"Behind the Vines" voted best wine tour by American Express in the Food & Wine guide



It was the search for food that shaped modern South Africa: spices drew the Dutch East India Company to Java in the mid-1600s, and the need for a half-way refreshment stop for its ships rounding the Cape impelled the Company to plant a farm at the tip of Africa.

There are sections of Commander Jan van Riebeeck's wild almond hedge still standing in the Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town.

That farm changed the region forever. The Company discovered it was easier to bring in thousands of hapless slaves from Java to work in the fields than to keep trying to entrap the local people, mostly Khoi and San, who seemed singularly unimpressed with the Dutch and their ways.

The Malay slaves brought their cuisine, perhaps the best-known of all South African cooking styles.

The French Huguenots arrived soon after the Dutch, and changed the landscape in wonderful ways with the vines they imported. They soon discovered a need for men and women to work in their vineyards, and turned to the Malay slaves (and the few Khoi and San they could lure into employment).

Much later, sugar farmers brought indentured laborers from India to cut the cane. The British, looking for gold and empire, also brought their customs and cuisine, as did German immigrants.

And black communities carried on eating their traditional, healthy diet: game, root vegetables and wild greens, berries, millet, sorghum and maize, and protein-rich insects like locusts.

Today the resultant kaleidoscope - the famous "rainbow" - applies not only to the people but to the food, for one finds in South Africa the most extraordinary range of cuisines.








THURSDAY - 23 November

8 November - 21 November 2007









THURSDAY - 8 November

THURSDAY - 23 November

 Upon arrival in Johannesburg South Africa, you will be met by a representative of AFRICAN CLASSIC ENCOUNTERS, who will transfer you to the Saxon Hotel, where accommodation has been reserved in an Egoli Suite (Bed & Lavish South African Breakfast)


SAXON - The World’s Leading Boutique Hotel Ethnic African Elegance at its Best. 

Chosen as the winner of the prestigious “World’s Leading Boutique Hotel” award for four years in a row, and steeped in history.

The Saxon hotel makes a world-class statement of ethnic African elegance, combined with superior service and personalized attention to detail.

It is here in the Saxon’s tranquil setting, that Nelson Mandela edited his legendary autobiography, “Long Walk To Freedom”.

President Mandela’s love of the Saxon stems from its character, serenity and tranquility and is still a regular visitor to what he calls his second home.

Enjoy the ambience of The Saxon hotel.

It is essential to take a dip in the heated pool and enjoy the underwater music of choice.



FRIDAY - 9 November

 After breakfast you will be met by a representative of African Classic Encounters who will transfer you to the Pretoria station to board the elegant Blue Train.  Accommodation in deluxe suites.  Full board.


The Blue Train has an aura of mystique about it. Kings and presidents have traveled on this magnificent moving five-star hotel. Its very name has become synonymous with the ultimate in luxury and personal service.

The routes of The Blue Train - take guests through some of the most breathtaking countryside to be found anywhere in the world.

As the ever-changing scenery flashes past the windows, guests can savor exquisite meals freshly prepared on board by top chefs.

All meals are complimented by the best wines South Africa has to offer.

The suites on The Blue Train live up to its reputation for magnificence and splendor. The finest bed linen, marble tiles and gold fittings in the bathrooms and sheer opulence all ensure that guests will never forget the time they spend on The Blue Train.

Enjoy travel in a world of grace, elegance and superb cuisine.

SATURDAY - 10 November

Upon arrival in Cape Town you will be met by a representative of African Classic Encounters who will transfer you to the estate of Grande Provence Estate.  Exclusive use of The Owners Cottage has been reserved for African Classic Encounters' Taste of South Africa Signature Gourmet Tour ’07. Afternoon at leisure to explore the estate.



Grande Provence Estate wears her 300-year history with dignity. Sitting in the magnificent Franschhoek Valley in South Africa’s Western Cape, her lush vines spread across 30 hectares with gentle vistas over the valley floor, at odds almost with the rugged mountains beyond. This is heartland South African wine country.

Capturing the essence of the heritage of this gracious Estate, are Grande Provence’s new owners and design team.

The honest simplicity of its Cape Dutch architecture, in harmony with the precision and clarity of modern design, brings a new pièce de résistance to the Franschhoek valley.

Years of heritage and great wine-making have produced the likes of the award-winning Count Agusta range and the popular lifestyle Angels Tears range.

Dining sensation created by Executive Chef Vanie Padayachee  who hails from Durban, Kwazulu Natal South Africa.

Vanie’s cuisine is influenced by not only international flavors but also the rich diversity of cultures that is found in South Africa. See more on Chef Vanie Padaychee and her culinary expertise.

