Wine, enjoyed in moderation, is a healthy food which enriches life.

Wine Tour

South Africa - Wine, Cuisine, Wildlife and Culture
via Dubai

 


 

16 Days - November 16 to December, 1, 2019 NOW BOOKING

All-Inclusive accompanied tour to Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Paarl, Hermanus, Robertson,
and Garden Route with 2 nights in Dubai

FAQ | Register | Price | Itinerary | Previous Tour Photos/Videos | Trip Extension

 

Imagine the vineyards of South Africa in November bathed in sunshine, the vines fresh with new leaves and before the searing heat of summer. The view from Table Mountain of Cape Town and the rugged beauty of Simonsberg surrounded by vines growing in the Stellenbosch and Paarl viticultural areas are just some of the features that justify the Cape Winelands being acclaimed the most beautiful wine region in the world.


 

Bathe in the warm ocean, experience the joy of life exhibited by South Africans who have such optimism for the future of their country and marvel at awesome natural beauty carved out of ancient rocks by the forces of nature.

In November each year after fall in Toronto, there is plenty of warm sunshine in the Cape Winelands; daily highs of 26-28°C and lows of 14-16°C should be expected. In Robertson and Calitzdorf it was 37-39°C in November 2011.

Join wine personality Steve Thurlow, WineAlign Principal Critic and Partner, as he leads this 16 day excursion of discovery and enjoyment. Visit wineries and vineyards set in an awesome natural beauty, tasting and dining in 17th century Cape Dutch architecture with winemakers and winery owners.

 

We will explore the leading vineyards and wineries and be involved in the prepartion of local cuisine on two occasions.

As well as tasting and dining at many of the major wineries we will find time to visit Cape Town and Stellenbosch, South Africa's "wine capital" and to see the penguins at Betty's Bay and almost certainly whales basking close to the shore near Hermanus.

We will feed elephants near Knysna, see ostriches up close and have the chance to stroke a cheetah.

In South Africa, we will stay in five luxury hotels near Cape Town, Stellenbosch, Hermanus, Montagu and Knysna plus an unforgettable night at a luxury tented game park with 2 bush safari excursions. In addition, en route to South Africa, we spend 2 nights in Dubai.

We will also learn something of South African culture spending a day in a township close to Cape Town and learning how to prepare some native dishes.

Click to see photos/videos of previous trips to South Africa in 2010, 2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017. If all this sounds like too hectic a pace, don't worry. There will be time for relaxing by the pool in the warm sunshine and wandering around some of the beautiful towns and villages that lie along our route.

The group meets in Dubai en route to Cape Town and we disperse in George with most of the group returning home via Johannesburg and Dubai.

The best way to fly to Dubai is on the Emirates Airbus 380.

However since 2016, Air Canada also flies direct to Dubai. So the route to the Cape can also be flown in conjunction with Star Alliance partner South Africa Airways.

This may be of particular interest for those wishing to spend or collect Aeroplan miles.

The itinerary flown by most folks in 2017 was:

Toronto (YYZ) to Dubai (DXB) — Fri, Nov 17, 2017 
Emirates 242  Dep: 9:40 pm Arr: 7:25 pm  Sat, Nov 18 Airbus A380
   
Dubai (DXB) to Cape Town (CPT) — Mon, Nov 20
Emirates 770 Dep: 8:55 am Arr: 4:30 pm Boeing 777

George (GRJ) to Johannesburg (JNB) — Sun, Dec 3
Kulula 926  Dep: 1:30 pm Arr: 3:15 pm Boeing 737

Johannesburg (JNB) to Dubai (DXB) — Sun, Dec 3
Emirates 764 Dep: 7:05 pm Arr: 5:05 am Mon, Dec 4 Boeing 777
        
Dubai (DXB) to Toronto (YYZ) — Mon, Dec 4
Emirates 241 Dep: 9:55 am Arr: 3:25 pm Airbus A380

The Emirates and Kulula web economy airfares for a similar itinerary in November 2018 are $1740 + $110 at present.

N.B. When the flight schedules for November 2019 are available in January 2019, you will need to book two separate plane tickets, one with each airline to get similar prices.

Group transportation will be arranged to suit the itinerary and is included in the trip price.

