Cape Town - To reach the outskirt escapes of the Overberg one is treated to some unique pit stops and must-do Overberg detours. Well known and visited for beach holidays to Hermanus, Struisbaaimand L'Agulhas.
We've served up a helpful guide to what awaits you while headed to your go-to Overberg destinations.
Route 1: Sir Lowry's Pass to Hermanus
Many a Capetonian has made the popular trip to Hermanus and many will continue to do so for years to come. Hermanus has always been a crowd pleaser, be it for winter wine touring, buzzing summer vacations, the popular whale festival each September or its baby brother the ‘kalfiefees’.
Many choose to take the scenic coastal road past Gordon’s Bay, but the express N2 option via Sir Lowry’s Pass has all sorts of surprises in store. You might know the road to Hermanus as the N2 and R43, but lately we have come to know it as an Elgin Adventure worthy of a couple of stops and detours.
Welcome a sensory explosion from the second you take the turn-off to the right, after passing Grabouw. Peregrine farm stall has been a favourite family leg-stretching pit stop since the sixties. Today this farm stall is completely transformed into a one-stop shop for locally sourced artisanal goods and wholesome, responsibly farmed, fresh produce. Stop to stock up on juicy Overberg fruit, biltong, fresh bakes from the in-house bakery, fynbos honey, wine and craft beer.
Not to be missed: Peregrine calls it a roadtrip essential – and we couldn’t agree more. A freshly baked pie from Peregrine is a well-known must, oozing with saucy goodness tucked in a heavenly pastry.
The Hickory Shack
This stop comes highly recommended. If you’re after a traditional Texas- style BBQ then this smokehouse should be high on your list. Think wood-fires, blue smoke and organic chips. All their meats are carefully selected for the heritage, texture and taste they bring; dry rubbed; slow cooked; and lightly basted right at the very end.
Not to be missed: “We can highly recommend the beef brisket and pulled pork, accompanied by an assortment of side dishes – from homemade beans and slaw to golden fries,” says Pieter Geldenhuys, founder of Luxury Safaris and an avid Elgin enthusiast. Be sure to taste the craft beer they have on offer too – it’s all part of the adventure!
The Orchard Farm Stall
As you enter Grabouw, you’ll pass another Elgin Valley delight that gives you that warm Overberg welcome - The Orchard Farm Stall. Here, pinch off some time to sit down and relax at the coffee shop while the kids explore the outdoors. This is one of those typical homey farm stalls that have remained consistent in their flavoursome home meals through the years. After many trips through the Elgin Valley. I always seem to return to this peaceful spot.
You are hit with a bang of coffee as soon as you enter the doors and you almost blindly follow the aromas into the quaint coffee shop – but make no mistake, The Orchard Farm Stall serves a Sunday lunch that makes it more than a mere pit stop.
Not to be missed: For the banters out there – try the cauli-mash with your meal
Old Mac Daddy
This spot should make you reconsider your final destination. Past Peregrine on the right, keep an eye out for Elgin Valley Road. Turn right and make your way to Old Mac Daddy. Hermanus isn’t going anywhere and Old Mac Daddy merits a stopover to experience glamping Elgin style. Book a night in one of 12 uniquely themed trailer suites, Daddy’s Villa for the family or Daddy’s Hideaway.
In a hurry? Keep your eyes peeled for Sunday lunch events at The Barn – Old Mac Daddy’s restaurant.
Not to be missed: Old Mac Daddy boasts an impressive range of adventure activities. Even more reason to make this detour. From obstacle course race, stand up paddle boarding, kayaking to aqua zorbing! SEE: The secret is out at Old Mac Daddy...
Besides delicious eats and trendy stays, the Elgin Valley is fast becoming the adventurer’s go-to escape.
With its rolling hills, vineyards, apple orchards, single tracks and sunshine – many an adventure traveller will be surprised by the offerings available.
Cape Canopy Tours
Take the detour into Grabouw towards Villiersdorp and join the company of soaring eagles, surrounded by Cape fynbos and breathtaking mountains. Cape Canopy tours is a thrill for one and all and is now conveniently situated in the Elgin Valley – no need to wait until your next Garden Route holiday to swing between the trees and set your inner Tarzan free.
In 2015 this attraction was listed the second best new attraction in the WORLD by Lonely Planet! Take a photo tour of the Zipline experience here
Mountain biking @ Paul Cluver
Paul Cluver Wines is a family owned winery boasting beautiful mountain bike trails. Some of the route is quite technical, with single track, hectic climbs and bridges built on massive tree trunks and wine barrel slats.
