Hotels in and around the Constantia suburb
Constantia is one of Cape Town’s most prestigious and historical suburbs, drenched in cultural appeal and the natural beauty of the Cape winelands. Despite these idyllic conditions, Constantia is relatively close to the city centre, as well as many famous visitor attractions, making it convenient and accessible.
This stunning neighbourhood is made up of the Constantia Valley, Constantiaberg Mountains and Constantianek, which is a pass that leads to the fishing community of Hout Bay. The most famous features of this area, though, are the wine farms, including world-acclaimed Constantia Uitsig and Buitenverwachting.
Simon van der Stel was granted Constantia Valley by Commissioner van Rheede in 1685, and is believed to have named it Constanza after his benefactor’s daughter. Van der Stel died in 1712 and his farm was divided, in stages, into Groot Constantia, Bergvliet, Hoop of Constantia and Witteboomen. After this, the farms remained in operation under the management of several different people and families. The fertile soil yielded particularly large, tasty fruit, which translated to superior wines, even hundreds of years ago.
Constantia is less than 20 kilometres from Cape Town’s City Bowl, the V & A Waterfront and the Cape Town International Convention Centre. Depending on the location of your guesthouse or B&B, you may even be able to walk to some of the local shops, restaurants and wine farms. Cabs and taxis are freely available if visitors do not elect to hire a private vehicle. It is not recommended that you use the minibus taxis in South Africa, particularly if you are not au fait with the local languages and customs. In preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™, the country has addressed safety issues around these taxis and plans have been implemented to improve the situation.
Cape Town International Airport is undergoing massive renovations in preparation for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. As such, it is equipped to deal with an even larger number of flights from all over the world, making access easier and less costly. Alternatively, visitors that are coming from other areas in South Africa will enjoy the scenic routes and safe roads into Cape Town.
The main attraction to which visitors to the gorgeous area of Constantia are invited is the ample supply of beautiful wine farms. In fact, so popular are these that Constantia has its own wine route, boasting some of the world’s finest vintages and labels.
The Constantia Valley is stunning. Row after row of grapevines yielding fine fruit extend from its depths and up the Constantiaberg Mountains. The wine route from farm to farm is easy, relaxing and rewarding, even to the untrained palate. There are restaurants on the farms that boast excellent cuisine to compliment the outstanding wines. If these farms do not satisfy your wine tasting urges, be sure to include farms from the surrounding areas of Paarl, Franschhoek, Somerset West and Stellenbosch.
The area is also home to many of the city’s finest restaurants and an array of fascinating shops and architecture, sure to keep the entire family entertained.
In addition to these popular attractions, visitors are advised to include trips to Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, Cape Point, Kalk Bay, The V&A Waterfront, Robben Island and some of the pristine Western Cape beaches in their itinerary.
South African summers begin in December and last until March, while winter is from June to August. Cape Town’s winters can be rather chilly and wet (approximately 10 to 18 degrees Celsius during the day). Summers are hot, and boast temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius at noon. These are the windy months, though, and benefit from the offshore winds that cool the coastal areas down somewhat.
Cape Town, like many other places in South Africa, is not a malaria-affected area. However, visitors are advised to consult with a doctor or travel clinic regarding the rest of their travel itinerary, as some of the northern areas of the country as well as the surrounding countries may be susceptible to Malaria.
Always carry insect repellent and sunscreen when travelling anywhere in South Africa, regardless of the season.
Visitors are reminded to bring their prescriptions for spectacles and medication so that they can restock at a local pharmacy without having to consult with a doctor.
Ensure that your tetanus shots are up-to-date as some areas are fraught with litter, including broken glass, cans and metal.
Constantia is a relatively elite suburb. However, as with any other destination in the world, there are areas in which it is not safe to walk, particularly after dark. Consult with your tour operator and/or hotel or guesthouse so that you may be aware of which places to avoid. When walking around Constantia, using public transport (including tour busses), or visiting any of the tourist attractions, be aware of your personal belongings. Do not leave anything unattended, and do not accept help from strangers if it requires handing over your bank cards, photographic equipment, etc…