Heading off to a wine-estate feels like a decidedly adult activity, and children at these places can, therefore, be fairly rare. However, the old days when children should be seen and not heard are long gone and intelligent wine farm owners are expanding their offerings to cater for families who want something other than simply popping their kids in front of an ipad at lunch. Here are some experiences that will appeal to a lot of youngsters –on many different levels.
One of the most interesting places to take the kids this holiday—or any season –is Tokara Deli. In the grounds are artworks from the owner’s extensive collection –which the kids are allowed to touch!! And you know what that means to a youngster who is continually been told: “Don’t Touch!”
Kids can let off steam in the large grounds where there is a wooden jungle gym like the Flintstones have—great fun. The brand new Greenhouse is proving very popular. Here the youngsters can learn where the food on their plates is coming from. The play area is a safe and stimulating environment making the Deli a really relaxing experience for the whole family. There is even a Nappy Room where really young ones can be diapered in privacy.
What more could you want? Oh yes—there is excellent food with nothing so fancy you would not know how to pronounce it and of course the famous wines of the estate to help it all go with a swing. PHONE: 021 808 5950
KIDS PICNICS AT ALLÉE BLEUE
It’s never too early for you to expose your youngsters to the finer things in life and what better place to do it than at an elegant estate in Franschhoek surrounded by the magnificent Drakenstein Mountains? Here the kids can gambol on the jungle gym while Mom and Dad take a load off and indulge in a fine glass of wine. Of course the kids can also have fruit juice—just not fermented.
The picnic baskets are a delight with a nice mixture of goodies to eat. The youngster s love unpacking them and feeling ever so grown up while they do it. PHONE 021 874 1021
KIDS PAIRING VAN LOVEREN
Those clever people at Van Loveren have invented a kids pairing tasting which is great fun for the older child. Of course, they don’t use alcoholic versions of their wines but use the ones from their new non-alcohol range. It’s a very grown-up kind of experience and will teach the up and coming wine lover not only how to respect wine and its place in civilised society but how certain flavours complement each other. PHONE 023 615 1505
There are also three excellent child friendly mountain bike routes on this farm, all of them available for the MTB enthusiast. The routes range from easy to those that will require more expertise. You can use your own bike or rent one from them. Obviously a good idea is to call ahead. Strenuous but fun. PHONE 023 615 1505
ESELTJIERUS MC GREGOR
This sanctuary for abused and old donkeys is a must-see when in this area. Not only does it teach children the importance of all life but they will love being out in the open with the animals. Coffee and light meals are available and if you are really moved you can adopt a donkey of your very own. PHONE 023 625 1593
One of the most unforgettable moments –especially for a city slicker –is taking the river-boat cruise from Viljoensdrift which lasts about an hour. The kids love seeing the birdlife which is very active on the river banks. Get your picnic basket at the Deli and float regally downstream and then back up while drinking a bottle of their great wine and some fruit juice for the youngsters—delightful. Bookings are absolutely essential. PHONE 023 615 1901
PROTEA FARM TRACTOR RIDES MONTAGU
This is great fun, with some of the most spectacular views you are ever likely to see. The child friendly ride reaches a height of 1550 meters above sea level into the Langeberg Mountains and pays off with a WOW factor like no other. The farm also offers hiking, 4×4, and MTB trails and is the perfect place to go if you are looking for outdoor adventures in breath-taking surroundings. PHONE 023 614 3012
KIDS AT EXCELSIOR
The restaurant here is called Graze and kids are well taken care of with large child friendly grounds for them to do their thing. There is a jungle gym, a sandpit and horses to feed so expect them to be pooped and not so clean when all is said and done—but happy. In summer there is a child-minder to take them fishing off the dam jetty—such a good idea! Various types of accommodation are available should you want to linger awhile –with a pool to make it even better. There is a golf cart which guests can use to explore the estate which kids will love. PHONE 023 615 1980
ROOIBERG JUMPING CASTLE
The perfect place to stop either coming or going into the Robertson area is Rooiberg. Not only is the food great at their restaurant– comfort food at its best, the wine is great value but there is a jungle gym and jumping castle to take the youngsters minds off the tedium of the journey. Not only that but here you will also find what is probably the world’s biggest red chair, just the thing to climb on. PHONE 023 626 1663
HORSE RIDING BURCON
What could be more fun for the budding equestrian than doing a spot of horse riding in the country—no experience necessary? This child friendly activity takes place on the Nerina Guest Farm at Robertson and rides can be booked for an hour or two—they may also include swimming with horses which would be enough to give any young person a thrill. Bookings are essential. PHONE 023 626 2012
ASHTON WINERY CHESS SET
If you have a child who has discovered the thrill of playing chess they will love the giant chess board here. If not, there is a jungle gym to keep them occupied while Mom and Dad do a tasting of some excellent wines. A different kind of stop; great fun.
PHONE 023 615 1135
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