South African winery

Day 12 of our South African wildlife holiday. Fresh from the previous days visit to the historic port of Simon’s Town and watching the Cape Fur Seals feeding in the harbour we headed north of Cape Town – destination a winery!
Having charged around for 10 days visiting some of South Africa’s most stunning landscapes and seeing over two hundred different bird species and an assortment of less expected animals – not least the Puff Adder at The Cape Of Good Hope we figured a spot of relaxing culture was long overdue.
Retracing the drive we’d made earlier in the week across the Darling Farmlands on the way to one of South Africa’s greatest bird watching sites, Langebaan Lagoon, we turned off down a lane to Groote Post Winery.
Groote Post winery in the Darling Hills, South Africa © Claire Ogden

Groote Post winery, Darling Hills, South Africa © Claire OgdenLetters on map represent approximate locations of wildlife sites
Holiday Introduction
A – Holiday accommodation
B – Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens
C – Strandfontein
D – Paarl Bird Sanctuary
E – Paarl Mountain Reserve
F – Cape Of Good Hope
G – Cape Point
H – Darling Farmlands
I – Langebaan Lagoon
J – Boulder’s Beach
K – Rooi Els
L – Simon’s Town
More Cape birds
Summary of holiday and travel experiences

Cart and wine barrels outside Groote Post winery, Darling Hills,South Africa © Claire Ogden

Pepper tree in grounds of Groote Post winery, South Africa © Claire Ogden

Groote Post winery

It was like stepping back in time. Despite the investment made in preserving and adapting the buildings in recent years the former farm and guard post felt of another era. An old wooden cart stacked with old wooden barrels at the entrance didn’t look out of place.
Pepper tree overhanging picnic tables at Groote Post winery, in the Darling Hills, South Africa © Claire Ogden
Picnic table at Groote Post winery © Claire Ogden

We sat at a table in the shade of a magnificent overhanging pepper tree dripping with cascading pink pepper corns and sipped a cold refreshing drink.

Bottles of wine from Groote Post winery in the Darling Hills, South Africa © Claire Ogden

We seemed to be the only visitors and received a personal tour of the fermenting building housing the glistening, stainless steel wine vats. At the shop we purchased a selection of wines. The bottle of Porcupine Ridge felt most appropriate given the porcupines we watched every night below our holiday apartment balcony on the Cape Peninsula
We spent a short time wandering around the grounds before heading off back to the main coastal road and a brief excursion through the West Coast National reserve. As we drove down a dusty road we passed a Cape Cardinal Woodpecker on a fence post and a number of Eucalyptus trees with peeling bark. As on our previous trip through the Darling Farmlands we saw several species of raptor.

Ostrich South Africa © 2006 Steve Ogden
Water Thick-knee South Africa © 2006 Steve Ogden

South African Ostriches

Inside the West Coast National Reserve we passed an Ostrich beside the road in the scrub. From inside the car it towered above us. Earlier in our stay we’d seen these huge birds in the The Cape Of Good Hope National Park feeding amongst the sand dunes of the Atlantic beaches. We understood that these huge birds were not true wild birds but descended from stock once introduced onto farms for their feathers which have since become feral. We paused by a small lake and had distant views of a small group of Water Thick-knee standing on the waters edge.

On the way back to Cape Town, with the holiday drawing to a close, we began reviewing where we’d been in the last 10 days. Plans were made to fill in some gaps outstanding in our wish list and revisiting favourite places such as Kirstenbosch, Cape Point and some other nearby spectacular coastal sites. Oh, yes, and we did pop back to Strandfontein– can’t beat a good sewage works!