Stellenbosch Visio editor Francé Beyers is all about exploring all things unforgettable and, of course, sharing the dream. This month, she discovers the strikingly beautiful De Hoop Nature Reserve and sits down for a mesmerising food experience at Hazendal Wine Estate.
The beauty of De Hoop
I’m often asked about great weekend spots situated along our beautiful coastline and I recently found the answer. As CapeNature’s flagship reserve and a World Heritage Site, De Hoop Nature Reserve’s 36,000 hectares boast a rich biodiversity of fauna and flora and over 70 kilometres of pristine coastline. And activities are ample: choose to merely relax next to the pool-with-view, explore one of the spectacular beaches at Koppie Alleen, go for scenic fynbos hikes, prepare a braai at your very own boma, or dine at Fig Tree Restaurant at Opstal Camp and choose a spectacular bottle of wine (or two) from William’s Wine Cellar (home to more than 3,000 wines).
For the more adventurous, drive to Potberg Mountain to view endangered Cape vultures in their natural habitat, set off on a guided and interpretive marine walk in search of various oceanic wonders, cycle among herds of game species with a qualified field guide, enjoy a guided bird walk, discover the vlei with an eco boat cruise, or experience the reserve’s pristine nature offerings on an open safari vehicle.
There’s also an accommodation option for any and every pocket and lifestyle: from the simplicity of rondawels and a camp or caravan site to a variety of self-catering cottages, suites and the spectacular Opstal Manor House – to mention but a few. The amazing team at De Hoop is also equipped for bigger functions and celebrations like weddings accommodating some 120 guests. Have you yet to decide where to spend your Easter Weekend? Look no further than De Hoop.
Food for the senses
Bookings are officially open for Hazendal Wine Estate’s Sensory Experience kicking off on 27 April 2021. Simply put, Hazendal’s latest culinary offering is magical – a superb food and wine pairing experience designed by executive Chef Michélle Theron and winemaker Clarise Sciocatti-Langeveldt. Bite-sized eats are delicately placed in a glass tower for the diner to carefully unpack like a Matryoshka doll while pairings are superbly done.
My favourite pairing was Hazendal’s 2018 Chardonnay with a savoury calamata olive madeleine, whipped salted butter and Dalewood Huguenot cheese. The grand finale? The most delectable chocolate gateau, expresso and caramel sable with chocolate opaline paired with Hazendal’s 2017 Pinotage.
Good to know: The tour of Hazendal’s wine library and tasting lasts some two hours. A maximum of 20 guests can be accommodated at a time and prior reservation is essential. The complete experience, including a welcome drink, guided tour, wine tasting and pairing portions, costs R680 per person. The experience is available twice a day from Tuesday to Friday at 10:00 and 14:00 and once a day on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:00. Bookings must be made 24 hours in advance by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 (0)21 205 5620 for more information.
What about the kids? Leave youngsters aged 5-13 at Hazendal’s immersive and fully-supervised edutainment centre Wonderdal. They can also enjoy the Kleine Hazen adventure putting park, plenty of open air spaces and lush lawns.