Hotels in Winelands: Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

Here are hotels we recommend. Prices are a rough estimate for an entry level room for low season/high season.

  1. Franschhoek Country Villas (Franschhoek) $315
  2. Le Quartier Francais Hotel (Franschhoek) $590/$700
  3. Oude Werf Hotel (Stellenbosch) $270
  4. Lanzerac Hotel & Spa (Stellenbosch) $540/$750
  5. River Manor Boutique Hotel (Stellenbosch) $180
  6. Southern Sun de Wagen (Stellenbosch) $160/$240

The hotels in Franschhoek offer a shuttle to town and to the Wine Tram.

For a special meal, check out the Delaire Graff Restaurant.

Visit the Winelands on your trip to Cape Town in South Africa!


1) Franschhoek Country Villas (Franschhoek)

Luxury boutique country house just a short distance from the center of Franschhoek and from the Wine Tram. It is a beautiful French-like garden area. There are both a heated and unheated pools.

There are standard rooms in lodge, 4-room building, 2-room building, 2-floor rooms, and amazing villa rooms.

Breakfast is a cold buffet plus hot options off a menu and cappuccinos. Arguably, the best croissants around.

Free parking and free shuttle to/from the Wine Tram.

2) Le Quartier Francais Hotel (Franschhoek)

Quiet neighborhood 2 blocks from the main street. Sophisticated boutique hotel with luxury restaurant and spa. You can look forward to a free breakfast buffet, a poolside bar, and a terrace at Le Quartier Francais. At the two on-site restaurants, enjoy breakfast, lunch, dinner, kids’ meals, and garden views. Free in-room WiFi is available to all guests, along with a garden and a library. An outdoor pool with sun loungers and pool umbrellas.


3) Oude Werf Hotel (Stellenbosch)

Located right in the middle of downtown Stellenbosch, Oude Werf has 58 rooms on 3 floors. Some rooms are in the original building, which are more historic, and some are in the newer buildings, which are more modern. There are 3 levels of rooms — all have same amenities, but some bigger than others, some on a corner, and some have balcony. The rooms on the pool are bit like a fishbowl.

There is a medium sized pool in a nice courtyard with lots of lounge areas and garden. There is a boardroom that seats 14 people and has a large TV. Valet parking is free. This is the only hotel I visited that had a steamer for clothes and a towel heater.

Breakfast 7-11am with hot and cold buffet plus a la carte. Cappuccinos are included at breakfast. The restaurant is also open for lunch and dinner to the public. The bar also serves coffee and is popular for afternoon tea.

There are lots of restaurants and shops right outside the door. The hotel can organize a day of wine tasting with a local wine expert.


4) Lanzerac Hotel & Spa (Stellenbosch)

Built in 1692, the hotel has 54 rooms. 8 rooms have fireplaces, 4 have private plunge pools. Minibar is included. All rooms are designed for 2 people, but a daybed can be brought in for a child. There are 5 shared pools, one with a small pool bar. Room categories are Classic, Luxury, Stable, Manor House (6 rooms common lounge), Suite.

The hotel has a rose garden, whiskey and cigar lounge (good for watching sports). You can walk through the vineyards. Shuttle to Stellenbosch 3 times a day.

The gastro-pub has a fireplace and patio. Breakfast and dinner are served in the main restaurant. Breakfast is a cold buffet and hot dishes off a menu. There is a large private dining room, and smaller board rooms, which can be used for private dining. They offer Saturday afternoon tea and Sunday brunch.

Spa is one of the best in the country and open to the public, so it is important to pre-book services. It offers full spa services, indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi, steam room, gym, and juice bar.

Wine tasting areas indoors and outdoors, chocolate pairing, deli (famous scones), open 8am-6pm, cellar tours offered 11am and 3pm, no reservation necessary.


5) River Manor Boutique Hotel (Stellenbosch)

River Manor is just a couple of blocks from the center of Stellenbosch. It has a B&B / oasis feel to it. There 2 pools in a cozy garden.

It has 18 rooms in 2 buildings — Loft, Standard, Deluxe, Superior, Family (4 people). Room #3 has a balcony.

