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Sunset at De Grendel Estate in Durbanville South Africa

Cape Town Day Trip to the Durbanville Wine Farms

In Africa, South Africa, Wine and Beverage by Daryl & Mindi Hirsch10 Comments

Visiting the Durbanville wine farms is a great Cape Town day trip. Though just a half hour drive from the heart of the Mother City, the Durbanville Wine Valley feels like a world away.

Sunset at De Grendel Estate in Durbanville South Africa

Famous for its stunning sunsets, Cape Town has several perfect spots for watching the yellow orb’s daily disappearance into the abyss. Some Capetonians believe that the best spot is atop Signal Hill high above Sea Point, while others prefer oceanside sunset views like the one from Camps Bay where the uninterrupted sun creeps into the Atlantic Ocean.

Though we loved the sunsets at both of these prime spots, we experienced one of our favorite Cape Town sunsets in nearby Durbanville. We found the view of Table Mountain, Signal Hill and Lion’s Head against the fiery sky to be extraordinary. Plus, drinking wine sundowners while we watched the sky’s color explosion made the experience all the more memorable.

Most tourists on a South Africa dream vacation don’t know about Durbanville South Africa and its magical sunsets. This under-the-radar status may be changing in the near future. Though better known for sheep farming and wheat production, Durbanville is part of South Africa’s new designation “Wine of Origin Cape Town” along with Constantia, Hout Bay and Philadelphia. A total of 30 wineries populate this new Cape Town wine district including the 12 official Durbanville wine farms.

Sauvignon Blanc Grapes in Durbanville South Africa

Pictured here is a bounty of Sauvignon Blanc grapes about to unloaded from a truck and pressed. The Durbanville Hills winery claims to be the largest ’boutique’ producer in the world.

Pro Tip:  Cape Town is also near more well-known wine areas including Stellenbosch, Franschooek and Paarl. Though it’s possible to do a day trip at these three wine trails, we recommend an overnight visit due to the sheer quantity of wineries and restaurants.

Thanks to favorable weather conditions marked by hot temperatures and cooling winds, the Durbanville wine farms produce surprisingly good wines. While in Durbanville, we uncovered high quality, low-cost wine prevalent on the Western Cape. World-renowned wine varietals like Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc grow here along with Western Cape favorites like Chenin Blanc and Pinotage.

Even better, the Durbanville wine farms all feature tasting rooms and restaurants, making Durbanville an ideal day trip destination from Cape Town. Families may choose to picnic on Durbanville’s rolling hills, soaking up sun on long summer days. Food travelers are more likely to skip the picnic option and instead visit one or more Durbanville wine farms for the opportunity to taste local wine and food. But where to go for this Cape Town city break?

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Day Trip to the Durbanville Wine Farms

Restaurant at Phizante Kraal Restaurant in Durbanville South Africa

The restaurant at Phizante Kraal achieves a modern yet cozy atmosphere. This is just one of the many Durbanville restaurants.

Our drive on the N1 to the Durbanville Wine Valley was just long enough time to get the car into cruising mode. Thanks to Cape Town’s morning rush hour traffic, our 30-minute drive morphed into 40 minutes before we arrived in the city’s bucolic northern suburb. Curious since we had not previously heard much about the Durbanville Wine Trail, we were pleased to find a laid-back community with much to offer for day trippers with a penchant for South Africa’s bounty. In other words, the Durbanville Valley is a hidden gem for food and wine lovers like us.

Recommended Durbanville Valley Day Trip Itinerary

We recommend visiting at least three Durbanville wine farms during a Durbanville Valley day trip to experience the different food travel experiences offered by each wine farm. Try these three for a day of food, wine and fun.

Breakfast at Phizante Kraal

Maret and Juan van Deventer at Phizante Kraal in Durbanville South Africa

Maret and Juan Deventer run the restaurant at Phizante Kraal. Maret handles the front of the house while Juan runs the kitchen.

Maret van Deventer is the welcoming face at Phizante Kraal. Along with chef husband Juan, she runs the restaurant at the historic wine farm where she confided to us that “Chenin grows like a weed”. The hot climate and cool Atlantic winds may create certain farming challenges in Durbanville, but the resulting hardy grapes are worth the extra effort. Fourth generation owners André and Ronelle Brink make sure of that.

During our visit, we skipped tasting wine in the sleek tasting room and instead opted to start our Durbanville day trip with breakfast in the vineyard’s restaurant. Located in a converted barn dating back to 1767, the restaurant, with high ceiling beams, a stone floor and modern decorative touches, manages to maintain a level of funky farm rusticity with a sense of refinement. Also, a necessity for breakfast in or near Cape Town, the restaurant serves artisan coffee crafted to order.

