If you are even remotely interested in wine, history and architecture, this tour will satisfy your craving. The Constantia valley, surrounded by mountains, is the birth place of the wine industry in South Africa with Napoleon, among others, enjoying the sweet dessert wines. Simon van der stel planted the first vines here in this valley at Groot Constantia.
In November of the late 1600 hundreds Simon van der Stel, the Governor of the Cape, discovered a river running through a fertile valley not far from Cape Town. He called this the Eerste (first) River. He established a settlement there and called it after himself – Stellenbosch. The settlers planted grapes in the fertile valley and soon it became the centre of the wine industry. The meticulously restored buildings, particularly in oak-lined Dorp Street, bear witness to a proud past with fine examples of Cape Dutch, Victorian and Georgian architecture. It is here where one can visit many outstanding wine estates. When the Protestant religion was outlawed in France in 1685, 300 Huguenots arrived at the Cape of Good Hope. They brought with them vines from France and planted them in the Franschhoek valley. This is South Africa’s very own “French Corner.”