Breakfast has a cold buffet and order hot dishes off a menu. The cappuccino machine is available all day. At 3pm, they offer tea with cake.

The spa has massages, mani/pedi, and facials.


6) Southern Sun de Wagen (Stellenbosch)

Located on the edge of town, there are 22 rooms: deluxe, attic, 8 suites in separate building, 2 family rooms.

Breakfast 7-11am, hot and cold buffet, lunch and dinner served at restaurant next door.

Interior courtyard is lovely with tall grasses and small pool.

Visit the Winelands on your trip to Cape Town in South Africa!

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Cape Town: Wineries for Families

  1. Fairview Wine and Cheese (Paarl)
  2. Rickety Bridge Estate (Franschhoek)
  3. Boschendal Wine Estate (Franschhoek)
  4. Hazendal Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)
  5. Spier Wine Farm (Stellenbosch)

Visit the Winelands on your trip to Cape Town in South Africa!


1) Fairview Wine and Cheese (Paarl)

At Fairview Cheese and Wine, all wine tastings are paired with cheese.  They offer a premium wine tasting in the room in the back.  Picnics are not allowed, but there is a restaurant. The grounds are beautiful with a lovely koi pond.

For kids, they offer a special tasting with cheese and juice.  There is a pen with goats and tower that the goats climb up on stairs.


2) Rickety Bridge Estate (Franschhoek)

Rickety Bridge Estate has wine tastings for kids (juice with cheese or chocolate).  There are also cheese platters and pizza.  They have indoor and outdoor seating in a lovely area with mature trees.    There is also a playground and boules (bocce ball).  The separate restaurant is open for lunch and dinner.  Cellar tours are by appointment.


3) Boschendal Wine Estate (Franschhoek)

For kids, there is a tree fort, pump park (kids bikes for rent), gardens for walking, big chickens walking around, and an ice cream truck.  For parents, there is wine tasting, deli restaurant, and farm shop.  This is a large winery, but a lovely setting with tall trees.


4) Hazendal Wine Estate (Stellenbosch)

Wonderdal is a huge, awesome play area for kids 5-13 ($7-19 for 2 hours).  There is a free car museum with several Bentleys.  The wine tasting area is mostly indoors and very sophisticated.  The outdoor area is fairly small.  We can arrange the loft VIP tasting area for 6 people.  They do have cheese or charcuterie pairings as well.  There is also a beer garden with pizza and burgers.  They also have a hotel, golf course, and spa.  No reservation is needed for the cellar tour.


5) Spier Wine Farm (Stellenbosch)

Spier is a large winery with lots of activities. One unique element is the Eagle Encounter where you can get up close to a number of raptors. There are also walks, Segway tours, and a craft market. For adults, they offer charcuterie, cheese and olive platters to accompany the wine tasting, a wine blending experience, and a spa.

Visit the Winelands on your trip to Cape Town in South Africa!

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Okavango Delta Sleep Out Deck

Fall asleep gazing at the glittering night sky and gently wake up to the stunning African sunrise and glorious sound of birdsong. Comfort has also been kept in mind, and the deck is fitted with a private toilet and mosquito nets. In keeping with the beautiful design of Camp Okavango in Botswana, the Sleep-Out Deck is elevated to take advantage of the breath-taking panoramic views and keep guests protected from the roaming wildlife. Facing eastwards, you can take in the spectacular Botswana sunrise, as Camp Okavango’s outstanding staff will provide fresh morning tea and coffee to take in the experience.

The Sleep-Out Deck is available to book from the 1ST OF APRIL TO THE 31ST OF OCTOBER and is a complimentary experience for couples and families staying three nights or longer.

The sleep-out is a unique wilderness experience set-away in a tranquil location away from the camp. Guests will, however, have the company of a qualified guide on call who will stay in a guide tent a short radio call away should they need any help.

After dinner, you will be escorted by your guide to the sleep out deck from the main camp which is about a 10-minute drive away, to enjoy a night under the stars. Guests will be asked which drinks they would like to enjoy while they are sleeping under the stars. There is coffee and tea for the morning. Guests then radio into the guide in the morning to and activity can start straight from the sleep out deck, or they can return to the lodge later in the morning for breakfast.

