Mcgregor top 10

2012-05-14 12:57

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If city traffic, crowded malls, and the sound of police sirens at night have finally got you down, it’s time for a weekend in McGregor. Instead of reaching for the tranquillisers, plan a weekend in this gorgeous little town, where people still cross the main road diagonally.


The road into McGregor doesn’t lead anywhere else. The town is off the beaten track, it’s beautiful and on a mental level it’s about as far as you can get from fast-food city franchises and multi-storey car parks.


But that doesn’t mean you’re going to sit around and twiddle your thumbs for the weekend – unless that is what you specifically want to do. In which case you need to find accommodation with a lovely view from the veranda and a comfortable chair. That can be arranged.


But for those of a slightly more enthusiastic ilk, the possibilities are huge. Not endless – this is a small town after all. But certainly enough to keep you busy and entertained for a few days. The tourist information bureau will be able to point you in the right direction for all the activities listed below.


Here are a couple of suggestions:


Get all the info. Start at the tourist information bureau, where you can pick up pamphlets on everything happening in about a 50km radius from the town. Visit the museum while you’re there. And take a look at the stunning photos of all the accommodation that is available. (It’s best to book beforehand, but these people will do it for you)


Rent a bicycle. This you can do at the tourist information bureau. Go and ride around the town’s gravel roads and check out all the beautiful houses and gardens. Now is the time to fantasise about moving here and ‘choosing’ a home for yourself. You can also go and gaze at the photos in the windows of the estate agents and dream about buying your own place here.


Visit the Donkey Sanctuary. Eseltjiesrus is about 2km out of town. Go at feeding time (4pm) for an enthusiastic display. This herd of 22 rescued donkeys is both gorgeous and inspiring. In fact, you can adopt one for as little as R50 per month as a memento of your weekend. Have some gorgeous coffee and a nibble at the restaurant while you’re there.


Go shopping. There’s lovely handmade jewellery at Frangipani (their cappuccino is fabulous) and gorgeous books and candles. The shops in town are not many, but they make one feel as if you could unearth a treasure in all of them, whether it’s an antique, or a jar of handmade jam or scented candles. And all the shop owners come over for a chat.


Eat out. There are some wonderful restaurants and coffee shops in town. From fine dining to pub fare – whatever you feel like, it’s there (except fast food, thank goodness). Tebaldi’s (their back veranda might just be the center of the universe) and Green Gables Restaurant are particular favourites. At both of these you arrive as a stranger, but you certainly don’t leave as one.


Buy lots of books. This happens once a year - usually on the last weekend in May (this year's Book Fair is from the 25 – 27th of May). Thousands of mostly new (some slightly read, and others rare and special) books are for sale in the town hall. People drive from all over to get wonderful book bargains. (It’s all very well to read on a Kindle, but you can’t do that in the bath, can you?) All proceeds go to the Donkey Sanctuary. The other popular event is the Wacky Wine Weekend in June and The Slow Food weekend in August.


Do the art route. There are several galleries in town. Whether it’s a painting you’re after, or some pottery, or jewellery, or a chandelier, this might just be the place to find it. Get a map at the Tourist Information Bureau.


Go birdwatching. There are two bird hides in the Vrolijkheid Nature Reserve. It’s not a strenuous walk to get there – even for young kids or the elderly. Go and take a look at these beautiful creatures in their natural habitat.


Go wine routing. There are at least six different wineries in the region. Go and have a taste and enjoy the scenery while you’re at it. The good news is that the wine of the region is reasonably priced, so leave room in your boot for a case or two.


Go hiking. There is the Boesmanskloof Hiking Trail that will take you to Greyton. It is a walk of 14km. There are also shorter walking trails. Info at the tourism bureau. You can also get a permit there.


Pamper yourself. Whether you need a haircut, or a reiki session or a massage, it’s all right there. It might be an idea to book beforehand, especially over weekends. Enquire at Temenos if you need a space in which to meditate.

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