THERE is plenty to see and do in the Constantia Valley, and it’s all within easy reach of the Alphen Boutique Hotel.
The Constantia Wine Routemakes a pleasant change from the likes of Paarl and Stellenbosch as it is considered more “intimate” and is home to some of the oldest wine estates in the Cape. The route covers nine farms and three of the closest ones to Alphen are Groot Constantia (details below), Klein Constantia (Klein Constantia Road, (021)794-5188) and Buitenverwachting (Klein Constantia Road, (021)794-5190).
Alphen was in fact originally part of the famous Groot Constantia estate, but was later sold off. South Africa’s oldest wine-producing farm (founded in 1685 by governor Simon van der Stel) is always worth a visit, not only for its award-winning wines which can be tasted several times a day, but for its cellar tours and a peek around the historic manor house. (021)794-5128 or www.grootconstantia.co.za
The internationally renowned Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardensare about 10 minutes from the Alphen and famous for their uniquely diverse fauna and flora. Entry is R42 per adult; visit www.sanbi.org/gardens/ kirstenbosch for details.
Kirstenbosch also hosts regular open-air concertsin summer (catch Mango Groove on December 2 and Prime Circle on December 23) and these are always hugely popular with locals and visitors. Ticket info: (021)799-8782.The Constantia Valley has quite a few well-maintained hiking trails, including the Alphen Trail which is one of the most popular green belt walks of the valley. Most people start the walk from the Alphen Hotel grounds. The trail winds its way along Diep River to the Constantia Mountain. It can also be combined with other trails to form one longer trail.
The Table Mountain National Park (access it from Tafelberg Road) borders the Constantia Valley on two sides and is about half an hour’s drive from the Alphen. It is a World Heritage Site and known for its fine fauna and flora. (021)712-2337 or www.sanparks.org/ parks/table_mountain
The park is also home to the Table Mountain aerial cableway. Tickets are R205 return for adults (they’re about 10% cheaper if you buy online at tablemountain.net).
Muizenberg Beachis about 12km from the hotel and great for surfing. The water is not too chilly and you can even catch a surfing lessons or two.
For more Constantia Valley activities, visit:
THE Alphen Boutique Hotel is in Alphen Drive, Constantia, and a 30-minute drive from Cape Town International Airport. Take the N2 to City for 12.5km and take the Rhodes Drive (M3) turn-off to Muizenberg. Follow the M3 past UCT for about 9km. Take Exit 14 off to the M41 to Constantia Main Road. At the stop sign turn left and go under the bridge. Turn right at the traffic lights into Alphen Drive. Keep going – the hotel is on your left.
Contact the Alphen on (021) 795-6300 or e-mail the hotel at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Their website is www.alphen.co.za
GPS coordinates: 34 00′ 45.44S 18 27′ 03.62E