Enclosed en-suite toilet and running water is available right next to the bed. Guests may shower when returning to their main room in the camp.

Guests’ room is not vacated/checked out of and therefor available at any point should the guests feel uncomfortable.

We recommend skipping the scheduled early activity to enjoy a tranquil morning watching sunrise from the sleep-out deck with tea/coffee watching the morning birds and wildlife come to life. Guests can return to the camp for full breakfast as soon as they are ready.

A mosquito net is provided over the king-size bed.

Guides are stationed in a separate deck about 200mtrs away and in keep in communication with the guests by radio, should at any time the guests feel uncomfortable.

Helicopter scenic flights early in the morning from the sleep-out deck is possible.

FAMILIES: An extra bed can be arranged for the sleep-out deck and needs to be requested with the consultant at the time of booking.

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Salt Pans Sleep Out at Leroo La Tau in Botswana

Sleep out under a blanket of stars across the endless Botswana sky on one of the world’s largest salt flats – the Makgadikgadi Salt Pans in Botswana. A place so remote both sound and light pollution are non-existent, an experience described by many as life-changing. With nothing more than a cozy bed between you and the vastness around you, the sleep-out takes place on a remote salt pan in the southern area of the Makgadikgadi Pans near Leroo La Tau. It is like being on the moon!

It is available mid-June through the end of October, depending on the rains. You need at least a 3 night stay, and it is best to pre-book.

It is a 4-hour drive to the pans. You can add a helicopter transfer to or from the camp. You have a private, very comfortable mattress, toilet tent, and dinner table.

This is a safe and fully guided excursion with your Leroo La Tau team on hand to help
setup camp, prepare meals and ensure that on departure your remote sleeping place
is as untouched as you found it. It can be chilly at night, so best to bring a hat, gloves, and jacket.

It is safe, comfortable, and one of the most amazing and truly unique experiences!

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Johannesburg Airport Hotels

There are a number of hotels right by the Johannesburg OR Tambo Airport. All hotel rooms have a/c, telephone, TV, hairdryer, free Wifi, safe, fridge, and laundry service (extra charge).

  1. Intercontinental
  2. City Lodge
  3. Southern Sun
  4. Protea OR Tambo (Marriott)

You can walk to the Intercontinental and City Lodge. Southern Sun and Protea have free shuttles between the airport and hotel. To find the hotel shuttles, after exiting security, follow signs for the Bus Terminal, past the airport hotels. Go outside, and all hotel buses are lined up in one parking lot. Look for a shuttle with the name of your hotel. The people there will help you find the right one.

See also:


1) Intercontinental

This is a luxury hotel an easy walk from the airport. After immigration and customs, follow signs for Exit and Hotels. Follow signs for Intercontinental — go outside and it is on your left. A porter can be arranged to escort you as well.

The Intercontinental has a sophisticated and calm feeling to it. The hotel has 138 rooms — classic, classic with balcony (4), executive (corners), and presidential suite (1). Rooms come with robes, slippers, iron/ironing board, and coffee station.

On the ground level is the restaurant, small bar, lounge area, and business center. Breakfast is partially buffet and hot items off a menu.

On the 8th floor is the medium sized indoor heated pool, large gym, and full spa.


2) City Lodge

Walk from the airport. By the Intercontinental sign which takes you outside, instead follow the City Lodge signs up 2 escalators. Go down the long hallway along the parking ramp to the end. Take the hotel elevator to Level H.

The hotel has a huge restaurant but no separate bar. It has a medium sized outdoor pool with fountains and a small gym.

In the lobby, there are screens with flight schedules, scale for weighing luggage, and a water station. Expect long lines to check in and out.


3) Southern Sun

A quick shuttle from the airport, departing every 15 minutes. It is nicely decorated, but feels a bit sparse.

There are 366 rooms — either standard, superior, or executive. Standard and superior come with 1 king or 2 twin beds. Executive rooms only come with 1 king and also have robes and slippers. There is 1 double room for families. Only some rooms have a mini-fridge, but they can be requested.

