Constantia is one of the noblest and most expensive suburbs in Cape Town. The landscape is idyllic and rural and can make one forget that they're still in the middle of a big city. The houses and mansions are surrounded by parklike gardens and some have horse paddocks and vineyards.
Along the well sign-posted Constantia Valley Wine Route one can visit famous wine estates in the green, wind-protected valley of Constantia. The best known, Groot Constantia, was founded already in 1685 and given to the first Governor of the Cape, Simon van der Stel as an experimental farm for agricultural produce. Van der Stel concentrated on viticulture and made Constantia wines world famous. The estate has had an eventful history, for example, in the year 1925 the manor house completely burnt down. Fortunately funds could be raised to reconstruct it to its original Cape-Dutch splendour.
Today, Groot Constantia is a museum, which exhibits a great insight into the social life of the first Cape settlers. Visitors can experience first-hand the outstanding quality of the wines in a taverne and in the Jonkershuis restaurant.
From the road to Tokai, a driveway turns off to two other very famous wine estates, Klein Constantia, founded in 1716 and famous for its white wines, and Buitenverwachting, which houses one of the most exclusive restaurants in Cape Town. The access through an avenue bordered by mighty oaktrees, is already a beautiful experience. The next wine estate, Constantia Uitsig, also has a top class restaurant and exquisite wines to offer. A walk through the expansive estate is rewarding, especially because of a breathtaking view of the Constantia valley. The last estate along the wine route is Steenberg. In the early nineties, an 18-hole golf course, a hotel and a restaurant were opened here. More information on the blue INFO page.
Photo left: The Manor House of Groot Constantia in Cape-Dutch architectural style. Top: View from the Constantia Uitsig Wine Estate over the Constantia Valley. Right: Outbuildings on Groot Constantia.