The 5 Best Family-Friendly South African Wine Estate Picnics
South Africa is hands down one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It has all the ingredients for a perfect family holiday. There are great beaches, family-friendly safaris, delicious food and wine and beautiful scenery everywhere you look. Talking of wine, why not go and enjoy one of the many family-friendly South African wine estate picnics in the wine region where you’ll sample this delicous food and wine with some of the most beautiful scenery in the country?
It’s no secret that we’re huge fans of South Africa. It’s one of the few countries that we return to because there are still so many parts we haven’t been to and things we haven’t done there. There are, quite simply, so many great family-friendly activities in South Africa that will make you want to return too. With the current exchange rate (the British Pound goes a long, long way there) and the lack of jetlag due to South Africa being on a similar time zone to the UK, it should be top of your family travel bucket list.
Where are the South African Winelands?
There are many wine regions in South Africa, but they’re mostly located in the south-west. The most well known wine regions are Stellenbosch, Franschoek and Paarl, with Stellenbosch and Franschoek competing for the title of most scenic. In our opinion, they’re the most scenic places to visit in the whole of South Africa.
The dramatic dark green mountains are very striking against the blue African skies. There are rows and rows of vines everywhere, beautiful purple jacaranda lining the roads and traditional white Cape Dutch buildings dotted around.
Stellenbosch and Franschoek are under an hour’s drive of Cape Town. If you’re staying in the Cape Town area, one of the Cape Town attractions you’ll see offered is actually a day trip to the winelands. We would highly recommend you find some lovely accommodation in the area, however, as there are so many wine farms to visit.
Is South African Wine Good?
In short, yes, South African wine is very good. It produces some award-winning and yet impressively good value wines. Wine lovers flock to the region to sample wines from their favourite wineries but if you’re not into wine, we’d still recommend you visit for the picnics alone.
There’s really nothing better on a beautiful sunny South African day than a family-friendly South African wine estate picnic lunch packed full of local specialities and treats paired with a bottle of award-winning wine.
The Benefits of a South African Wine Farm Picnic
While taking kids to a South African wine farm may not sound like the most family-friendly activity, we can assure you it will most likely end up being a highlight of your trip for five great reasons:
1. Enjoy world-class picnic food
The food prepared by our recommended wine farms is out of this world. They source fresh, local ingredients and everything is neatly packaged to provide you with a truly gourmet al-fresco dining experience. There are pastries, cheeses, patés, breads, cured meats and . Each one is completely individual so you might want to try a few if you’re in the area.
2. Enjoy world-class picnic food in stunning locations
All the wine farms we recommend are located in Stellenbosch or Franschoek. Each of the wine farms we recommend are located in areas of outstanding beauty, ensuring that you can enjoy stunning views while you dine on their delicious food.
Although the kids’ food is much simpler, we’ve found that there are sometimes a few ‘novelties’ and the kids have been really good with trying them. They’re not normally that adventurous with food (apart from loving a good curry!), so we can only put it down to their excitment at eating outside in these picturesque surroundings. It’s a lovely, relaxed, informal way to eat.
3. The kids can make a mess on a picnic and it doesn’t matter
Kids can be kids and roll around on the grass, knocking over a glass of water in the process. It doesn’t matter. This is one of our favourite reasons for having a picnic lunch over a restaurant meal because it’s so much less stressful, especially with two boys.
They’re actually a little better now that they’re older, but when our boys were younger, they had a limited attention span at mealtimes and our meals would be rushed. There would be spillages, and we would try to get out of the restaurant quickly without causing any damage or upset to other diners. There’s no need to worry about this on a picnic.
4. The kids can make noise on a picnic and it doesn’t matter
We should caveat this by saying that they may be a slight nuisance if they’re running round near other diners, chasing each other and screaming. They can certainly make more noise outdoors than in a restaurant, especially in the playground.
5. When the kids have finished, they can play while you eat in peace
One of the best things about a wine farm picnic is that the kids can play nearby while you finish your meal in relative peace before they come back and ask you to push them on the swings. Some of the winefarms have playgrounds nearby, some just have large open areas for the kids to run around and there are always lots of other kids around to play with. That’s a win in our books.
**Disclaimer – drive safely**
Before we cover our recommendations on the best family-friendly wine farms picnics, we just want to remind you that if you are going to sample the wines, pick your designated driver, or take an organised tour with a driver/guide or even book an Uber.
The 5 Best Family-Friendly South African Wine Estate Picnics
We’ve been to South Africa a few times and we have visited a fair few wine farms and enjoyed a fair few picnics. With this knowledge, we have compiled a list of our favourites based on their all-round suitability for families, including outstanding picnic food, idyllic settings and lots of fun for the kids in the form of playgrounds, activities and even family-friendly wine tasting where the kids can enjoy a special ‘grape juice’.
One of our favourite wine estates for an all-round family experience is Vergelegen. It’s located near Somerset West, about a 50 minute drive from Cape Town.
It was founded in 1700 and not only does it have a beautiful estate with spectacular grounds, it produces some top class wines. It has a couple of restaurants (one fine dining and one family-friendly), offers vineyard tours and wine tasting and has a kids playground. The picnics are taken in an enchanted camphor forest. Each table (complete with white tablecloth) is quite secluded as you’re surrounded by trees.