The hotels has a restaurant, bar, and many separate lounge areas for gathering. Breakfast and dinner are a buffet.

There is also a business center, big gym, medium sized outdoor pool with nice garden area. The pool is accessed off the restaurant, which is a little odd.


4) Protea OR Tambo (Marriott)

This is a 5-minute shuttle from the airport. The bus leaves the airport at 15 and 45 minutes after the hour. It leave the hotel for the airport at 00 and 30 minutes after the hour.

The Protea is a Marriott property that was remodeled in early 2024. It has an interesting airplane theme throughout. There is a nice restaurant and separate bar area. Outside is a large pool and spacious garden area with seating.

Rooms are spacious and comfortable. The toilet has a door, but the shower and sink are open to the room except with a curtain. There is a coffee/tea station with instant coffee but real creamers.

Breakfast is buffet. Lunch and dinner are also served in the dining room.

See also:

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Travel Apps 2024

Here are my go-to travel apps these days. I typically put these in a folder on the first page of my phone so that I can access them easily. Make sure they are downloaded/updated, and you are logged in if you will be out of cell service.

1) WhatsApp / Skype

WhatsApp is used internationally for free texting and calling (both users must have number on WhatsApp). Skype is another option for making international calls — cheap but not free, but you can all any number even if they are not on Skype.

2) Wallet

Keep your airline boarding passes in your Wallet. Also your Priority Pass card if you have one.

3) Airline Apps

Include the airlines you are flying on so that you can check-in and get notified of any changes.

4) Google Translate

A great way to translate menus and even talk with people. Download the language in your area.

5) Google Maps / Rome2Rio

Download the area where you are going in Google Maps so that you can view the map offline. It may have the local bus and train schedules. Rome2Rio can also help figure out how to get between cities.

6) MapMyRun / Strava

If you are hiking, these are great apps to track your hike.

7) Uber/Lyft/Lime/Bolt

Ride share, bikes, and scooters depending on the area.

8) GPSmyCity

This is a tour app for popular tourist cites and towns. It is a great option if you like to explore on your own.

9) PeakFinder/Night Sky

Fun apps in the mountains and in a dark sky.

10) Photos

Create a folder of travel photos you will need — passport, drivers license, travel insurance, travel itinerary, etc.

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Highlights of Santiago

Here are some of the most popular sites in Santiago:

  1. Bellavista + Patio Bellavista
  2. San Cristobal Hill
  3. Plaza de Armas + Mercado Central + Santa Lucia Market
  4. Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago
  5. Lastarria
  6. Santa Lucia Hill
  7. Wine Tasting

See Also:


Bellavista + Patio Bellavista

Fun neighborhood with many restaurants and shops near the Castillo Rojo hotel.


San Cristobal Hill

Take a tram or hike up to the top of this hill near Bellavista.


Plaza de Armas + Mercado Central + Santa Lucia Market

Santiago is a very walkable city with many interesting sights!


Metropolitan Cathedral of Santiago

Beautiful cathedral right on the Plaza de Armas.


Lastarria

Fun area with great hotels, restaurants, and shops.


Santa Lucia Hill

A quick hike in the Lastarria neighborhood.


Wine Tasting

There are many wineries in the Santiago area making a great day trip.


Contact us if you are traveling to Chile and Santiago!

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Hotel Las Torres — Torres del Paine, Chile

Hotel Las Torres is located in the Central Sector right at the trail head for the Las Torres Base trek.

Visit Hotel Las Torres:

The main building has the front desk and the Pionero Lounge, which is a large, cozy lounge/bar area. They offer homemade beer and craft cocktails. Lunch is served in the bar. There is also a lounge/sitting area in each section of rooms.

To the right is the excursion area where the guides will walk you through what excursions are available each day. Past that is the restaurant and past that is the spa.

It has 82 rooms and 2 suites. Each room has 1 king or 2 twin beds, closet, desk and chair, large windows that open, bath and shower combo (small tub).

