AAR: The Western Cape, South Africa, June 2017 (Part 2)
Greetings, Fellow Travelers!
BLUF: This six-part AAR covers the journey, the destination, and activities of our trip to
South Africa (our second!) while stationed in Germany. This trip focused almost
exclusively on wine and food. While far from almost everywhere, the Winelands outside
Cape Town have one of the largest concentration of wine estates for both seasoned
and novice wine drinkers. It’s much more affordable than France and has better
mountain views than Germany.
Today’s AAR takes us to the Western Province of the Republic of South Africa.
Part 2: Guest Haus.
We arrived CPT mid-morning, and after immigration, we headed to the car rental
station, located outside the main terminal but still within walking distance. South Africa
drives on the UK side of the road, so with those mental adjustments made, we tossed
our luggage in the SUV and hit the road.
Located about 45 miles from CPT, Franschhoek is at the heart South Africa’s wine
valley. While Stellenbosch is more well-known as a wine destination, “French Corner”
maintains its small village feel with walkable streets, amazing restaurants, and a
dedicated hop-on hop-off wine tram. If you are deciding where to stay in the Winelands,
my #1 recommendation is to stay in Franschhoek!
For our stay in Franschhoek, I chose the Ashbourne House Bed and Breakfast, a
property just down the road from the Protea Franschhoek, run by a young German
couple. I secured our seven nights with breakfast at $124/night. The property only ever
had three or fewer of its eight rooms occupied during our stay, so it felt like we had the
place to ourselves at breakfast and throughout the evening.
I booked the “Upper Deck” room set in the eaves of the house. The room had a private
wooden deck overlooking the garden and had a mountain view. The large room had a
king size bed, a couch, a wardrobe, and small flat screen tv. A refrigerator was also
included, perfect for chilling our wine purchases. The en suite bathroom had heated
floors and a marble shower. Wi-Fi was provided free of charge.
Every morning, we had breakfast in the main dining room which consisted of a
sideboard continental buffet with cold meats, cheeses, freshly pressed juices, seasonal
fruit, yogurt, and homemade granola. Also available were made-to-order eggs and
waffles along with tea and coffee. On the first evening of our stay, the host welcomed
us in the salon with a wine tasting and offered his insights to local restaurants and wine
estates. The host also offered to book any reservations we required. The Ashbourne
House was an amazingly warm and hospitable property. I highly recommend it.
The Ashbourne House was also a five-minute walk from Huguenot Road, the city’s main
street. On Huguenot Road, you can find many high-caliber restaurants and cafés as
well as clothing and souvenir shops. In fact, we found an amazing ostrich egg shell
platter from AVOOVA, a small African artisan shop off Huguenot Square.
In sum, with our stay at the very charming Ashbourne House—in our amazing room and
with the courteous, helpful staff—we were primed to start our South African wine
Next, Part 3: The Reason We Go Anywhere!
Albert Guerrero, USAF (ret.)
Follow my travels on Instagram: @albert_traveler