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The winter season in South Africa typically lasts from June to August but don’t let the drop in temperature stop you from venturing out. Layer up and make the most of what’s on your doorstep, whether that’s the gorgeous vineyards or the endless flora and fauna in the bush.
The vineyard at Mont Rochelle
With cooler temperatures and less crowds, there is no better time to hike (or hop on a cable car) up Table Mountain, South Africa’s iconic flat-topped mountain, for awe-inspiring views from the summit. Keep the adrenaline rolling with a unique spectacle of the massive mammal that is the whale of course. Whale calving season is at its prime during the months of July - December, so get yourself to one of the whale-watching hot spots along the Cape coastline.
Alternatively leave the city hype behind and uncork and unwind with the best of the Cape Winelands. Just an hour from Cape Town and you’ll arrive at Franschhoek, a food and wine haven in the French Corner of the Western Cape.
Here in the heart of the Franschhoek Valley, is Mont Rochelle, Sir Richard Branson’s 39-hectare hotel & vineyard with a remarkable backdrop of the Dassenberg Mountains. A favourite amongst guests for a romantic winter getaway, indulge in a relaxing spa treatment tailored to your needs, before cosying up by the fireplace with a warming glass of red wine in hand, produced a stone’s throw away at Mont Rochelle’s winery.
The bar at Mont Rochelle
Continue to taste our award-winning wines over at our flagship restaurant MIKO. We’ll guide you through the pairing of wines with the most delicious dishes, full of fresh and local ingredients, many of which are grown in our very own gardens.
Here at Mont Rochelle, wine tasting is an everyday occurrence, so whether we have the pleasure of having you stay with us for a few days or you’re popping by on the wine tram for a wine tasting at The Country Kitchen, we’ll never be short on wine that’s for sure. But if, dare we say, you are a little wined out, or even a beer connoisseur at heart, drop by Hey Joe Brewing Co. or Tuk Tuk Microbrewery to taste some of the best craft beer in the area.
Excellent wine and food isn’t the only thing which Franschhoek has to offer. For those beautifully clear winter days and the adventurous types, biking is a great way to familiarise yourself with the surrounding areas, or tackle one of the golf courses in Paarl, Stellenbosch and Somerset West with the closest shy of a 20-minute drive from Mont Rochelle. On the colder days, there is still plenty to do in town: how about some retail therapy or a trip to the Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa if you’re looking to unleash your inner creatively? Uncover the fascinating story of where Franschhoek’s French roots stem from at the Huguenot Memorial Museum, also home to Franschhoek’s French-inspired Bastille Festival which usually takes place every July: taste mouth-watering food and wine, browse craft stalls and lose yourself in live music…
Over on the eastern side of South Africa lies endless and dramatic landscapes home to an abundance of wildlife. While many of us equate winter with rain, it’s quite the opposite here. Winter overlaps with dry season and with that comes many benefits when staying in the depths of the bush for a safari experience at this time of year.
The game vehicles on a winter safari at Ulusaba, located in the stunning and exclusive Sabi Sand Game Reserve, are stocked with fleece blankets and hot water bottles which makes for a cosy ride. Typically, our Rangers will drive to nearby watering holes as with less rainfall and vegetation to feed on during winter, the wildlife tends to congregate around the watering holes for a drink or few. This makes for a more thrilling game viewing with predators lingering nearby waiting for their chance to strike.
Elephants drinking at the watering hole
More so, sparse vegetation poses a challenge for animals with sheltered hideouts hard to come by. Conveniently this allows our Trackers to locate them more easily and deliver a successful game viewing experience – so you are bound to cross paths with some of the ‘big five’, if not all of them, on your next winter safari.
When you’re not on twice daily game drives, enjoy being in the comfort of your lodge and the incredible dining experience Ulusaba has to offer. Opt for some peace and quiet at the spa as you continue to immerse yourself with the sounds of the bush as our spa therapist works their magic.
The Aroma Boma Spa at Rock Lodge, Ulusaba
Whether you’re heading to us on the road or making use of the brilliant local rates with Federal Air that fly you in directly to Ulusaba’s private airstrip, look forward to a glass of bubbles with your name on it and a warm welcome from your Ranger & Tracker – and some of our resident animals if you’re lucky!
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