The spa has 1 private jacuzzi, 2 private dry saunas, and 2 massage rooms. Everything is at an additional charge.

There are stables for 200 horses and an organic farm.

There is an interpretive trail by the hotel, which takes about 30 minutes. It is well laid out and interesting.

Breakfast is a large buffet and eggs made to order right in front of you. There is a large menu for dinner.

You receive a gift bag of a metal water bottle, snack bag, and neck pillow.

It is a 2 hour drive from Puerto Natales. At 1hr40m, you reach the park entrance where you show your entrance ticket (driver has). They have nice vans with reclining seats and USB charging ports. It is 5 hours to Punta Arenas and 5 hours to El Calafate.

The Lamb Experience dinner is a special experience where you share a lamb that is slow cooked for 6 hours over a fire in the middle of the room. There are also roasted vegetables, wine, dessert, and hot mulled wine. It is offered every night in high season and every other night in shoulder season. This is for up to 15 people in a separate building. It is included in the all-inclusive program, or it is extra.

Hotel Las Torres Lamb Dinner:

  • Wine
  • Grilled Potatoes, Giant carrots, Red peppers, Onions, Apples, Squash
  • Salad
  • Lamb over an open fire
  • Bread
  • Stewed Peaches and barley in sweet sauce
  • Hot mulled wine
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EcoCamp — Torres del Paine, Chile

EcoCamp is in the central sector uphill from the Welcome Center and near Hotel Las Torres and the trailhead for the Towers Base.

This is the place to go if you want to be off grid (no cell service, no Wifi, no TV), if you care about lodges that are environmentally friendly, and/or if you want yoga. They have meals that suit all diets, but are the best option if you are vegan.

There are 13 Standard Domes, 4 Superior Domes, and 16 Suites.

The Suite Domes are the largest, have a wood fireplace, and a private bathroom. There are also Loft Suite Domes that sleep up to 4 people.

The Superior Domes are medium sized, have a gas heater, and a private bathroom. They have the best views of the mountains, but there are only 4 of them, so they book up quickly.

The Standard Domes do not have heat, but they are small and are designed to keep heat in, so they are actually pretty comfortable. They will provide extra blankets if you need them. With the Standard Domes, there is a shared bathroom with 3 showers and 3 toilets for each men and women. You are given a towel, and there are racks near the showers for each dome to hang wet towels.

Every dome has coffee and tea, and a safe.

There is a Yoga Dome, and yoga is offered at 7am, 6pm, and 7pm daily. There is also a Massage Dome, and massages cost extra. They offer an Eco Tour everyday at 5:30pm where they talk about how Eco Camp is environmentally friendly. This includes the micro hydro project and solar that produce electricity for the camp, the extensive toilet composting, and the greenhouse.

Breakfast is an extensive buffet with many extras. You will eat breakfast with others doing the same excursion and your guide(s).

At breakfast, you are given a reusable metal container that you put your lunch in. There is a separate table with lunch items. After your excursion, they collect the contains to clean them for the next day.

You will also be given a menu at breakfast to order your dinner. There are typically 3 starters to choose from, 3 main courses, and 3 desserts. There is always a meat option and a vegan option for the starters and main courses. Wine served with dinner is included.

The dining room also has coffee, tea, and snacks all day (small sandwiches and a couple of sweet treats).

You will meet with your guide in the evening to discuss what excursions you want to do the next day. They will tell you what time to meet for breakfast and departure the next day (breakfast 1 hour before departure). Then you eat dinner with the people and guide from the day.

The bar is open 4-11pm. Every night during your briefing before dinner, you get a welcome drink — typically a pisco sour of the day (pineapple or melon or passion fruit) or a juice of the day (possibly beet lemonade) — and a few appetizers.

There are 3 excursions offered every day, and every day of the week is different (but the same every week). Take a look at the schedule to make sure you get to do all the excursions you want. They may also change the schedule depending on weather.

There is Wifi for a fee in the Welcome Center at the bottom of the hill.

Be sure to check out sunrise and sunset!

See EcoCamp Tour/Trek Options >>

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Hotels in El Chalten, Argentina

There is a great selection of hotels for your visit to El Chalten, Argentina!

