Have you been on a Segway before? I hadn’t! Until I visited Spier Wine Estate for their off-road Segway tour and it was AWESOME! I felt totally safe and it was exhilarating! Here’s what went down…
Spier Picnic and Segway Tour
Lunch First with a Spier Wine Estate Picnic
Mr John and I arrived on a stinking hot Sunday afternoon and were welcomed to a picnic under the large boughs of a beautiful old oak tree. We were surrounded by kids having a blast, playing their version of, “One potato, two potato” [do you know that game?], while their parents relaxed for a friendly gathering.
The picnic offers a wonderful spread of South African and French-influenced dishes. My favourites included the freshly baked ciabatta, the potato salad with bacon bits (YUM!), the olive selection, the rocket, chicken and current salad and the caramel dessert. The dessert wasn’t the best I’d ever had, but there was something nostalgic about it that made me smile.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed to drink the wine before driving the Segway – but you best believe I saved it for later! (Hello Monday after work!)
What’s great about the picnic area is that there is a Spier farmhouse cafe just along the way so you’re welcome to add a few items should you be in the mood for something a bit different.
Spier Segway Tour
Mr John and I joined the segway group at 3:30pm for the tour. The later time actually suited me as it was very hot in Stellenbosch and I burn easily. We arrived at the office on the far side of Spier and were greeted by our instructor for the day, Dylan.
I was nervous as I’d never ridden a Segway before and had concerns about hurting myself. But Dylan was INCREDIBLY patient, kind and clear about how to use the Segway both in optimal conditions and when things go wrong. We practised possible falls and he instructed us on how to reduce injury should we crash. We were able to give it a few spins in the car park as well as on a more bumpy course on the lawn before setting off.
Off-Road Segway Tour
From the get-go, riding a Segway on the farm is exhilarating. A very small portion of the tour is on cement, meaning you’re in the ‘bundu’ from the start. Driving up sandy roads and footpaths up the Spier hills is just marvellous. Whizzing past the velt and vineyards with the wind blowing over your shoulders; really is a wonderful experience.
We were given a lovely tour of the Spier hills, stopping off at a ‘test block’ where vineyards are grown and used to trial various methods before applying any changes to the whole farm. The test block offers a beautiful view across the Stellenbosch valley, up to the Hottentots-Holland mountains. And on a day with baby blue skies, it was perfection.
Our adventure continued to the hills of Spier where the farm’s free-range chickens reside. They literally live in a caravan on the hill (think round, gypsy caravans, not something you see parked in Mosselbay over December!). They were really friendly as they thought we were bringing them food! #CakeFriends. These chickens lay free-range eggs, which are sold at Spier as well us patrol the farm, providing fresh manure for the vineyards.
We ended the tour by flying down the hill, across the brook and back to the office. I LOVED it segway tour and want to ride a segway to work every day of my life now! (If only!).
How Does a Segway Work?
The Segway works on a leaning method where to turn right, you lean the shaft right. To go left, you lean the shaft left. This takes a little getting used to as most of us are used to bicycles where you turn the handlebars. This is not the same on a Segway. The more you lean forward the faster you go until the limit is reached.
How Fast Does It Go?
The fastest you can go on the Spier tour is 20kms an hour, which Dylan will have to grant permission for on your Segway. We started off at 10kms an hour, but he ‘upgraded’ us due to our competency. I’m sure if there’s a really experienced group, they could go faster but I feel 20kms an hour is appropriate – because it’s not about staying on, it’s about what happens when you come off!
How Long is the Tour?
The whole tour, including training, is about an hour and a half. Half an hour on training and safety and an hour out in the field. Should you wish to ride for longer, they do have a number of options including the Spier Wine Farm and Vineyards Glide which is 2 hours and the Dusk Tour which is 2 hours.
How Much Does It Cost?
Our tour was R350 per person. The wine tasting tour is R550 per person and the 7 hour dusk tour is R700 per person. Full rates available on the Spier Segway Tour page.
What Should I Wear?
I wore sandals and Mr John wore sneakers, which was a better option. I pierced myself on a stick when walking to the chickens, which left a nice gash in my foot, OUCH! So I’d recommend sneakers, but shorts and a t-shirt, with lots of sunblock is great. Helmets are provided so your face is partially covered. Sunglasses to protect your eyes from the wind is also helpful.
I’d absolutely love to do a Segway tour again! It was the perfect afternoon activity and so much fun! Definitely look into giving it a whirl if you feel like doing something different. Bookings are essential to avoid disappointment. Contact them on +27 (21) 809 1157 or visit www.segwaytours.co.za.
THANK YOU SPIER FOR HAVING US! THAT WAS AWESOME!