Touring in the wine region

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One of my highlights, as a Wine Specialist tour guide, is being able to see our wonderful country through fresh eyes every week. Our days on tour are spent in pursuit of the perfect combination of wine, views and, inevitably the gourmet delights that go along with it.

The Cape Winelands are the third most visited tourism destination in the country with most wine routes being within easy driving distance of Cape Town. A visit to the winelands goes way beyond the cellar door, celebrating not just the wine itself but also the way in which its made, the people who make it, the restaurants that serve it and the vistas of landscape that gave it birth.

Whilst South Africa is referred to as a New World producer with wines focused on fruit flavours and made to be drunk soon after bottling, we still have several estates whom make old-world style wines specifically blended to be kept for longer periods of time. Our cellars range from large co-operatives to independent cellars and estates down to boutique wineries and garagiste producers. By putting a personalized tour together we are able to take the guess work out of our clients hands and focus the day around specific regions, wine styles and flavour profiles as requested by them. Add to this opportunities to do vertical tastings of older vintages, library stock tastings, wine and chocolate pairings, cheese tastings, art gallery or motor museum viewings, or even an opportunity to meet the winemaker, and your tour is a wrap!

I believe wine should be sipped, savoured and shared. It’s an entirely subjective experience and all that’s required is that you find one which is perfect for you!

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Janine’s family holiday in Mauritius

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Being adventurous travellers, my husband and I always said that we would wait until having a child before we visited Mauritius. In our eyes Mauritius has always been one of those destinations for the ‘all inclusive resort’ package holiday traveller. We have never travelled this way because we really enjoy the freedom of being independent and travelling from one destination to another within a country, whether by self-drive, or local transport. But having a child this year made us realise that the type of holidays that we usually choose would not work when travelling with a baby, and it was now time to try out a resort package holiday. And what better destination to try it out than Mauritius known for its hundreds of world class package resorts offering amazing food, 5* service, and located on some of the most beautiful beaches in the Indian Ocean!

We chose the resort hotel Le Canonnier, located in the north west of the island a few kilometers south of Grand Baie, one of the main tourist hubs. Le Canonnier Hotel is a 4* hotel that is perfect for families offering a range of activities for the kids at the dedicated kids club (for kids from 3 yrs); baby-sitting facilities for toddlers and babies; family rooms; and plenty of land & water sports for the older kids from tennis to pool tables, waterskiing to snorkelling. The hotel has a large pool with an adjoining kiddie’s pool, and the ocean is flat and crystal clear making it very safe for swimming for kids of all ages.

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Our days in Mauritius were spent lazing on the deck chairs by the beach, swimming, snorkelling, water skiing, and windsurfing. Each day the hotel arranges three snorkelling trips to the nearby reef and I was quite surprised at how plentiful the fish life is. We also tried out the glass bottom boat trip…which didn’t quite compare to snorkelling….but is a great option for those who don’t swim well, or those with small kids. Waterskiing and windsurfing were new experiences for us as we had never tried these before. We both managed to get up onto the skis after a couple of turns…with a bit if coaching from the water sports centre staff. But we were not quite as successful at windsurfing, both of us managing to sail all the way to the reef, but not being able to turn back! Needless to say the boat had to collect us and take us back to shore, windsurfer in tow!

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Of course after all the activities we did plenty of eating and drinking! The big advantage of booking a fully inclusive package is that we could indulge in the buffet breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks; and enjoy all of the delicious cocktails without having to worry about any additional costs. Food and drinks are expensive at the hotel so it is well-worth choosing the fully inclusive option.

We had such a fantastic week in Mauritius and will not hesitate to go back. So for anyone that thinks that an inclusive resort package holiday is not for them, think again!

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