To make it a little less formal for the kids, they have the option of a blanket or beanbag placed next to the table. We loved it because it kept them entertained at ground level searching for bugs and stuff and allowed us to have a lovely peaceful meal in a beautiful setting.
You can find up to date menus on the Vergelegen website, but you will generally find home made breads, pates, chutneys, cold meats and cured fish, cheese and a dessert in your picnic basket. There’s something for everyone as you can also choose a Vegetarian/Pescataria or Vegan option (R290).
Picnic prices are : Adult R275pp and Kids R105pp. They are served daily between 12.15 – 13.30 and you need to book at least 24 hours in advance. If you want to try a little wine tasting before lunch, it starts from R30 and open between 9am and 4.30pm.
After lunch, you can have a stroll around the grounds and the kids can have a play in the large playground while the parents sit and enjoy the glorious views.
The Warwick estate is situated in the Stellenbosch area about 52km from Cape Town. It has an idyllic setting next to a lake with mountain views. Rugs are laid out under large umbrellas and the adult picnics are served on a wooden tray. They provide high-quality produce from locally sourced artisanal producers. We enjoyed their breads, charcuterie, cheese, onion marmalade.
The kid’s picnic comes in a separate box with a cheese roll, hummus and crudites and a sweet treat. It also includes an ice cream cone or lolly. They were so excited getting their boxes that they ran back from the play equipment to eat them, which has got to be a first!
We loved the fact that the playground was close by so the kids could wander over for a play to leave us in peace. They also had a water feature with small jets of water coming out of the ground which the kids found very quickly. It kept them entertained for a while. Bring a spare set of clothing!
One thing to maybe note here is that there were a lot of wasps when we visited which was a bit annoying. They seemed to like the home-made chutney!
Picnic prices are: Adult R550 for 2 or R300 for 1. Kids are R125pp. You can choose either Gourmet or Vegetarian/Vegan.
Allee Bleue Picnic
Allee Bleue is located in the Franschoek wine area about 60km from Cape Town. We gave Allee Bleue a try because it was close to where we were staying in Franschoek (and because we were quite frankly addicted to wine estate picnics by this point in our trip!). It is a little different to some of the other wine estates because it is more modern. We did a quick wine tasting before lunch but the boys were hungry so we didn’t linger over our degustation (check us out learning the lingo!).
The setting for the picnic is lovely. There are a number of picnic tables and you can choose where to sit. We chose to sit near the playground, under the shade of a large oak tree so that the kids could easily run off for a play when they had finished, and we could keep an eye on them while we finished up at a leisurely pace. They provided a huge selection of cold meats and cheeses and olives, salads and pies, chutneys and breads.
The kids gave a thumbs up to their cheese and ham ‘kebabs’ and the chicken wraps.
One of the great things about the Allee Blue picnic was that it was very informal, and the boys were allowed to bring their own balls to play with. There was so much space away from the other diners that there was no worry of a stray ball knocking over a glass of wine! They also decided to take off their tops and run through the sprinkler. Nobody batted an eyelid.
Picnic prices are: Adult R260pp / R495 for 2 (there is also a Vegetarian choice). Kids are R105pp.
Spier is another great all-rounder, and one of South Africa’s oldest wine estates, established in 1692. It produces some very highly rated wines; notably their Chenin Blanc. It is located in the Stellenbosch area, around 40km from Cape Town.
The picnics are taken down by the river, but you need to either bring your own blanket or hire them from the estate. Spier focus on locally produced, organic food and you can expect to enjoy a wide range of charcuterie and cheese and pickles, frittata, salads and brownies. The kids will have something simple like a ham and cheese sandwich, root crisps and a healthy sweet treat.
Spier is well-known for having a lot of activities in addition to the traditional wine tasting. They have a number of restaurants and a craft market. They also have lots of child-friendly activities including ‘wine tasting’ and cooking lessons. It’s home to Eagle Encounters, a bird-of-prey rehabilitation and conservation project where you can see flight displays. You can also do a tour of the estate on a Segway tours – although maybe not if you have had a little too much wine!
Picnic prices are: Adult R580 for 2 (with the option of Vegetarian) – this includes a bottle of Spier wine! Kids are R150pp
Delheim is situated in the Stellenbosch area on the slopes of the Simonsberg mountains and is about 50km or 50 mins from Cape Town. The picnics are served in wicker baskets on cotton blankets spread out under the oak trees by a river. It’s such a beautiful setting, very much the traditional picnic setup. There is a wide selection of home-made delights including meats, cheeses, pickles, breads. The kids have a tomatoes, cucumber and samosas with a little sweet treat.
Picnic prices are: Adult R290pp (Gourmet) R250pp (standard) R250pp (Vegetarian). Kids are R40pp
It’s not always easy to find an activity or a day out that can keep the whole family entertained, but a family-friendly picnic on a wine farm ticks all the boxes.
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Find accommodation in South Africa’s wine region
We took the Cape Town & Garden Route Lonely planet guide with us which has a great section in the winelands.
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