Capetonians take their picnics very seriously – think beautiful wicker baskets filled to the brim with freshly prepared artisanal fare, accompanied by a bottle of chilled wine or bubbly and served against a glorious backdrop, be that vineyards, mountains or the Atlantic. We’ve tasted our way through Cape Town’s and the Winelands’ top picnic offerings, one delicious basket at a time, to bring you our personal top 10.
Please note that most picnics are available during the warmer months only, usually from September to May, and that our favourites below all offer great vegetarian, vegan and kids‘ baskets – so there’s something for everyone.
Bring a blanket and cushions and recline under the trees of the pavilion lawn at this popular wine estate – a favourite with both locals and visitors. Your picnic basket comes laden with goodies made fresh on the farm by Boschendal’s team of bakers, butchers and chefs, and there’s lots of space to stretch out and let the sunstroke your face. Little ones meanwhile are sure to have a blast at The Tree House Playground and on the bike pump track. Tip: Book a weekend picnic to enjoy live music while you feast.
Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek
Virgin Limited Edition’s 40-hectare Franschhoek estate boasts an idyllic setting – think rolling meadows and lush vineyards stretching out towards mountains in the distance. Pick up a picnic basket from The Country Kitchen, filled with freshly prepared produce (the arancini with honey harissa sauce and sweet malva truffles are insanely good), and stroll down to the sparkling dam, where a scattering of garden cushions will have you linger all afternoon. https://www.virginlimitededition.com/en/mont-rochelle/the-country-kitchen
Tucked away between oak trees at the rear of the Franschhoek estate’s beautiful gardens, Babylonstoren’s Greenhouse offers a delicious à la carte menu featuring dishes made with the freshest produce – most of it from the gardens. The food arrives at your table picnic-style in wooden crates, with preserves, jams and salads presented in weck jars, and fresh bread and sandwiches wrapped in Babylonstoren’s iconic blue-and-white paper. Super stylish and delicious, this is a real treat. (Please note that the Greenhouse doesn’t take bookings.
Quoin Rock, Stellenbosch
For a refined picnic, head to the slopes of the Simonsberg Mountains, where you’ll encounter eight custom-built picnic pods amidst lush gardens. Freshly baked baguettes, biltong pâté, springbok tartare and excellent cheeses, all served on proper crockery, are part of the elegant picnic menu – and for a top-up or a glass of wine, simply call your waiter on your personal walkie talkie. A great spot for a fun get-together with friends.
Take your pick from picnic spots by the dam, complete with umbrella and cosy bean bags to recline on, or a more private picnic pod at this scenic Stellenbosch winery. The meticulously curated baskets, containing the likes of chicken and roasted vegetables on truffle-infused cous-cous, are sure to satisfy all your picnic cravings. Tip: little ones are welcome to splash in the fountain and water feature – make sure to bring swimming costumes.
Picnics with South-African-Russian flair are the order of the day at this elegant Russian-owned estate in Stellenbosch, which offers Russian heritage in a modernised Cape Dutch setting. Enjoyed on the lawns, the Babushka picnic feast comes presented in beautiful bespoke wicker baskets, filled with fresh, seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. For the full effect, add one of the estate’s award-winning wines.
A brilliant option for families – simply pick up your pre-ordered basket, complete with blankets, cutlery and glassware, and choose your picnic spot of choice, be that by the duck-filled dam or under ancient oaks. Little ones are sure to gravitate towards the Elemental Garden to splash around in the water features (bring swimming clothes and a towel!) Tip: Don’t leave without picking up a delicious pasteis de nata from Vadas Bakery – the golden cups of creamy custard, enrobed by perfectly crunchy and flaky pastry, are the best in the Cape.
Vergelegen, Somerset West
Vergelegen’s mystical forest is an incredibly romantic setting for a tucked-away ‘white tablecloth’ picnic under ancient camphor trees. The divine food selection includes ever-evolving culinary delights such as freshly baked artisanal bread with biltong-flavoured farm butter and various pâtés, and chicken marinated in plum, ginger, spring onion & coriander. Pair with a bottle of wine for an intimate tête-à-tête.
The Cellars-Hohenort, Constantia Valley
Surprisingly close to Cape Town’s CBD, yet miles away from the hustle and bustle of the Mother City, The Cellars-Hohenort is a lush Constantia Valley escape. Choose from several peaceful spots on the hotel grounds, surrounded by giant camphor trees and the sound of bird song, and tuck into the likes of smoked fish pate, vegetable quiche, cold meats, artisanal cheeses, and still-warm mini scones. Additional items are also available to order.
Cape Point Vineyards, Noordhoek
Drive along scenic Chapman’s Peak to this looker of a wine estate, which offers sensational views of Noordhoek beach from any of its three picnic areas – all of which come with picnic blankets and cushions, and the chance to soak up the sea, mountain and vineyard views. A nice touch – picnic baskets come with a range of basics, to which you can add additional items according to your preferences.