The Best Things to See and Do in Constantia, Cape Town
Make sure you factor in a stop at some of South Africa's oldest vineyards in Constantia | Courtesy of Benny Marty / Alamy Stock Photo
While Constantia, near Cape Town, in South Africa, is renowned for its vineyards, it’s also filled with rustic outdoor markets, mountainous hiking trails and adrenaline-pumping adventures to suit any traveller.
Constantia is one of the oldest and quietest suburbs of Cape Town. It’s famed for its unrivalled beauty and wine estates, in particular Groot Constantia, South Africa’s oldest wine producer. Just a 20-minute drive from the Central Business District, the Constantia Valley offers hikes through the forested greenbelt, horseback excursions and world-class cuisine. Here are Culture Trip’s recommendations.
Enjoy a Bird’s Eye View from a Zipline Tour
Courtesy of MicPics / Alamy Stock Photo
Why experience Cape Town’s beautiful surroundings at ground level when you can fly over it? SA Forest Adventures offers a ziplining tour in Constantia. Clip onto a wire, suspended 508ft (155m) above the ground, and hurtle between 12 platforms, dotted along the treetop canopy. Keep your eyes peeled for roving wildlife below. It’s not for vertigo sufferers, but unmissable for those with a taste for adrenaline.
Go Horse-Riding from Chart Farm Coffee Shop
Cafe, Coffee, $$$
Courtesy of Westend 61 / Alamy Stock Photo
A hot cup of artisan coffee and a horse riding session might sound like an odd combination, but Chart Farm offers both to its visitors – as well as having the only rose garden on the Cape Peninsula where you can pick and choose your own roses. The horse riding tours allow you to take in the extensive gardens in style, as well as rides to the neighbouring vineyards. The coffee shop, meanwhile, offers a range of locally sourced meals and tantalising cakes, alongside their signature brew.
Hike the De Hel Nature Walk
Courtesy of M Sobreira / Alamy Stock Photo
De Hel spans 21ha (52 acres) across the lush lower eastern slope of Table Mountain, just 1.5mi (2.5km) from Constantia. It was here that the Dutch East India Company built three houses in 1714, complete with orchards and manicured gardens. Today, nothing is left of this settlement aside from a few fruit trees. There are a number of trails through Del Hel, but the 1.7mi (2.7km) nature loop is one of the most popular. The wide, gentle paths make it suitable for all skill levels. Keep your eyes peeled for colourful local birds, like the Knysna warbler and the endangered Western Leopard Toad.
Dine on Local Cuisine at La Colombe
Restaurant, Contemporary, French, $$$
Courtesy of La Colombe Restaurant
La Colombe is arguably the best restaurant in Constantia. In 2020 alone, it was awarded Trip Advisor’s #13 for Top Fine Dining in the World – and #1 in Africa – along with The World Culinary Awards prize for Best Restaurant in Africa and the 3 Plates Award from the JHP Gourmet Guide. The courses utilise local ingredients in a kind of alchemy that intrigues and mystifies, plus the menus are seasonal, so repeat visits guarantee a different experience.
Visit the Constantia Shopping Village
Shop, Shopping Mall
The Constantia Shopping Village is the ideal hybrid of a shopping mall and market square, lined with boutique independent shops alongside recognisable chains. Common complaints about shopping districts being soulless don’t apply here, as all the greenery of Constantia is on display, making it a pleasant place to stroll around. Meanwhile pick up a good read at Exclusive Books, or tuck into a hearty curry at the Raj.
Explore the Chris Nixon Bike Park on Two Wheels
Sports Center, Park
Courtesy of Peter Titmuss / Alamy Stock Photo
While Uitsig Vineyard attracts plenty of visitors, there’s another attraction hearby with a very different appeal. The Chris Nixon Bike Park has almost 2.1mi (3.5km) of bike routes, ranging from gentle circular routes to more advanced trails featuring jumps, wooden berms and even a sky bridge. If you’ve ever wanted to learn downhill mountain biking, BMX or cyclocross, this is the place for you – while experienced riders have ample opportunity to test themselves.
Shop at the Earth Fair Market
The South Palms Centre houses more than a few quality establishments, but the Earth Fair Market is a jewel in its crown. The market runs on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, offering fresh produce, handmade clothing and jewellery. There’s also delicious hot food, drinks and even live music on Wednesday and Friday evenings. The soft lighting and long benches make it an ideal spot to hang out and soak up some atmosphere – over a craft ale and some chunky biltong.
Follow the Wine Route
Courtesy of David Kleyn / Alamy Stock Photo
Dating back to 1685, Constantia is the oldest wine region in South Africa – boasting 10 award-winning wine estates and boutique wineries. The area’s climate favours the production of white wines – notably Sauvignon Blanc – and it’s renowned for sweet wines dating back to the 17th century. Be sure to visit Groot Constantia, the very first South African wine farm, and indulge in wine tasting and gourmet food al fresco.
These recommendations were updated on July 9, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.