Eating is my main reason for travelling. When I travel to the West Coast, for example, I do so mainly to eat crayfish (weskus-kreef, actually). I go Scottburgh for good avocados, and I go home – to the Midlands Karoo – for the best lamb chops in the world.
Even when travelling abroad, too, the EifFel Tower is but a sideline sighting when compared to the Parisian pastries that enticed me to book that ticket in the first place.
Yes, I travel to eat. And when you’re a traveller like me, you must know that spring is the time when you need to get out to the Overberg to experience the freshest feast nature can prepare.
What and where
The Overberg is a region in South Africa to the east of Cape Town beyond the Hottentots-Holland mountains. It lies along the Western Cape Province's south coast between the Cape Peninsula and the Garden Route in the east.
The area is well known as a rich, agricultural hub, where everything from wine to wheat, livestock to lifestyle, beach and boulders flourish in abundance.
For many, the Overberg is a place of surreal beauty in the spring, when canola flowers bloom to create a velvety, bright yellow blanket that spreads over the hills and valleys.
Autumn, again, is like the season of abundance. It’s the time when winemakers get to taste the fruits of their labour, and when farmers get to count the yields of their crops - a season with a good cause for celebration.
Regardless of the season, here is where you should book a seat at the Overberg's harvest tables:
The N2 runs like a main artery through the Overberg, and every 100 kilometers or less, farm stalls have populated the highway and the small off-roads on the N2.
Dassiesfontein along the N2, The Orchard on the Sir Lowry's Pass, Tredici in Swellendam, Peregrine Farm Stall with its freshly baked goods, the flagship Ou Meul Bakery in Riviersonderend, the Blue Crane Farm Shop, Napier Farm Stall, the Red Windmill Farm Stall and Van Brakel Stoor are but a handful of our favourites...
ALSO READ: MAP: 53 Fabulous Farmstalls you have to stop at
Vineyards & Wine Farms
This is where the magic happens. The entire Overberg has six quality wine producing regions, each with their own unique terroir and make-up.
Most of the wine farms and vineyards listed below also have their own world class restaurants on site, and pairing the good food with a previous year's local vintage is a must. The setting, the food, the local wine and the turning of the season, all wrapped into one eating experience is absolutely sublime.
The Elgin Wine Valley
Must-visits include Paul Cluver wine estate for a taste of their iconic apple cider, Almenkerk Wine Estate for the breath-taking views and Oak Valley estate for a one of the best Elgin Valley lunches in the The Pool Room restaurant.
The Hermanus Wine Route R320 | Hemel en Aarde Valley
Some must-visits include the Bosman Family Vineyards for their delicious, fairtrade wines, Creation Wines, the quirky Hermanuspietersfontein, Jakob’s Vineyards, the Restaurant at Newton Johnson, as well as Sumaridge wines.
Theewaterskloof & Greyton area
We love this quieter route to follow. Villiersdorp Cellar and Andy Mitchell Wines are certain musts.
The Botriver area
In this valley, we love Beaumont wines, Benguela Cove, the beautifully situated Gabriëlskloof - especially for its summer concerts - Luddite wines, Paardenkloof and Wildekrans.
The Stanford area
This is another quiet route than can easily be overlooked. Our two favourite wineries in the area are Stanford Hills and Lomond.
The Elim/L’Agullhas area
In the southernmost tip of Africa, you cannot go home without visiting the Black Oystercatcher or Sijnn wines. And while it's technically not wine, a taste of the locally made Inverroche Gin, made at the distillery in Stilbay also comes highly recommended.
SEE: Heading South - Dawdle, explore, breathe
Nothing captures the essence of a destination quite like a market or fare, and the Overberg is the mother of country marketplaces in South Africa.
And during summer months when there are night markets all round, the warm Western Cape weather makes for a super romantic Overberg activity. We love the Hermanuspietersfontein Weekly Saturday Farmers Market, as well as the monthly Stanford Evening Market (every last Friday of the month), the iconic Standford Saturday Morning Market, the monthly Under the Oaks Village Market in Swellendam, the weekly Elgin Valley Market, Greyton's beloved Saturday Morning Market as well as the Hermanus Saturday Morning Country Market.
Also eat at –
Apart from the markets, wine farms and farm stalls in the Overberg, there are also plenty of highly-acclaimed specialty shops and restaurants.
La Sosta in Swellendam, for example, was crowned he best Italian restaurant in SA for 2014.
Madre's Kitchen in Stanford, the Stormvlei Farm Stall & Restaurant in Swellendam and the Klein River cheese factory in Stanford are equally unique spots to check out.
Some of our favourite niche spots to check out also include Bee & Kie Honey Factory in Kleinmond, the Wildebraam Berry Estate in Swellendam as well as Winters Drift at the Train station in the Elgin Valley.