Call me unadventurous but I love travelling locally, going so far as to take both a weekend and five-day break within 20km of my home. Firstly, because lengthy travel time takes all the relaxation out of a shorter break and secondly, we tend to take the stunning beauty and attractions in the Western Cape very much for granted so taking time to truly enjoy it is always worth it.
With its cool climate wines taking the world by storm in recent years, the magnificent Elgin Valley has shrugged off its label of “the apple and pear growing region along the N2 on the way to one’s destination” and come into its own as both a wine region and holiday destination. Plus, it’s less than an hour from Cape Town.
South Hill Vineyards offers more than just superb wines. For those looking for a weekend getaway, mid-week break or even a longer stay they offer two luxurious options: a fully equipped five-bedroom guesthouse and a secluded romantic cottage.
The beautifully decorated and very elegant Guesthouse, which offers four double bedrooms downstairs, as well as a large loft area upstairs, is available either per room or as a self-catering villa, making it ideal for families or groups of friends. All bedrooms are en-suite, including the loft room, which has three single beds and one king size bed. The loft includes a television with all DSTV channels and a small collection of books to read, too, so it can double as either a play/relaxation area or an ideal place for kids and teens. All rooms also include a docking station for your iPod or mp3 player and WiFi is available. The open plan living area has a large fireplace to warm you on cold winter nights and a dream kitchen to inspire even the most amateur home cook. The Guesthouse is also stocked with a selection of South Hill wines, offered on an “honesty basis”.
When not relaxing in front of the fire with some South Hill wine, there’s a 15m pool, a boulé court and a croquet set for the lawn. Prepare a feast and dine al fresco in the garden or on a patio or make use of the pizza oven and get creative with unusual toppings. There is plenty for those who like being active and outdoors, too, including walks, kayaking and mountain biking. Of course, no visit to South Hill is complete without wine tasting – and buying!
The Pumphouse is a gorgeous secluded cottage set on the banks of a dam surrounded by an indigenous garden, stunning fynbos and vineyards. There’s a private courtyard complete with a spa for the ultimate relaxation. It’s ideal for a romantic getaway or honeymoon cottage. In fact, South Hill is very popular as a wedding and celebration venue, as well as for end of year events and even conferences.
Chatting with Sandra King about the South Hill wines, I asked for a recommendation. She told me that their Cabernet Sauvignon Rosé is perfectly suited to both summer and winter. The wine is made from grapes harvested specifically for the rose, unlike most rosés, which are made from “bled juice”. And at about R45 a bottle, it’s delicious and affordable. South Hill also makes an exclusive, limited amount of MCC, which comes highly recommended.
South Hill is one of the few Elgin boutique wine farms that is open for tasting daily, during the week and on weekends. Details can be found on the website. The wines are available for purchase at the farm, online or at selected stockists (see website). And, if you are just passing through on the N2, both the Peregrine and Houw Hoek farm stalls stock their wines, too.
If you’re thinking of a break, do yourself a favour and head over to the website for a virtual tour. You’ll be making a booking faster than you can say, “I need a break.”
Sandy King – 083 627 7950