World Traveler HOT LIST 2006 Winner
Condé Nast World Traveler
Best New Hotels in the World
Press Release:
The Owner’s Cottage at Grande Provence has been awarded the top spot in the South Africa category of the Condé Nast World Traveler HOT LIST 2006 of the best new hotels in the world.
Condé Nast World Traveler – May issue 2006

Read more about Grande Provence>>

SUNDAY - 11 November

After breakfast you will be met by a representative of AFRICAN CLASSIC ENCOUNTERS who will take you on a private tour of the beautiful and quaint villages of the winelands. 


The Cape Winelands are world renowned for their beauty and their wines and the suggested route incorporates the best of both. 

From wine tastings to a slow drive through the charming towns of the winelands. 

Tour impressive cellars, sample some of the local wines.

Food and wine have always been perfect partners. No wonder there is such an abundance of restaurants in the region. Experience traditional delicatessens as well as cuisine from all around the world creating mouth watering and memorable experiences.

Select wineries to be visited and personal meetings with the winemakers are on the agenda.  Fairview Wine Estate is not to be missed, viticulturally among the most historic and influential areas of the Cape winelands.

South African cheeseries and a local cheese adjudicator made their debut at the World Champion Cheese Contest in Wisconsin USA, which took place during 21 – 23 March 2006. 

Nederburg Estate is a "Must see".  Next on the agenda is the world renowned Boschendal Estate, whose vineyards have been replanted with noble varietals, which produce highly, prized wines characterized by their elegance and complexity.

Afterwards visit the famous Haute Cabriere cellar, or perhaps Tokara, which is Etienne Bonthuys new restaurant on GT Ferreira's farm with stunning views.

Dinner this evening at Le Quartier Francais' The Tasting Room.

Executive chef Margot Janse and her team's award-winning  talent are showcased in the constantly evolving menu. 

Course after course of exquisitely presented culinary delights in a six course extravaganza paired with wine chosen to highlight the gastronomic experience.


MONDAY - 12 November

 After breakfast you will be met by a representative of African Classic Encounters who will take you on an "African Cooking Safari" exploring the friendly Kayamandi Township where you will be introduced to the locals and start preparations for your African Cooking Safari.


spices of South Africa - www.classicencounters.com

Angel Tears - wine from Grande Provance Estate - www.classicencounters.com

Decadence - www.classicencounters.com


Explore African food and beverages at African Classic Encounters' “hands-on” cooking experience and discover the hues of South Africa’s cultural diversity.

The culinary tour starts with a guided walk through Kayamandi focussing on food and food-related traditions as well as general cultural aspects.

Whenever there is an opportunity, the local host will introduce you to private homes and kitchens discovering the intimate secrets of Black African Cuisine.  

Should time allow and if the "Bana ba Kgotso" (Children of peace) are available an impromtu song and dance session can be enjoyed.

When passing through Stellenbosh before or after the visit to Kayamandi be introduced to the  Cafe Cat - a statue honoring all cafe cats!

Time permitting you might have an opportunity to stop in at Mooiberg farm stall where one can try a sample to taste witblits. (Moonshine)!  

En route back to Grande Provence we will be "Lifting the lid on chocolates".

A stop will be made at the delicious Chocolate shop where chocolates are handcrafted and made in front of customers from the finest imported Belgian chocolate.

Dinner this evening at Grande Provence prepared by Chef Vanie.  Dinner will be accompanied by wines from the Grande Provence Estate - Angel Tears. 


TUESDAY - 13 November

After breakfast and a morning of leisure you will be met by a representative of African Classic Encounters who will transfer you to the elegant Ellerman House where you will be accommodated in the exclusive Ellerman House.


Ellerman House villa - www.classicencounters.com

Ellerman Villa - classicencounters.com

Ellerman Villa - www.classicencounters.com

This superb luxury boutique hotel is the quintessential location for discerning guests accustomed to the finer pleasures of life.

The true splendor of Ellerman House rests in faithful preservation of its historical architecture, combined with discreet hospitality and efficient service reflecting the ambience experienced only in the comfort and familiarity of home.

Ellerman House has two of the finest collections of South African original art and vintage wines - each individually selected to enhance guest's experience.

Ellerman House is one of only two Relais & Chateaux hotels in Cape Town and one of only 14 purple shield hotels in the world. 

Afternoon and evening at leisure. 

Enjoy the ambience of Ellerman House.  Try out the Spa facilities or explore the V&A waterfront or perhaps a visit to Robben Island.

WEDNESDAY - 14 November

After breakfast, you will be met by a representative of AFRICAN CLASSIC ENCOUNTERS who will take you on a private half-day city tour including Table Mountain (Weather permitting) and Kirstenbosch Gardens.


Food from South Africa - www.classicencounters.com

Dinner this evening will be at Vilamoura - An extravaganza of seafood.

Vilamoura - A Portuguese restaurant that caters for sophisticated tastes, offering a wide range of seafood, most cooked in Mozambican and Portuguese style, as well as more mainstream continental items.


more >>

  Extraodinary dining options in SOuth Africa - www.classicencounters.com