It struck me as an unusual combination of activities, A game drive and wine tasting. Villiera was offering quite a deal though, so we gave it a whirl. Firstly, let me give you the spiel on Villiera,
Villiera is a family run winery in the Stellenbosch region of South Africa. We are a pioneering quality wine company committed to preserving the environment.
Their environmental angle was the lure for us. We figured their game reserve would likely be handled well and be friendly toward the animals if they were so environmentally conscientious. It turns out we weren’t far off the mark. Here are my thoughts on our experience, plus a few photos from the game drive.
The Villiera winery itself is quite cool. Big old trees, solar panels, and a very nice tree-shaded tasting patio. Even if you only go for the wine tasting, it’s a lovely spot. The tasting room staff were certainly nice enough, although at times you could tell they handle a high volume of visitors. Their tasting list is extensive, and also has more than a few nice Cap Classique selections.
The game drive rolls out directly from the winery. Which worked out nicely for us in the form of a glass of bubbly while we waited for the drive to start. Bubbles are always good for morale. Promptly on time, the two of us were whisked off in a little shaded game drive truck.
We spent a couple of hours driving around the 220 hectare wildlife sanctuary. We learned quite a few neat details on how the winery operates responsibly alongside their wildlife neighbours. One of my favourite things they do is using ducks to control vineyard insects. They have a posh little pond right beside the vineyard rows. So the ducks enjoy a splash then cruise the fields for troublesome insects. Call it symbiotic or whatever — the ducks look damn happy.
Our guide was quite knowledgeable regarding all the plants and animals in the nature reserve, and we ended up learning some interesting things. The reserve is a bit newly established, but the animals living there appeared to have plenty of variety and room to roam.
An unexpected strong point of the reserve was the variety of birds and waterfowl. There are several watering holes throughout the property, and the region’s birds seem to have quickly spotted a good thing. For birders, this would likely be an extra entertaining drive.
We viewed several different sorts of animals in the reserve, which I’ll let my little photo album show you.
All in all, we had quite a fun afternoon at Villiera . It was pleasing to see that their dedication to nature and the environment was more than just a marketing ploy. And tasting several good wines didn’t hurt at all either.