The first host venue of the 2024 Absa Cape Epic, Lourensford welcomes the race for the eleventh time. Nestled within the Helderberg Basin with the Helderberg, Jonkershoek and Hottentots Holland Mountains semi-circling it, the farm is best known for wine, fruit, as a movie set and increasingly for world-class mountain biking trails.
Founded in 1700 by the then Dutch governor of the Cape, Willem Adriaan van der Stel, Lourensford is among South Africa’s oldest wine estates. Renowned for its wines, fruit and farmed proteas the farm hosted the Absa Cape Epic Grand Finale from 2007 to 2014 before a hiatus which was ended with the Prologue, Stage 1 and Stage 2 start in 2022. In 2023 it hosted one of the wettest ever stages in the race’s history and one of the most dramatic, which saw both the elite men’s yellow and elite women’s orange leader's jersey change hands.
Lourensford Wine Estate is open for wine tasting, seven days a week, and is also host to a selection of restaurants, a weekend market, trout fishing, clay pigeon shooting and padel courts. The farm’s latest lifestyle art and experience installation is the Earth Box. Opened in November 2023 it offers an immersive journey through geological time by walking through a 24 metre long underground chamber that drops to 5 metres below the surface. The raw earth walls and floors, which are made up of 550- and 560-million-year-old soils, absorb sound and heat, providing visitors with a feeling of cool calmness.
Visit Lourensford: www.lourensford.co.za
Route Director's Tip
Straight away there’s the longest climb and the longest descent of the day. Then the fun stuff starts. We linked up the very best around Meerendal so it’s worth really savouring these trails and enjoying the moment – the time you’ll make up by racing full gas has minimal rewards compared to the rest of the week.