Guided mountain biking excursions from Elgin to Hermanus, via Botriver are also available. “There is a bit of technical riding here too, so some experience and a decent level of fitness is certainly recommended; however, there are a few sneaky shortcuts if you’re more interested in the views than the cycling!” says Deborah Smook from Elgin Adventures.
Route 2: Hermanus to Caledon - Hemel en Aarde wine route
Travelling between Hermanus and Caledon is a day trip in itself and many wine farms teasingly invite you for a slight detour. We recommend making the following stops (we apologize in advance to all the designated drivers out there):
Hermanuspietersfontein sits conveniently on the R43 and in the Hemel-en-Aarde village. A visit to the tasting room will soon introduce you to the cellar's familiar icon, the sheep. Herman Pieters taught the Overberg children in Dutch and received his payment in sheep. Hermanuspieterfontein therefore reckons that we know Hermanus today thanks to sheep.
The perfect time to visit Hermanuspietersfontein would be on a Saturday morning when they host their long standing market. Scrumptious breakfasts, fresh seafood, artisan food stalls and, of course, free wine tastings will give your day of travels the start it needs.
Sumaridge Estate Wines
My visit to Sumaridge had me immediately in awe of the beautiful architecture and serene surroundings. Inspired by the architecture in the French region of Côte de Beaune, Sumaridge will transport you to a charming European village hidden peacefully in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.
Enjoy the mountain vineyard's reds and whites with lunch platters which can be enjoyed in the dining room from 12:00 - 14:00 from Tuesdays to Sundays. The tasting room is open daily from 10:00 - 15:00.
Spookfontein, so named because of the mythical ghost that resides in the stream, is a charming escape from the bustle of the city and the perfect destination for a lazy wine tasting break.
Covered in fynbos, vines and olive trees and overlooked by the Babilonstoring mountains, Spookfontein makes for a peaceful stop. The wines possess a unique character created due to rocky soils and the cool Walker Bay breeze.
A meal at Eat:Love:Live restaurant will top off your Spookfontein visit perfectly.
Extend your stay by exploring the fynbos covered surroundings on a leisurely hike or by mountain bike.
Creation pride themselves in wines with rare balance, elegance, distinction and finesse. Terroir and craftmanship are combined to create the range of award-winning wines you will get to taste at Creation.
After the delectable lunch at Eat:ove:Life, a chocolate and wine pairing is a suitable desert. Creation is loved for their unque tastig experiences and even the kids are invited for a surprise pairing. Click here to find out more about Creation's unique pairing experiences.
Hamilton Russell Vineyards
The cool maritime Hemel-en-Aarde appellation and close proximity to the sea creates the unique terroir best suited for Hamilton Russell's Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These varieties, produced on a small scale, are in high demand worldwide. How lucky are you to simply pop in and taste these remarkable wines! Visit the tasting room from Monday to Friday until 17:00 and Saturdays until 13:00.
The Cape Mountain fynbos on the estate produce a beautiful dark honey and the estate also produces its very own Extra Virgin olive oil. Take some home as a reminder of the beautiful fynbos-rich Hamilton Russell.
Route 3: The winding N2 - from Swellendam to Botrivier
Many travellers make per chance meetings with the Overberg as they travel down to Cape Town via the N2, stretching from the Overberg’s west to east. Travelling between Swellendam and Botrivier along the N2, there are a couple of well-deserved stops to make. Choose one or pop by them all - you are bound to find something unique at each stop
SEE: Swellendam: The Overberg's unexpected adventure hub
Just outside Swellendam, you will find Tredici – meaning a baker’s dozen. Explore the local wine collection, and escape to Italy in Swellendam.
Not to be missed: This one is self-explanatory – don’t continue on your journey without stocking up on freshly baked bread.
Outside Caledon, Dassiesfontein is just bursting at the seams with the largest variety of both odd and wonderful South African things. Prepare a comprehensive shopping list before heading to Dassiesfontein and find items like bokkoms, genuine leather shoes, sandals and bags, enamelware fit for any ‘plaashuis’, an inviting selection of cheeses, meat, preserves and wines and yes, quite a large selection of intriguing crafts. This truly is your one-stop shop for last-minute Christmas shopping before heading to your favourite Overberg coastal escape.
Not to be missed: With so many nooks and crannies one can easily get side tracked, but Dassiesfontein hides a great leather product selection.
The Original Ou Meul Bakery
When travelling through Riviersonderend there is only one stop in my mind and that is the crowd-drawing Ou Meul Bakery. You might have seen Ou Meul bakeries pop up across the Western Cape, but Riviersonderend is the original home of this booming brand.
Not to be missed: If you pass through early enough, definitely stop for a brekkie, otherwise take croissants or a salted caramel tart for the road. Coffee is obviously also a must.
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