Update April 13, 2016
On the Breede River in Robertson: Relaxing boat cruise with wine and picnic
What is best to do on a hot summer day in the Cape Winelands? Go to Viljoensdrift in Robertson and enjoy a relaxing boat cruise on the Breede River with wine and a picnic! We tried it this February, and we really enjoyed it!
When visiting South Africa this year we planned to go to Robertson as well. Some years ago we learned to know the little town of Robertson when we followed the famous Route 62, and its region is really a lovely part of the Cape Winelands. You find beautiful wine estates with superb wines, you can stay in remote mountain reserves, and there are some great activities that you can experience here.
It has been a very dry and hot summer in South Africa 2015/2016, but when we came into the Robertson Wine Valley everything looked fine, the vineyards and other plants where green – no hint of a draught! We learned that the special location of the valley inbetween of high mountain ranges is the reason that there is enough water available.
During our wonderful stay in the Pat Busch Mountain Reserve we had 38, 39 degree Celsius, and we guessed what to do best to stand these temperatures. We had already heard about the boat cruises on the Breede River offered by the Viljoensdrift winery, and we decided to check it out. We booked a tour at 1pm on a very hot day, but a light breeze was blowing, and so we could stand the heat quite well.
Viljoensdrift has a beautiful setting along the Breede River. It is a 5th generation family wine estate, and back in 1998, inspired by their proximity to the Breede River, they set up a new attraction: the river cruises. By that time Viljoensdrift already had a wine tasting area, but soon they took the wine & dine experience to a new level: Guests then could already enjoy their wine and pre-packed snacks on board of a boat, a wooden 24-seater called „Uncle Ben 1“, named after the father of the current owners as a tribute to him.
We first had a short wine tasting to find out which wine to take on the boat (we always share one tasting because one of us has to drive the car). Soon the River Grandeur Cape Blend became our favorite. Next stop was the little deli shop. Nowadays you can pack your own picnic basket from a good selection of delis like cheese, bread, jam, ham, paté, olives and much more. You can also have your deli basket pre-packed as well, or order some warm food from the kitchen. We shopped for a small lunch with a bottle of the Cape Blend, and waited for the boat returning from the 12 o’clock tour, together with 30 other people.
When you see the current boat „Uncle Ben 2“ arriving it reminds you more of a ferry than a real boat or ship. Being built on the premises of Viljoensdrift winery, this boat is bigger than the first one and is made of aluminium for more secure infrastructure, and boasts space for 36 people. It has two decks with seats, tables – and sunshade!
We found a place at the end of a table, half in the sun, half in the shade, and soon the boat started its cruise. And it was lovely! The boat chugged quietly and slowly along the river banks with its beautiful landscape while we enjoyed our lunch and a little less than half the bottle of the wine, chatted with our table neighbours and took pictures of the boat and the scenery. The boat went up the river for a while, then down the river for a while, and after a relaxing 50 minutes or so we returned to the landing stage where the next group was already waiting.
We experienced this boat cruise as a very pleasant and relaxing way to enjoy a tasty picnic and a good wine in a different way. Try it!
For further information and bookings visit the website of Viljoensdrift.