The African Vineyard guesthouse just outside Upington is the ideal spot for discovering the Northern Cape of South Africa. Surrounded by vineyards on an island in the middle of the Orange River the ten, soon to be twelve-bedroom stylish boutique hotel was formerly on the site of a raisin farm. The bedrooms are named after wine-producing grapes, mine was muscadel and decorated in shades of grey with a stone bath incorporated into the bedroom. A bonus was the soft fluffy bathrobe, and a decanter containing Rooi Kalahari, a South African aperitif made from jerepigo grapes.
The manager Dion Anderson is also a trained chef, and cooked us a delicious oxtail stew for dinner made with redwine, dates, ginger ale, star aniseed, cinnamon sticks, and cloves, a dish I haven’t thought of cooking for ages.
My visit in July coincided with the South African winter where the days are warm but the nights are very chilly. A feature I really appreciated was the open log fire in the lounge. The guesthouse has a small swimming pool and lush gardens with a canal and tributary of the Orange river running through their groundsk a great plus for an otherwise dry area. Two dogs and a cat, who were not allowed inside, contributed to the lovely atmosphere.
Activities include a 4 km walking trail on their premises. We went to a mountainous location overlooking great stretches of land on the ‘quiver tree route’ for a sundowner, your favourite drink, sipped while watching the sun which is a deep red colour, disappearing. There is no dawn or dusk in South Africa so darkness comes very quickly.
Currently, the pound is very strong against the rand so visiting the country offers great value for money.
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