French Toast at Phizante Kraal in Durbanville South Africa

French Toast Made with Mosbolletjie Bread and Served with Salted Honeycomb Butter, Toasted Nuts, Crispy Bacon and Figs

Sensing our combination of hunger and curiosity, Deventer chatted with us as she brought out dishes like the Full Farmer with scrambled eggs, streaky bacon, fried mushrooms, cooked tomato and house-made boerewors, a spicy farm sausage. French toast made with mosbolletjie bread and served with salted honeycomb butter soon followed. As much as we enjoyed the French toast topped with figs grown on the farm, we preferred slathering salted butter directly on to slices of mosbolletjie, a seasonal bread made with fermented wine and flour, so that we could better taste the unique, sweet flavor with hints of anise.

Pro Tip:  Consider going to Phizante Kraal for a relaxed Saturday brunch. The restaurant is closed on Sundays.

Far from being a gentleman’s farm, Phizante Kraal focuses on farming livestock like sheep and cattle in addition to producing wine. Roosters strut around a large garden where gooseberries grow on bushes next to rows of herbs, lettuce and a variety of vegetables. Even the garden’s pretty purple flowers are edible.

Roosters at Phizante in Durbanville South Africa

Roosters rule the roost at Phizante Kraal.

But what about the wine? We drank glasses of the 2015 Anna De Koning Chenin Blanc with our breakfast, a limited release (our bottle was bottle 925 of 2,000) barrel fermented wine named after the original owner’s mother. We loved this complex, rich Chenin Blanc and wished we had time to linger over winemaker Thys Louw’s buttery wine, but we had more to see and taste in Durbanville.

Phizante Kraal is located at Groot Phesantekraal Farm, Klipheuwel Way (R302), Durbanville, Cape Town, 7550, South Africa.

Lunch at Durbanville Hills

Grapes at Durbanville Hills in Durbanville South Africa

During the harvest season, trucks deliver grapes to Durbanville Hills from local farms.

A 20-minute drive from Phizante Kraal towards Cape Town, the Durbanville Hills Wine Estate is an award-winning wine farm that produces a substantial amount of wine and exports a small percentage to the US (in partnership with U.S. wine importer Terlato), the UK and Asia.

Durbanville Hills Winery in Durbanville South Africa

The Durbanville Winery production facility is clean, modern and huge.

A joint venture with local farmers, Durbanville Hills’ vast production facility provides a vivid contrast to the more intimate Phizante Kraal space. Operating in a vast building as the “largest boutique winery in the world”, Durban Hills processes 8,000 tons of grapes and provides 100,000 wine tastings each year. Since this wine farm procures grapes from local farmers, the production includes every varietal of the area ranging from mass-produced easy drinking whites to limited edition Bordeaux blends.

Chef Louisa Greef at Durbanville Hills in Durbanville South Africa

Chef Louisa Greeff runs the kitchen at Durbanville Hills with passion and a whole lot of butter.

“Food and wine is a very personal taste.”

Chef Louisa Greeff sat with us before her lunch service to share her food and wine philosophy along with a bottle of the winery’s flagship wine, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc. This philosophy involves cooking with local South African flavors plus a “whole lot of butter” and cream.

She collaborates with the Durbanville Hills winemakers when creating the restaurant’s seasonal menus filled with dishes like Smoked Fish Cakes and Grilled Venison Loin. Greeff’s passion for her country’s cuisine temporarily distracted us from the restaurant’s expansive picture windows with views of Cape Town’s major landmarks.

Lunch at Durbanville Hills Winery in Durbanville South Africa

We did our best with this lunch pairing platter at Durbanville Hills. We wish we had friends with us to help since the plate was so big.

Once we settled down for lunch, we couldn’t stop staring out of those windows. Watching the grapes arrive at Durbanville Hills by the truckload was an impressive scene, but the restaurant’s panoramic views of Cape Town were a veritable showstopper.

During our lunch, we tasted more wine including Chardonnay and Blanc de Blanc while we attacked a plate as food as epic as Table Mountain. Seriously, the plate we shared was big enough for an army. Between the food and the view, the Durbanville Hills restaurant is one of the most popular restaurants in Durbanville.

Pro Tip: End your meal with a bowl of Chef Greeff’s meringue based ice cream. In addition to vanilla pod and dark chocolate, she prepares seasonal flavors which change daily.

Durbanville Hills is located at Tygerberg Valley Rd, Cape Farms, Cape Town, 7550, South Africa.

