If you’re looking for off-the-beaten-track places of interest in Cape Town, Vergegelen is (quite literally) the answer. Because it’s become such a built-up town, Somerset West is seldom considered amongst the Cape’s mainstream wine tasting destinations, yet it is home to one of the country’s most beautiful wine estates, and one which is consistently rated the best winery in the country (not to mention 2005’s New World Winery of the Year, according to Wine Enthusiast magazine). Vergelegen
(meaning ‘Far Location’) is an estate of epic beauty, its Cape Dutch buildings set amidst ancient oak groves and stunning gardens where luxurious picnics are served. The original homestead is a great example of Cape Dutch architecture, complete with thatch roofing and elaborate gables; the five trees that grow around its entrance are Chinese camphors, planted by Willem Adriaan ven der Stel – the original owner of the estate (and a cad at that) – between 1700 and 1706. If you are looking for an estate with similarly sublime historic value (well, just about), but without the time-consuming detour into Somerset West, do not miss a stop at Vergenoegd (Tel: 021 843 3248, www.vergenoegd. co.za) which has the added advantage of being family-run (in fact the current winemaker, John Faure is the sixth generation Faure to farm on this estate) and responsible for some truly melt-in-the-mouth reds.