 

Outbound we stopover in Dubai for 2 nights for a glimpse of this amazing city. Some will choose to be on the golf course, others will visit the extensive shopping and some will choose to take a rest day in the sunshine to ease themselves into a vacation mind set.

If a couple of nights in Dubai does not appeal then you can join the group in Cape Town which will reduce the trip cost by $205.

You can also often find less expensive airfares if connecting in London, Paris, Amsterdam or Frankfurt, etc. on the way to the Cape.

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Trip Extension Ideas

Several visits to game reserves on the Garden Route are included in the all-inclusive trip. Some travelers may choose to stay longer in Africa for a more in-depth wildlife experience.

A trip extension from Johannesburg to South Africa's Kruger Park or to the Okavango Delta in Botswana are among several ideas.

Typically a visit to the majestic Victoria Falls would form a part of such an extension.

Register for the Tour

If you wish to join the tour in November 2019....

Email: Steve Thurlow steve@stevethurlow.com

and he will send you a registration form.

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Price

The price for the trip, which does not include the cost of any air travel, is C$6660 per person. The trip price assumes double occupancy in hotels. Single Supplement is available on request.

The trip price includes all hotels, luxury coach transportation plus buffet breakfasts every day, winery visits and tastings, and 20 meals with wines, all led by Steve Thurlow.

NON DUBAI: If you do not wish to travel via Dubai you can arrange to join the group at the hotel in Cape Town and to leave the group in Knysna. The price for the trip excluding the 2 nights in Dubai is C$6455 per person.

 

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Itinerary
 

(Included meals: B= Breakfast L= Lunch D= Dinner)

 

Day 1: Saturday November 16, 2019 Dubai

Upon arrival in Dubai late in the evening it is a short taxi ride to the Radisson Blu Dubai Deira Creek hotel for our two night stay.

Overlooking the famous Dubai Creek, you have easy access to both the city’s modern and historic sites.

Day 2: Sunday, Dubai

This can be a day of relaxation. However experience tells us that the golfers will not want to miss this opportunity to play a few holes on one of the many courses in Dubai.

 

 

 

 

Go here for a list of attractions close to our hotel.

There is a metro station closeby so it is easy to visit Dubai's many attractions.  

The world’s tallest building, The Burj Khalifa and the world’s largest mall, Dubai Mall are both 15 minutes away by metro.

We are close to some of the world's best shopping, so that will be a destination for some.

Others will be attracted to visit Old Dubai and the Gold Souk.

Some will no doubt be seduced by the many pleasures offered by Atlantis The Palm with its waterpark, restaurants and nightlife.

However many will take a day off to sit by the pool at the hotel and get themselves into the holiday mood or spend a few hours at Al Mamzar beach.

 

 

There are no group activities organized for this day. (B)

 

Day 3: Monday , Cape Town

After two nights in Dubai it is time to continue the journey to Cape Town where we arrive late afternoon for transfer to our hotel on the beach in the northern suburbs of Cape Town.

Lagoon Beach Hotel is on the beach on the Atlantic coast. All of the hotel’s apartments include en-suite baths and showers. With Table Mountain on the opposite side of the bay, taking in the views from the viewing deck, or soaking up the sun at the swimming pool will be a pleasure for all.

You can walk directly onto an endless stretch of white beach from the hotel's terrace. This stylish luxury hotel is set right on the dunes with panoramic views of Table Mountain and Robben Island and on some evenings there are spectacular sights of the sun setting over the ocean.

After the chance to settle in, there will be a welcome dinner in the hotel with some of our South African winery hosts pouring some of their wines, probably on the terrace with the lights of Cape Town twinkling in the distance. (D)

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Tuesday , Cape Town

This morning after breakfast we leave the hotel for the centre of Cape Town.

There will be a guided walking tour of the city visiting Company Gardens and Greenmarket Square and all of the popular sights in the city.

 

 

After the tour there will be a couple of hours for wandering the city individually.

Many will gravitate toward the Waterfront for the excellent shopping and to select a spot for lunch.

Late afternoon the bus will pick up the group to take us for our evening visit to the Groot Constantia Wine Estate.

The estate, that was established in 1685, is a provincial monument with beautiful Dutch heritage buldings.

 

 

 

Cellar Master Boela Gerber will lead us through a tasting of his wines and after a brief winery tour we will take dinner in the historic winery restaurant, Jonkershuis. (B,D)

 

Day 5: Wednesday , Swartland

We leave the hotel for the drive to the nearby Swartland wine region.

