5 Cape Country Meander gems

2013-06-11 15:59
Travelling along the Overberg countryside is a treat for anyone with an eye for beauty, a soul filled with wanderlust and a taste for wine.

I recently explored the Cape Country meander and fell head over heels in love with the warm hospitality of Villiersdorp and the awe-inspiring beauty of Greyton.

However, en route between my two main destinations, I stopped off every now and then to discover a few of the lesser-known pearls in the crown of the Overberg. 

These are five of my favourites: 

Peregrine farm stall

Located on the Houw Hoek Pass, you will find Peregrine Farm Stall right across the N2-R321 intersection, a few kilometers after you've passed Grabouw turn-off (if you're coming from Cape Town).

Connecting the City of Cape Town with the Overberg, this pass is home to at least three great farm stalls, of which Peregrine is the oldest (the oldest in the Western Cape, in fact) and a favourite among many travellers to this area. Make sure you get there early enough to pull in at the Red Tractor Café for breakfast - their Farmer's Delight croissant with scrambled eggs or French Toast paired with a delicious cappuccino comes highly recommended. 

After breakfast, pop into the farm stall section to stock up on some home-baked goodies before heading on into the rest of the meander. If you're unfamiliar with the area, also make a point of visiting the tourism information office, where someone will be able to tell you more about the most intriguing sites and experiences and point them out on a map. 

Contact: Call 021 848 9011 and check out the Peregrine website 

Beaumont wine cellar & the working watermill 

You will find Beaumont Winery at the very crook of the curve in the road that takes you to the heart of Bot River's tiny CBD (there's a hotel and a shop or two). 

If wine tasting with crowds has never really been your thing, this is the perfect spot for you! Run by the Beaumont family, the winery is located just far enough off the beaten track to be avoided by the lazy, but close enough for the curious to seek it out and find it.

Beaumont was established on the Companjesdrift Farm in the 1970s after the property had suffered years and years of neglect. However Raoul and Jayne Beaumont quickly breathed new life into it by planting fresh vineyards and restoring the old cottages. Interestingly, it was Jayne who first started experimenting with winemaking in the mid 70s and instilled in her family a passion for the art. Nowadays they produce an exceptional collection of 10 red, white and rose wines and two dessert wines.

Apart from wine tasting, Beaumont is also the perfect spot for a weekend break. There are two gorgeous cottages - the two-bedroom Mill House and the one-bedroom Pepper Tree Cottage - sheltered underneath large, shady trees. Both have open fireplaces in the kitchen, lovely wood-burning stoves in the living room, electric heaters and hot water bottles for the winter months. 

While you're there, be sure to visit the finely renovated watermill. Restored into working order by Andy Selfe, it houses three different mill machines and is driven by a beautiful wooden water wheel that is powered by a natural stream. This living museum does produce beautiful stone ground flour in limited quantities, available at the cellar.

Contact: Call 028 284 9194 or visit the Beaumont website 


Located about 130km from Cape Town, and only five outside the it-town of Greyton, you will find the little village of Genadendal. 

What makes it special, is the fact that it is home to the historic remains of South Africa's oldest Moravian Mission Village. Founded by Georg Schmidt, a German missionary, on 23 April 1738, the station set out to evangelise among the Khoi people and soon became a blossoming spiritual centre.

These days the historic town centre gives tourists a bit of insight into the workings of the mission station in earlier days. What makes the experience super special is the fact that one can practically feel the love and dedication that has gone into keeping the church yard well looked after - all the work of local historian and museum curator, Dr Isaac Balie

During a visit to Genadendal, be sure to check out the big and beautiful old church, the town's museum with its incredible variety of displays, covering everything from working antique musical instruments to the kind of games Genadendal children used to play before the days of TV and cell phones. Surrounding the church square, you will also find a variety of intriguing industries where you can buy fine, hand-made pottery, rustic metal work or beautiful weaved tapestries.

Not untouched by apartheid-related strife, the town's peaceful legacy was honoured in February 1995 when former President Nelson Mandela announced that his official residence in Cape Town has been renamed Genadendal. On 10th October 1995 he paid an official visit.

Contact: Call 028 251 8220 The museum is open on Monday to Thursday 09:00 - 13:00, 14:00 - 17:00, Friday 09:00 - 15:30, Saturday 10:00 - 14:00. 


Coming from Cape Town's side, it's disturbingly easy to miss Gabrielskloof winery, which is hidden from view until you've almost sped past. So, once you've just left Bot River, start counting the kilometers till you reach 27 and then turn right onto a gravel road. From here the Spanish-villa-like winery surrounded by perfectly lined vineyards, olive orchards, leaves all a glitter and fields of lavender stands tall on the hill, inviting you to spend the day. 

No matter what the weather, it's always pleasant to arrive. On sunny days the green inner courtyard with its two ponds are reminiscent of fairytales like the princess and the frog, while stormy winters days provide the perfect opportunity to huddle close to the fire in the classy restaurant or cozy wine tasting section - both with breathtaking views of the gentle Overberg hills, valleys and vineyards. 

Gabrielskloof, as it is known today, was established in 2001 and named for its original owner of 1860, Gabriel le Roux. Apart from their selection of eight exquisite wines (of which their Rosebud is my favourite and an absolute delight), they also produce olive oil and lavender products. 

Contact: Call 028 284 9865 or check out the Gabrielskloof website 

The Caledon Spa

Located on the same premises as the Caledon Hotel and Casino, the Caledon Spa is an absolute bucket list must for every South African. 

Built on the location of mineral-rich hot springs, the spa is home to a selection of pools containing water of varying heat degrees - from the icy fridgidarium to a tiny pool of 40 degree Celsius. Apart from this, they also have a sauna, Turkish baths and Swiss showers all kept in pristine condition. The spa is hugely popular, so if you want to avoid crowds, be sure to go early in the morning to make the most of the healing waters. 

Start or finish your day off with a delectable massage at the treatment centre.

Contact: Call 028 214 5100 or check out the Caledon website

To end off my trip, I used the Europcar Roadtripper app to map out the route I took. It's a fun way of reminiscing about your favourite journeys or planning ones you've been dreaming about. Check out Europcar's Facebook page to find the app and read this article for more information on how it works.

Read more on:    weekend escapes  |  travel south africa


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