How we got ourselves into a Segway wine tour at Spier! A couple of weeks ago JENMAN had its team participate in a fun-filled afternoon of trivia. The JENMAN crew was put into small groups and our minds were put to the challenge. How many legs does a butterfly have? Where do Brazil nuts come from? This grueling session was well worth it as the winning team received a prize that we were all able to enjoy…..a fabulous Segway tour at the Spier winery and guesthouse! Needless to say my team was thrilled to be awarded this hard-won prize!
A week later, the fruits of our labour was realized. The five of us headed off into the picturesque town of Stellenbosch for our Segway wine tour and within no time we found ourselves at the Spier, raring to go. Unfortunately, the weather didn’t seem to appreciate our efforts and dark clouds threatened to rain on our parade. However Cape Town is famous for seemingly instantaneous weather changes so my team and I focused on a blue spot in the sky and willed it to open up. Soon enough, the clouds blew past us and the sun came out just in time.
We were ushered to an paved area that looked like a tennis court that had five shiny Segways lined up and ready for us. Our guide gave us our helmets (safety first!) and proceeded to demonstrate how to safely operate it. It’s quite simple really, there isn’t a powered motor (at least, it didn’t seem that way), you maneuver it with your body. Lean forward and it moves forward, lean back and it slows and/or stops. You must wear a necklace that looks like it had a stopwatch at the end of it. Each of these control the speed to which your personal Segway can go. At first, we were put on the beginner speed (aka slow as a turtle speed) and after the briefing, we were ready to try it out for ourselves.
I went first and slowly but surely made my way around the tennis court a few times. After a minute or so I got the hang of it and was hoping my guide would switch me on to the intermediate speed. First, I must do a practice run on the grassy area to make sure I could control it properly “off road”. This proved to be a bit tricky at first but again, after a couple of rounds, you get the hang of it. And most importantly, it was really fun! My team members were now ready for a go themselves and one by one, they all got a turn on the paved area and then on the grassy bit. By now, we were ready to roll on our tour.
First we travelled slowly through a lovely garden area with trees and a little bridge. It also showcased some beautiful flowers including South Africa’s beloved national flower, the Protea. Our guide chatted to us as we rode past and gave us interesting bits of information. Did you know that there are over 1300 species of Protea flowers in the Western Cape? I didn’t.
We stopped for a photo op because the area is quite lovely and then carried on.
At this point we were in front of the vineyard with a backdrop of the mountains. There is certainly no shortage of beauty in this area. We continue on the path and eventually my little heart was dying to go a wee bit faster and apparently so was one of my lovely colleagues so we slowed to a snail’s pace as the others moved ahead of us. Within a minute or so, we had some space to fly and fly we did..well as much as our intermediate level of speed would allow that is. I must say, this was my favorite part as the Segway is quite an enjoyable ride! We whizzed through the vineyards with ease.
There were a bumps along the way and some sand that is a little more difficult to pass through but this only added to our delight, we enjoyed the challenge. One section was a little ditch of sorts that we had to travel down and I enjoyed it so much that I went back up and down several times while my team soldiered on. This of course was no problem because I got to go super fast to catch up with them.
Our tour ended much too quickly and it was time to go….but not before a little wine tasting, we are the Spier after all! Our driver enjoyed some coffee at the restaurant on the property while a couple of us sampled a some of the fine wine that these vineyards produce. We said goodbye to our wonderful host/guide and thanked him for our adventure….I must do this again sometime soon, I think the only real hazard here is that the Segway might be a tad addictive!