After about an hour we will be in Riebeek Kasteel, one of the oldest towns in South Africa.

It is very picturesque with lots to see, museums, galleries and shopping that will keep us amused for a couple of hours.

 

 

We then transfer to the Lammershoek winery where we will meet and taste the wines of several producers from the Swartland area.

 

We will also learn how to make a fire for a traditional Braai (South African Barbecue) and assist with the preparation of a typical Cape lunch.

The word braaivleis is Afrikaans for roasted meat.

The word braai (pronounced “bry”, rhyming with the word cry) is Afrikaans for barbecue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will learn about this style of cooking in a hands-on session, the culmination of which will be eating the dishes we helped prepare.

 

After a good lunch with wines from the area winemakers, we return to the hotel.

 

The balance of the day is free for enjoying the hotel, the beach and its surroundings. (B,L)

 
 

Day 6: Thursday , Cape Town

Weather permitting this morning we will take the cable car to the top of Table Mountain.

From here, on a good day, you take in a 360 view of the surrounding area; from Cape Town immediately below, to Durbanville in the north and the Winelands surrounding Simonsberg to the east and Cape Point to the south.

   

We take the cable car back down and follow the coast south via Camps Bay and Llandudno to Hout Bay.

 

 

Hout Bay has a white sand beach, and is a popular attraction for tourists and locals alike. It has one of the busiest harbours in the Western Cape with an established tuna, snoek and crayfish industry.

We continue heading south arriving in Simonstown at lunchtime.

This is the home port for the South Africa navy. The harbour is home to several restaurants plus some fun shopping stalls.

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

We will have a traditional fish lunch at the Salty Dog.

We continue our journey southward until we reach Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope.

We then head back to Constantia for a tasting at the famous Steenberg Estate followed by dinner in the winery restaurant.

 

We return early evening to the hotel. (B,L,D)

     

Day 7: Friday , Langa and Stellenbosch

We check out of our hotel for the 45 km drive to Stellenbosch in the heart of the Cape wine region. Soon after leaving the hotel we arrive in Langa.

 

Langa is a suburb of Cape Town that was established in 1901. It is one of the many areas in South Africa that were designated for Black Africans before the apartheid era. It is the oldest of such suburbs in Cape Town and was the location of much resistance to apartheid.

We will take a tour of the township with Polelwa Tafeni, who is a registered township guide. There will be visits to the community centre and other parts of the township as well as shopping in the craft and arts centre.

At the centre of the township is Lelapa restaurant.

The restaurant specializes in traditional African cuisine.

We will sit down to enjoy an African style meal with live African music from a local township group.

 

 

 

 

After lunch we leave Langa and drive towards Stellenbosch where we will visit the Spier wine estate.

Initially we will go to Eagle Encounters, which was started in 2001 by Hank and Tracy Chalmers. The land, donated by Spier, provides the perfect location for their rehabilitation, release, conservation, education & eco-tourism programs.

Eagle Encounters receives birds that have been injured, poisoned, abused or hand-reared. Sometimes birds have been illegally removed from their nests. These birds are then rehabilitated until they are fit, healthy and able to hunt and breed again –then re-released into the wild. Only hand-reared birds are kept for education purposes.

 

 

 

 

 

After visiting the birds of prey we will leave the estate to checkin to our nearby hotel.

The university town of Stellenbosch is surrounded by vineyards and wineries.

We will stay for the next three nights in the vineyards just outside Stellenbosch at Devon Valley Hotel

This is the splendid view from the hotel of Simonsberg.

This 4 star hotel has a colourful history spanning six decades of fine hospitality and offers the comforts of modern living to create a calm haven from which we will explore Stellenbosch and the surrounding area.

The hotel is enclosed by its own working Sylvan Vale Vineyard.

 

 

 

 

 

Early evening we leave the hotel to return to the nearby Spier Wine Estate where Cellarmaster Frans Smit will lead us on a tasting of his wines followed by dinner in the C17th Manor House. (B,L,D)

Day 8: Saturday , Stellenbosch

We continue visiting wineries in the area, but first this morning there will be a walking tour to the town of Stellenbosch and an opportunity to do some shopping.

