Escape the chill for some whale watching in South Africa

We may have waved goodbye to summer in the UK, but over in South Africa it’s really hotting up. This is due to both the weather and the fact that Steenberg & Fancourt have revealed their ‘Wine and Whale’ package for this October that combines the best of Cape Town and the Garden Route.

It is Spring over in South Africa, and that means whale watching season is here. This magical event can be enjoyed until November and this fantastic package is a celebration of that, as well as the great wines to be found.

The Constantia boutique hotel, the Steenberg wine estate and Fancourt, the luxury resort on the Garden Route, have all teamed up and through Somak Holidays are launching this Wine & Whale package. This offers holidaymakers the opportunity to escape the chilly British autumn and experience two of the top attractions in South Africa.

Available until 31 October 2012, the seven-night “Wine & Whale” package takes visitors to the spectacular whale and dolphin-watching spots of Hermanus, near Cape Town and Mossel Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Wilderness along the “Garden Route”. The British autumn, which is South Africa’s spring, is the best time to enjoy balmy temperatures whilst marvelling at these gentle giants.

The “Wine & Whale” package can be booked via Somak Holidays (www.somak.com / 020 8423 3000) and starts from just £2,222 per person. It includes international flights from London to Cape Town, via Johannesburg and from George to London via Johannesburg, with South African Airways; private transfers to Steenberg; four nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at Steenberg; a half-day private Constantia Winelands tour; a full-day private Hermanus whale watching tour; a three-course dinner at Steenberg’s Catharina’s Restaurant or tapas in BistroSixteen82; complimentary transfers to restaurants and shops within a 5km radius of Steenberg; transfers to the airport for an internal flight to George on the “Garden Route”; and three nights’ bed and breakfast accommodation at Fancourt. From Fancourt guests can take whale-watching day trips to spots such as Knysna and Mossel Bay and enjoy a different wine tasting experience from the Cape Winelands by touring vineyards along the “Garden Route” and Little Karoo.

Steenberg holds the distinction of being the oldest farm in the picturesque Constantia valley, with a history dating back to the first wine production in 1695. The 24-room hotel and vineyard, which is just twenty minutes from Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront and the city centre, boasts a daytime restaurant, “Bistro Sixteen82”; a contemporary, fine dining restaurant, “Catharina’s” which offers spectacular views of False Bay & the Steenberg Mountains; a Ginkgo Spa, an 18-hole Championship golf course and, of course, the working winery. Steenberg’s winery has developed a worldwide reputation for producing excellent Cape wines. Wines were first produced on the farm in 1695 – which was then named Swaaneweide (the feeding place of swans). It was later renamed Steenberg in honour of the imposing mountain which towers over it. The cultivars on the farm at the moment are: Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Nebbiolo, Merlot, Shiraz, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Steenberg is also home to the first brand-exclusive bubbly bar in South Africa – ‘Gorgeous by Graham Beck’. The bar derived its name from the favoured term of endearment of the late Mr Graham Beck. A full selection of Graham Beck Wines’ award winning Méthode Cap Classique can be enjoyed with sumptuous canapés. Guests may also opt to try a specific range; the three-wine non-vintage Graham Beck sparkling wines, the three vintage cuvées, or the iconic Cap Classique flagship, Cuvée Clive.

Fancourt is situated in the heart the “Garden Route”, just seven kilometres from George Airport and the historic town of George. The resort is superbly landscaped on 613 hectares of lush countryside with the majestic Outeniqua Mountains as the perfect backdrop. Fancourt offers 115 rooms on the resort as well as the new “Manor House” boutique accommodation, which features 18 luxury suites offering personalised, butler-style service. Fancourt will be re-launching “Fancourt Kidz” club to co-incide with the opening of their brand new leisure centre, which opens on the 15th of October 2012.