Dinner at De Grendel Estate

De Grendel Estate Sunset in Durvanville South Africa

We were all smiles as we watched the sunset at De Grendel Estate in Durbanville. We posed for this picture as the sky exploded with colors over Table Mountain behind us.

We experienced a stunning sunset in Durbanville at the De Grendel Estate. The lauded restaurant’s vista on the slopes of the Plattekloof Hills provides a memorably colorful show as the sun sets over Table Mountain. Watching the sunset from the quiet hills at De Grendel was like having a private balcony to a sunset with every epic Cape Town peak visible in the distance.

The drama at De Grendel Estate isn’t limited to its stellar sunset views. For us, the drama of this wine farm started as we drove along the winding roads from the front gate to the restaurant situated adjacent to sloping rows of vines and continued as we sipped our first glass of wine – the luxurious MCC Brut, a fruit-forward sparkling wine made with 70% Chardonnay grapes and 30% Pinot grapes.

“78% of the bottle happens in the vineyard.”

Fourth generation owner Sir De Villiers Graaff brings an agricultural background and sense of style to the operation, but he doesn’t do it alone. Cellar master Charles Hopkins blends grapes hand-picked from vineyards in Tygerberg and Witzenberg before storing them in three types of oak barrels – American, French and Romanian. In the restaurant, Chef Ian Bergh creates exquisite dishes with local, hand-churned butter and hyper-local meats and produce.

Pro Tip:  Don’t hesitate to order wine with dinner. The restaurant charges cellar prices in the restaurant.

De Grendel Estate Sunset in Durbanville South Africa

We can’t get enough of the sunset view of Table Mountain during our dinner at De Grendel Estate.

We certainly enjoyed our elegant meal at one of the best restaurants in Durbanville with dishes like oysters with maple butter and an organic pork belly that literally melted in our mouths, not to mention a bottle of 2016 De Grendel Winifred, a white blend of wooded Semillon, Viognier and Chardonnay grapes. But it’s the sunset that stands out of the highlight of our Durbanville day trip.

Long story short – go to Durbanville Valley for the wine and stay for a sunset dinner at De Grendel Estate. It’s one of the best things to do in Cape Town.

De Grendel Estate is located at Plattekloof Road, Panorama, Cape Town, 7500, South Africa.

Durbanville Day Trip Logistics

Grape growing season starts in August, with the harvest in the South African summer month of February. We suggest visiting Durbanville during these months.

Once you pick the date, getting to Durbanville is relatively easy. Tourists should rent a car for the day if the plan is to visit multiple wine farms in Durbanville. Otherwise, Uber is a cost-effective, low-stress option.


Hungry for more? Be sure to check out our Cape Town Food Guide with our favorite places to eat and drink in Cape Town.

If you’re thirsty, then check out our Stellenbosch Wine Tasting Guide with twelve different Stellenbosch wine farm experiences.


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You’ll want to do more in Cape Town beyong spending an awesome day in Durbanville. Click here to find an awesome Cape Town tour or try one of these tours:

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We thank the Durbanville Wine Valley Association and their partners for sponsoring our visit to facilitate this article.

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Comments

  1. I like your posts because you always show photos of lots of delicious food. The dishes in this post are so yummy!

    1. Author

      Thanks Barb. We will continue to post pics of yummy excellence!

  2. Yeah, after three tours, I would definitely be needing a cozy accommodation. LOL I could go for that bread with the figs alone! 😉

    1. Author

      Francesca – That was A LOT of food and you surely could have ‘rescued’ us and our overly full stomachs. We miss you! When are you coming to visit us on the road again?

      1. I was just thinking the same thing. I miss you guys, too!! Let me know your plans and routes and I’ll see if any of my plans match up with yours. We need to catch up anyway!

  3. What a great itinerary! That french toast looks incredible, and oh my word that’s so many grapes. 😀 I wonder why the breakfast place chooses to be closed on Sundays? Is that typical for this area? So much food for one day, can’t believe how massive that plate is from Durbanville Hills. Looks so delicious though.

  4. My parents went to South Africa twice and raved and raved about it. I would love to go and explore Durbanville’s wine county. And, try that french toast – wow – love the fresh figs!

    1. Author

      There was a great family atmosphere at places like Phizante Kraal that really make the experience inviting and special.

  5. Hello Guys, thank you so much for sharing this with everybody. we really enjoyed meeting you, and visiting us. Even if the car was a bit stressful for you at times 😉 Hope SA sees you again. best of luck with your travels, have fun. Kind regards from Maret and Phizante Kraal, Durbanville

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