Whales and wine in South Africa

South Africa’s Western Cape is ready to delight your senses.

Bianca Klement
Origin travel expert
Oceanview deluxe: Birkenhead House is a jewel on the Atlantic coast
Birkenhead House: Coastal experience extraordinaire

Turns out you don't have to get on a boat to experience whale-watching. At Birkenhead House, you can sip a crisp glass of Sauvignon Blanc and wait for the giants of the sea to pass by from the comfort of the terrace. After all, Hermanus boasts the best land-based whale-watching in the world, and Birkenhead House has managed to secure the prime spot – this luxury oceanside accommodation is perched on a cliff overlooking Walker Bay, known for its mammal sightings.

Depending on the season you can watch southern right whales, breaching humpbacks, or superpods of thousands of dolphins traveling along the coast. The rooms offer spectacular views of the ocean and are so comfortable and stylish that you won’t want to leave. There are a few things that might tempt you out though – like mussel picking, sea kayaking, surfing, or playing golf on one of the two championship courses. If you want to sample some fine wine, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley is just a short drive from Birkenhead House, where some of the most iconic wines in South Africa are produced.

Soak in the surf and let the nature sink in
The annual sardine run starts around the end of February on the west coast of South Africa, attracting predators such as whales, sharks, and dolphins
At Birkenhead House, you don't even have to get out of bed for whale-watching
The gorgeous pool area of Birkenhead House
Each year between June and October, southern right whales migrate to the southern South African coast to mate and give birth
La Residence: a heaven for wine lovers

Just an hour’s drive from Cape town’s waterfront, there's a hotel that will make the heart of every wine enthusiast beat faster. La Residence is tucked away between Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz vineyards, nestled on a 30-acre private estate between verdant mountains in the Franschhoek Valley.

Owner Liz Biden designed each room herself, and the antiques and art are hand-selected, creating a harmonious balance of sophisticated luxury and coziness. The suites offer stunning views of the verdant mountains and vineyards and, as expected, the hotel lists an exquisite selection of premium wines. On top of this, La Residence offers eight ways of wine tasting for you to explore the surrounding area. Roar on a Harley through the wine valleys, take a scenic ride through the vineyards or go on a well-crafted wine tasting tour of boutique wineries by helicopter. If you prefer, you can jump on the Franschhoek wine tram instead and discover some of South Africa’s oldest wine estates the old-fashioned way.

The private estate in the Franschhoek Valley
The stylish interior of one of the bathrooms at La Residence
The loggia of the hotel is the perfect place to watch the sunset with a chilled glass of wine
Explore the Garden Route

The Western Cape of South Africa is wonderfully varied. Only an hour’s drive from thriving Cape Town there's scenic landscapes, some of the best restaurants and wines in the country, and unique natural spectacles. Chat with one of our curators now to plan a vacation that's perfectly suited to your tastes.

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