Discover the Cape Winelands’ many soul-warming activities this winter

During the coldest and wettest season of the year, inward reflection abounds, while quiet admiration of the world around us takes form. With life moving at a somewhat slower pace, young and old are invited to discover the Cape Winelands’ many soul-warming activities this winter.

For the love of horses

Cavalli Estate’s Cavalli Equine is centred on respect and admiration for the exquisite beauty, power and harmony that come together in man’s enduring companion, the horse. The Cavalli Equestrian Centre is situated on more than 100ha of land and includes an outdoor arena, indoor training arena and 20 state-of-the-art stables. Full of natural light, the centre is an architectural delight with its artful alignment of structural steel with the warmth of ample oak cladding. Stable tours are held on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 11am to 12 noon and enable guests to witness these magnificent animals in the context of Cavalli’s world-class facility.

Stable tours are free of charge, but booking is essential. Relaxing one-hour carriage tours include a visit to the stables, Cavalli’s restaurant, gardens designed by Keith Kirsten and vineyards, all while taking in gorgeous views of the Helderberg. The carriage can carry up to four passengers (three adults and one child, or two adults and two youngsters) and the tour costs R2,000, including a bottle of wine.

Good to know: To book, send an email to stables@cavalliestate.com or call 021 855 3218.

Stimulating young minds

The Tree House at Boschendal, one of South Africa’s oldest wine farms, is every child’s dream come true – and perhaps their parents’ too! This winter holiday, Boschendal brings young farm adventurers even more fresh-air fun. From learning about regenerative agriculture – that’s farming with the future in mind – to animal care, arts and crafts and meandering hikes on this working farm, the holiday programme is one that cements the joy of creative exploration in every child’s heart and mind.

The Tree House leaders are an experienced, passionate team, with a love for learning that is simply contagious. Guiding and teaching alongside children immerses everyone in the beauty and bounty of Boschendal. The holiday programme aims to ignite and preserve a love for art, creativity, nature and animals within each child, using (almost) no screens. Youngsters will join in small groups, each with their own guide, and will focus on a different theme each day. Lunch and a light snack are included and Boschendal recommends children wear clothes suitable for extensive exploration.

Good to know: Ideal for children aged five to 14. Visit www.boschendal.com for rates. 

Reach for the stars

The South African Astronomical Observatory’s (SAAO) Open Nights are back and stargazers are in for a treat. Taking place at 20:00 on the second and fourth Saturday of every month at the SAAO’s headquarters in Observatory, Cape Town, Open Nights include a topical talk relating to astronomy or physics and a visit to the historic McClean telescope, the observatory museum and the library. On clear nights, visitors will also have the opportunity to put their stargazing skills to the test with the McClean and other telescopes set up for the evening. Did you know that the SAAO’s headquarters, initially named the Royal Observatory, is recognised as a National Heritage site? This historical building was founded on 20 October 1820 after the British King George IV authorised the British Admiralty to establish an observatory at the Cape of Good Hope in order to provide accurate star positions to assist ships in navigating the Cape’s treacherous waters.

Good to know: Owing to Covid-19 regulations, booking is required and space is limited to 40 individuals. Tickets sell out fast and it is advisable to keep an eye on SAAO’s social platforms to find out when bookings open.

We all scream for ice cream

Winter, spring, summer or fall… Who does not enjoy ice cream? At Clos Malverne Wine Farm, a 10ha family farm on Stellenbosch’s Devon Valley Road, ice cream and wine seem to be the perfect winter playmates. The farm’s signature ice cream and wine pairing takes guests on a sensory journey: think exciting ice cream flavours coupled with some of Clos Malverne’s award-winning wines. Best of all is that the ice cream flavours change with the seasons, giving lovers of this cold treat more than enough reason to return every three months. Reward the child in you this winter with a delectable cookie monster and chocolate popping candy ice cream paired with Clos Malverne’s Sauvignon Blanc Brut. Or the poppy seed baked cheesecake ice cream with a glass of chilled Clos Malverne Sauvignon Blanc; a match made in ice cream heaven.

At R128 per person, patrons are set to enjoy four ice cream offerings paired with four wines. With a wrap-around balcony that offers mesmerising vineyard and mountain views, lunch at Clos Malverne is also a breath of fresh air: from wood-fired, artisan pizzas to contemporary cuisine, there’s something for the whole family. Post-dining, why not treat the family at Clos Malverne’s spa or end your visit on a high note by spending the night at the farm’s peaceful family cottage.

A day with the penguins

Spheniscus demersus, the species might just be one of the ocean’s most endearing birds. At CapeNature’s Stony Point Nature Reserve, the very first African penguin nest was discovered in 1982 and since then Stony Point has become one of the world’s largest successful breeding colonies of the African penguin with some 3,600 birds. Each year thousands of visitors flock to the Overberg coastal town of Betty’s Bay to see how these endangered flightless birds live, play and breed.

At Stony Point, African penguins make use of artificial burrows to lay their eggs and protect chicks from predators on land. “It takes time for penguins to develop their fishing skills to the stage when they can feed not only themselves, but also one or two hungry chicks. Most African penguins do not start to breed until they are five years old. Many survive to over 20 years and the oldest African penguin so far recorded was 27,” says CapeNature. Via an interactive boardwalk, nature enthusiasts of all ages can experience African penguins in their natural habitat without disrupting or disturbing these feathery waddlers.

Good to know: Stony Point is open daily from 08:00 to 16:30 (last permits issued at 16:00, gates close at 16:30). Adults enter at R25 per person and R15 per child. Call 087 087 8250 or send an email to reservation.alert@capenature.co.za for more information.