Women’s Day with Metrorail and Drakenstein Municipality (by Anna Christiane on 16.08.2017)

National Women’s Day is celebrated annually on 9 August and is a South African public holiday. In line with the above event I did some research and found out that more than 20 000 South African women of all races attended a march on the Union Buildings in protest against the proposed amendments to the Urban Areas Act of 1950, commonly referred to as the “pass laws” in 1956. They protested against the country’s pass laws that required South Africans defined as “black” under The Population Registration Act to carry an internal passport that would limit their rights during apartheid. The women stood silently for 30 minutes and then started singing a protest song that was composed in honour of the occasion: Wathint’Abafazi Wathint’imbokodo! (“Now you have touched the women, you have struck a rock” or its latest incarnation: “you strike a woman, you strike a rock”). This song has come to represent women’s courage and strength in South Africa and was followed by 14 000 petitions that were left at the door step of the prime minister at the time.

In honour of this day and in honour of women that shape economics and tourism in this time and day Metrorail and Drakenstein Municipality partnered and created a Women’s Day event to treat 100 lucky women to open the new established route to visit Wellington (#winelandsroute). Alexandra and I were lucky enough to be invited and one of the first visitors of the newly established route that will be available to the public soon.

The day started at the Premier Lounge of Metrorail and we got a glimpse of the beautiful Blue Train on our way to meet the others (yes, on my bucket list!!!). We registered and realized that they had arranged for us to sit in separate coaches in order to enable networking. We loved the concept as in the tourism industry it is quite important to stay connected. We were handed a goodie bag and a care package and off we went on our way to Wellington.

On the train, we were treated to educational talks while having cupcakes & wine in our cute little Le Creuset Espresso cups. We ate chocolates and biltong and networked like pros. We also made a short stop in Paarl to pick up the Mayor, Conrad Poole, one of the 5 honorary gentlemen accompanying us on this trip.

Wellington is only a short drive or in our case train ride from our beloved and buzzing Cape Town. It is surrounded by the beautiful mountains of the Western Cape and lies the in the heart of the Cape Winelands. Originally named, Wamakersvallei by the first Dutch settlers and later Val du Charron by the French Huguenots – both meaning Valley of the Wagon Makers, Wellington is a place of history and tradition.

After only 45 mins train ride we arrived at the station where we then boarded buses that transported us to the lovely Langkloof Roses Boutique Guest Farm. There we were served tea, coffee and scones with cream and strawberry jam. The Langkloof estate enables visitors to pick roses, go on rose retreats, hold events or weddings and is absolutely stunning. After refreshing ourselves in this gorgeous setting, we drove to the next farm for lunch.

Rhebokskloof Restaurant is located on the Rhebokskloof Wine Estate near Paarl. While lunching you are blessed enough to look over the luscious lawns and the beautiful lake that invites to lazy picnics on a Sunday in the sun. During lunch Metrorail had some more surprises for us. Lucky draws!!! Alexandra and I never win on events like this and while they drew the first lucky winners she excitedly whispered in my ear: “It’s the shape of our business cards. I am certain!” only to be interrupted by the announcer calling out her name. We both laughed and she claimed her price. It’s a trip for two on the Franschhoek Wine Tram (@WineTram). Only a couple of minutes later my name is called out for the price of the day and I end up winning a two-night stay at the Rockwell Hotel in Cape Town with a 4-course dinner for the Kaapse Stories. We both are beyond happy.

Absolutely happy and maybe slightly tipsy from some of the very lovely Rhebokskloof Vinyard Selection – Chardonnay, have it, it’s lovely – we set of to our final selection at the KWV emporium.

While driving to our next stop we get to see more of lovely Paarl. “The Paarl Wine Route, renowned for its rich, full-bodied spicy, red wines and crisp white wines, is the second oldest wine route in the country. Paarl played an important role in the establishment of the wine industry in South Africa with KWV, the first commercial wine cellar in South Africa dating back to 1918 and also Nederburg Wines, who initiated the first international wine auction 40 years ago.” we are educated.

At KWV emporium we were treated to a MCC and cake tasting with tasty miniature cakes and Laborie MCC Brut. I must admit that my attention span had suffered a blow from all the networking – which I genuinely enjoyed – and perhaps the amount of wine that I consumed a wee bit earlier than on a usual day. All I can tell you is that I loved all the pairings. 

After an educational walk around the estate we made our way back home whereby half of the women started sleeping in their coach and the other half went on to pole dance and sing. Guess which coach I was on?

Have we got your interest and you are ready to depart town to enjoy the wine farms and activities in and around Paarl and Wellington? Great, then let us know where you went and what you liked best. We can’t wait to hear your stories!