Just before lunch we leave for the Boschendal Estate.

Here there will be a tasting followed by a picnic lunch with the wines of the estate in the welcome shade of a forest glade on the estate.

 

Simonsberg which dominates the region is always in view.

 
   

We return to the hotel late afternoon.

The evening dinner will be at the Laborie Estate in the Manor House with the wines of Laborie and Cathedral Cellar. (B,L,D)

Day 9: Sunday , Stellenbosch

We will visit Fairview winery where we will see their famous goat herd as well as tasting their wines named on the Goat theme.

   

 

 

 

We then leave for the nearby Delheim Estate where we will take lunch with the owner Victor Sperling after he has led us through a tasting of his wines.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After lunch we return to the hotel for some quiet time enjoying the hotel grounds, maybe finding time for relaxing by the pool.

We take dinner together in the hotel restaurant. (B,L,D)

 

Day 10: Monday , Hermanus

We check out of our hotel in Stellenbosch heading south until we reach the ocean at Gordons Bay.

 

 

 

 

We will stop for an hour at the Cheetah Outreach program where we can interact with tame cheetahs.

We then follow the seashore eastwards towards Hermanus.

En route we will stop at Betty's Bay to visit the Penguin colony.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We will soon be in the the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, which has the reputation for fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our destination here is Creation Wines where we will be hosted by one of the partners Carolyn Martin.

We will taste some wines and then enjoy their wines over lunch at the winery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We leave the valley after lunch and within 15 minutes we are in the picturesque seaside town of Hermanus.

 

   

Our base for the next two nights is the Harbour House hotel perched on the cliff overlooking the sea in the centre of town.

 

 

 

 

 

Hermanus is the centre of the whale watching region. In the season the whales come in very close to the shore. Not far from here, the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet creating a great feeding ground and consequently an area for breeding and birthing. You will often see mothers with young calves close by.

The evening is free to explore the many restaurants in the town. (B,L)

Day 11: Tuesday , Hermanus

This is free day to enjoy the peaceful town of Hermanus. Within a few minutes walk of the hotel the town offers an opportunity for shopping. Among the narrow streets and open squares there are several street markets with charming bistros and cafes for refreshment when a rest is needed.

Late afternoon we return to the Hemel-en-Aarde valley to have a tasting and supper at the Bouchard Finlayson winery. Peter Finlayson partnered with the Bouchard family from Burgundy many years ago and has become famous for creating some of South Africa's best wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

 

The cellar is a delightful spot for a light supper. (B,D)

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

Day 12: Wednesday , Robertson

After breakfast we check out of the hotel to drive north to the Robertson wine region.

We may linger a while on the coast first.

The wine industry in Robertson has grown from less than 25 cellars in 1995 to more than 50 registered wine cellars today.

It is also a very beautiful landscape completely surrounded by mountains with vineyards in every direction.

We check in to the Montagu Country Hotel and spend a while visiting the small picturesque town of Montagu finding a bite to eat.







 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The architecture of the hotel is Art-Deco and it is surrounded by beautiful gardens.

 

Late afternoon we will leave to visit the Robertson Winery. We will be taken in 4x4 vehicles to the top of a mountain with a spectacular view over the vineyards in the valley.

Here the winery has a built a tasting room and a braii spot.

We will taste their wines and then enjoy these with some fine Karoo lamb. (B,D)

 

 

 

Day 13: Thursday , Calitzdorf and Buffelsdrift

We leave our hotel in Montagu continuing our journey westwards along the Garden Route.

We pass between the Swartberg mountains in the north and the ocean to the south.

We soon arrive in Calitzdsorp, renowned for its port style wines. We will be at the Calitzdorf Wynkeller at lunchtime for a tasting of the wines of three producers in the area including De Krans and Boplaas winery, where they use elephants in the vineyards. After lunch we continue our journey eastwards.

 


 

This night will be spent at Buffelsdrift Game Lodge


Our accommodation is in a luxury tented hotel. The tents are air-conditioned with a full ensuite bathroom.

Soon after arrival we will leave for the first of two safaris to view the abundant wild game in the area. We will have dinner under the stars with the sound of the wildlife in the area very evident. (B,L,D)

 

Day 14: Friday, Knysna

Up early this morning for our second bush safari before breakfast. We leave late morning to continue our journey along towards Knysna.

