosch, one of the greatest botanical gardens in the world. Once you are back on the bus you will need to disembark at Constantia Nek in order to join the Purple Wine Route which will drop you at Groot Constantia.
Groot Constantia is the oldest wine-producing estate in South Africa. Ensure that you have ample time to do some wine tasting, visit the cellar and the historical manor house, look at the view that stretches all the way to False Bay, enjoy some of the tasting experiences in the deli, and lastly, sit down for a leisurely lunch at Simon’s or Jonkershuis (booking advised).
Groot Constantia has just launched a new Visitors Route Experience. It allows for a multi-level experience encompassing a visit to the original Cape Dutch homestead and the very informative and atmospheric Wine Museum in the famed and recently restored Cloete Cellar- both fall under Iziko Museums of South Africa – as well as admiring art at the Constantia Gallery and doing a cellar tour. Chocolate and wine pairing tastings also take place in Cloete Cellar.
Simon’s Restaurant and Deli offers a casual eating experience with a view over the vineyards whereas at Jonkershuis – the option we chose and absolutely loved – you can sit under oak trees weather permitting or in the cosy thick-walled establishment if the weather does not play along nicely. The pea and asparagus risotto with mint and the sticky pork belly made us relish our next visit!
Buses run as regular as clockwork. Once your double-decker bus – one’s inner child relishes this part of the experience – has dropped you at Constantia Nek again and you’ve started the last part of your journey, probably feeling all smug after a wonderful meal with great wines, the bus stops at World of Birds and Imizamo Wethu Township in Hout Bay. There after the bus heads back on a section of Chapmans Peak, one of the most breath-taking drives in the world, all along the Atlantic Seaboard and Camps Bay, before dropping you off in the Mother City again.
Whether you are a visitor to Cape Town or a local yokel, the City Sightseeing Red Tour Bus is unarguably the easiest way to get around. Not to mention more fun than any other mode of transport.
The recorded audio commentary is interspersed with local music, delivered in 15 languages and there’s a special channel for the kids. You are bound to learn something new and fascinating about Cape Town, its outskirts and the oldest vineyards in South Africa.
Tickets can be bought where the circular route starts, online or from the bus driver.