  1. Destino Sur (4-star)
  2. El Puma (4-star)
  3. Chalten Suites (4-star)
  4. Los Cerros del Chalten (4-star)

See Also:


1) Destino Sur (4-star)

Destino Sur is on the north end of town near the trail head for Laguna de los Tres. It is a few blocks from the very center of town, but there are plenty of lovely restaurants and bars very nearby.

There are 37 rooms — Budget, Standard, Superior, Premium, and Superior Duplex. The rooms have the same amenities, but they get larger with each upgrade. Corner rooms are nice because you have extra windows. The Superior Duplex rooms sleep 3-5 people. Rooms have a water kettle and coffee maker with pods.

There is a spa with a jacuzzi, small warm pool, and dry sauna — open 1-10pm. Massages are available at an extra cost. There is a very small gym — treadmill and kettle bells.

There are free bikes to use around town for 2 hours. It is a nice way to get to the ranger office and hike up the ridge.

Breakfast is a buffet with a large selection. Dinner is also served in the restaurant. There is a separate bar and lounge area. The bar also serves espresso/lattes. Wifi is spotty.


2) El Puma (4-star)

El Puma is located near the center of town but up the hill to west near the Laguna Torre trail head. It has a friendly ranch feel.

It has 17 rooms — 12 Standard and 5 Suites. The suites are in a separate building behind the main building, which has another lounge area and a desk area. Two of the suites can be locked off together. All rooms can have 1 king or 2 twin beds and have a tub and shower. The Suites are larger, have a private patio, desk, and water kettle. Rooms have no TV or telephone, and only suites have a minibar.

There is a cozy lounge with fireplace near the front desk with books and games. Breakfast is buffet. The dining room also serves dinner but no lunch.


3) Chalten Suites (4-star)

Chalten Suites is located right on the main street in the center of town.

There are 33 rooms — Standard, Balcony, and Superior. Standard rooms are on the first floor. Balcony rooms are on the second floor and have a very small balcony. They have the best views and can only be a double. Superior rooms are on the ground floor, are a little bigger, and have a jetted tub. All the rooms have 1 king or 2 twin beds and have a large stand-up shower. There are also 3 cheaper basic rooms that are smaller and with no view, and there is 1 handicap room on the ground floor. 2 Standard rooms have a connecting door with 1 double + 1 triple room.

Breakfast is a buffet. Dinner is served in the upstairs dining room with an all-glass room with great views. No lunch is offered, but you can get a box lunch for your hike.

There are no spa facilities, but it is being built for the 2024-2025 season. They have a concierge to help book excursions.


4) Los Cerros del Chalten (4-star)

The Los Cerros del Chalten Boutique Hotel is located near the center of town up the hill to the west. It has great views towards the mountains and overlooking the town.

There is a nice open lounge/bar/dining space with all glass overlooking the area. Breakfast is a buffet6:30-10:30am. Lunch and Dinner are also served.

There are 44 rooms — Standard, Superior, Chalten, and Premium (4). All rooms have 1 king or 2 twin beds, shower, a jacuzzi tub, table and chairs, and a large window to enjoy the view. The upper floors can feel the wind more than other rooms. There are triple rooms but no connecting rooms. The Chalten and Premium rooms have a double-size jacuzzi tub, coffee maker with pods. The Premium rooms are much larger with 2 large windows, dressing room and extra lounge chair. Rooms are either town view or valley view (valley view more expensive).

Rooms have no TV or minibar. There is a large refrigerator by the front desk that guests can use. All rooms have a water kettle.

There is a spa with 2 jacuzzi tubs and 2 saunas. It is open 2-9pm and can be used by up to 6 people at a time for 45 minutes (mixed groups, reservation). There is 1 massage room, and massages cost extra.

The front desk is 2 small desks. There is juice, ice tea, and nibbles at the front entrance. New guests get a welcome drink at the bar. There is a host 5-10pm that will explain all the activities in the area. They also have a wine cellar and sommelier.


Contact us to book your next trip to El Chalten, Argentina!

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