We head north briefly into the Swartberg mountains to visit Kango Caves.

The principal cave is one of the country's finest, best known and most popular tourist caves and attracts many visitors from overseas. The caves contain spectacular halls and grand limestone formations.

After visiting the caves we head to the Karusa winery for a tasting and lunch and then to the Highgate Ostrich Farm.

 

 

Late afternoon we head toward Knysna where we stay for the next two nights at the Knysna Quays hotel in Knysna, located in the centre of this small town right on the waterfront.

The evening is free to checkout the town and find a bite to eat. (B, L)  

Day 15: Saturday, Plettenberg and Knysna

This morning is free for a continuing visit of the town and its many shops. Late morning we will visit the Knysna Elephant reserve where there will be an opportunity to feed the elephants.

Later we will visit the Bramon wine estate for a tasting and lunch.

 

 

 
   

 

Our final evening will be spent at dinner with a reprise of some of the best wines discovered on the trip. (B, L, D)

Day 16: Sunday, George

There will be time on our last day for a leisurely start with time to savour the sea-breeze, the warm sunshine and a last cappuccino.

We will say goodbye to Pieter de Waal and our driver at George airport where we will arrive in time for the 13:30 flight to Johannesburg.

 

 

Many will take this short flight to Johannesburg which connects with flights to Toronto.(B)

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the age range of the group?

These tours appeal to a wide range of ages, since we can love wine, food and travel at all stages of life. Typically the range is from 30 to 65 though we have had some older and younger than this join in the past.

Do you need to be a wine connoisseur to participate?

Absolutely not. These are tours of discovery and enjoyment, of the wine, food, culture and history of the region. You will certainly return home with a greater appreciation of wine. I have been told it is impossible to spend several days traveling with me without learning more about how wine is made and enjoyed with food.

Is the trip price really all-inclusive?

Almost all costs other than souvenirs, an occasional cup of coffee and maybe a slice or two of pizza are included and a few meals. I frequently hear that there is too much wine and too much food such that, during free periods, people don’t need to eat or drink anything else.

These trips seem to be very reasonably priced, what is the catch?

I only run on average two or three trips per year to places to which I would be going anyway; so why not take a few others along with me? These trips are not a fundamental part of what I do in life and so I price them reasonably so all can afford to join. Additionally I receive sponsorship subsidies from wine regions and wineries who are keen to show my guests their splendid products and services in the hope that they will spread the word. Virtually everyone comes on a trip as result of a word-of-mouth recommendation, so my marketing costs are low. I do not accept payment by credit card for the trip, so I do not have to budget for their merchant fees.

We have never traveled with a group before; will there be enough free time?

I used to dislike traveling on buses with groups and also found I needed time away from the group. Consequently we have frequent stops to do stuff when we are traveling by bus plus the schedule has lots of free time built in. Moreover nothing is compulsory, people sometimes take a day off to enjoy life away from the group.

We have heard that it is dangerous to travel in South Africa. Will we be safe on this trip?

It is true that there are significant security issues in many parts of South Africa, however the Western Cape area is generally one of the safest parts. You will be completely safe when traveling with the group, at any of the hotels or on any of the organized visits and you will never be placed into an unsafe area at any time. However you do need to take reasonable precautions, as you would in Canada or the USA, in the tourist areas with your belongings and valuables.

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Conditions

The above itineraries are as planned. However we reserve the right to make adjustments depending upon weather, and other constraints, to substitute visits to alternative wineries and to arrange accommodation at hotels of similar standard in the towns mentioned. Prices are for double occupancy in twin/double rooms (single supplement on request), The price for the tour covers all hotels, luxury coach transportation and entrance fees and guide fees to all attractions described in the itinerary. Also included are breakfasts every day, winery visits and tastings, and 20 meals with wines.

This price is correct at present but may change as a result of currency variations or other circumstances beyond our control. We accept credit card payments for the trip deposit but do not accept payment by credit card for the final trip payment unless special arrangements are made.

In accordance with the Ontario Travel Industry Act, below is the registered name, address and registration number of the provider of the travel services:

UNIGLOBE Enterprise Travel
34 Britain Street, Suite 200
Toronto, Ontario
M5A 1R6

Agent: Steve Thurlow

TICO Registration Number: 1810380

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