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A Taste of South Africa

What a trip! From the moment the plane hit the tarmac to our departure, a kaleidoscope of sounds, colours, tastes and smells.  Our first township: chaotic, overcrowded, sprawling; sheet upon sheet of corrugated metal. Next, ebullient, colourful Cape Town: the Bo-Kaap, Signall Hill, Lion`s Head, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront.  The romantic sunset viewed from the top of Table Mountain, and the town`s natural amphitheatre lit up at night.  Then, a drive round the Cape`s rocky peninsular: to Simon`s Town and Boulder`s Beach; our first view of False Bay from the shore, surrounded by hundreds of noisy penguins.  A visit to the south west tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, famously circumnavigated by Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias in 1486, pathing the way for Europeans to trade in Asia.  And our first winery visit, to Klein Constantia where we tasted the legendary sweet wine Vin de Constance. A wine drunk by Kings and Queens. Napoleon drank it on the island of St Helena to find solace in his lonely exile.  Now we were sipping the wine, in this great place dating back to 1685, set amidst ancient trees with views across beautiful False Bay. Then we had a taste of something quite different: the wilderness. The feeling of vastness and the hot smell of dust as we drove through the Karoo with our guide, sighting lion, rhinoceros, elephant, buffalo, springbok, giraffe and hippo. Then, the turn of Stellenbosch, Western Cape`s wine capital, and beautiful Franschhoek, founded three hundred years ago by Huguenot settlers. And we visited one wine growing region after another, each with its stories to tell. Stories of human perseverance, passion and daring. We tasted one wine after another: super-fresh grassy Sauvignon, lemon-meringue Chardonnay, vibrant-tangy Pinotage, cassis-scented velvet Cabernet Sauvignon. Wines I hope to bring home, to Great Horkesley, among them Rustenberg, Rust En Vrede, Catherine Marshall, Kanonkop, Kaapzicht, Darling Cellars, Lemberg, Bouchard Finlayson, Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Paul Cluver. And may these bottles long in the future rekindle many happy memories. Cheers everyone!


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