The Breede Valley in the Western Cape is the largest wine producing region of the country. It also makes for easy getaways if you’re based in Cape Town.
Since our return to our home country, we’ve tried to see and do as much as possible and explore our city and province and learn and enjoy all it has to offer.
First stop…or three: The Breede Valley.
Our first destination is Tulbagh.
Other than a most exquisite wedding at Montpellier 10 years ago we haven’t visited Tulbagh in any significant way.
We were excited to enjoy architecture, heritage and culture.
Our plan for Tulbagh was two-fold. We wanted to bask in the natural surroundings, cut off from the world, enjoy peace and quiet from sunrise to sunset and so we chose Witzenburg Base Camp, an extraordinary off-grid glamping spot in the mountains. For the latter part of our stay we thought we’d compromise, find a happy medium of our usual mixed in with an air of sophistication. And so, we found Le Réve Boutique hotel.
But before we step into the magnificence of Church Street and her offerings let me share with you our two pit stops.
On the R44 between Hermon and Wellington you will find Morale Coffee To Go. This not-so-hidden gem is a true oasis in the middle of nowhere, serving up everything from coffee to frozen drinks and a few snacks and bites.
The ambiance is perfect for a quick break, with giant haystacks adding to the country charm. Plus, there are chairs set out so you can take in the breathtaking mountain views while sipping your coffee. It’s open every day of the week, so there’s no excuse to miss out .
They didn’t have any dairy alternatives during our visit so this vegan wanderer wasn’t too impressed but the setting is unique and oh so cute.
Just before entering Tulbagh a road sign promises a deli, gifts and light lunches. What we got was a glorious lawn, spectacular views and a furry friend for our Bailey while we dined al fresco. Kloofzicht Estate offers accommodation with a swimming pool, perfect for Tulbagh’s sweaty summers. When we wandered around we thought we might return for a night or two but after our glamping at Witzenburg, there can really be no other option.
I run out of superlatives when I try to describe this serene corner of the valley. Simplicity, convenience, a haven, a naturalist’s dream, are some alternatives but I honestly couldn’t do it justice with just words. Add to that, we didn’t take all that many photos. See, we didn’t think about creating content during our visit which was a blessing because we were able to simply enjoy.
The camping hut is on a farm where our host, Wendy, a Canadian native, and their horses, live a self-sufficient lifestyle. There are olives and granadillas for guests to enjoy and a waterfall nearby for those hot days. The farm family has 4 resident dogs and they’re delightful. Two of them spent most of their time with us, playing and hanging out with our Bailey. They’re pretty good though, if you’re not a fan of dogs – how did you even find this blog – you can send them home and they will oblige, albeit reluctantly.
The hut uses gas for cooking and all the ‘electric’ points are powered by either solar or battery energy. I loved the juxtaposition of being stripped down to basics, yet fully stepping into the future. What a treat!
Our days were filled with walking, reading and staring into the open and our nights filled with stargazing in the outdoor tub and what a display of stars we were treated to.
If you’d like a link to the accommodation use our contact form and we’ll happily share it with you.
The second part of our Tulbagh stay was at the Le Réve Boutique Hotel. The French owned resort is closer to the town’s centre but still far enough away to enjoy beautiful, natural surrounds.
After Witzenburg nothing was going to come close in terms of serenity but LeReve sure did try. The staff are really friendly and do their best with what they have. The hotel has a long way to go so for now I’ll focus on the surroundings. It’s a great base for some short hikes in the area, wine tasting, farm visits and walking tours in town.
And so we move on to our next Breede Valley beauty. This time, in the Rawsonville valley, right on the river is a rustic campsite called Rivierplaas. After pitching our tent and taking in the surrounding we knew we’d stay longer than we planned. Thankfully, the site managers have a rule to keep a site open for a day between visits, that meant we were able to extend our stay with ease.
Riverside camping means kayak trips before breakfast, after lunch and if you’d like, after dinner as well. The well-kept campsite is large, large enough to walk and wander for hours and even get lost. We took our own but small boats, kayaks and paddle boards are provided. They also have a short zipline for dramatic splashes into the river and rafts big enough to carry 4-6 humans.
Just an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town and you’re surrounded my mountains, trails, a flowing river, birdlife and an endless sky. Rivierplaas makes for a great quick getaway and they have everything you need whether you’re a seasoned camper or still figuring things out like us. The ablutions are pristine with staff checking in and cleaning daily. Hot water can be prepared using a ‘warm water donkey’ and the shared kitchen offers basic cleaning supplies as well.
Our final stop on today’s wander is McGregor, a sleepy town on the outer limits of the Breede Valley on your way to Langeberg region. McGregor is known for its old buildings, art work, slow living and not much in between. Which makes it perfect for us.
We found a wonderful little spot 3km outside of the town called Fossil Hills. I was drawn to the outside hot tub and the paddle-able, swimmable dam and the invitation to do nothing for days. The family-run farm is perfect for a quiet getaway and some of the other guests, our neighbours during our stay, would come out for a visit a few times a year. Fishing in the dam, swimming, reading in the hot tub, walkabouts on the tremendous farm grounds makes it a great place to go to forget or remember or just be.
This place set the tone for us, to explore and enjoy more and take it all in.
The Fossil Hills family have since ventured into added avenues of tourism and if you’d like to read about it I’ve included a link here. It shares about their bringing together of nature, wine and fitness.
Our Breede Valley visits were, for us, about reconnecting and resetting and remembering our love for wandering and sharing it with others.
While these three stops weren’t for the sake of content we’ll be sure to gather as much as we can so that we can take you with us, bring a bit of the place back for you and share. That’s why you’re here isn’t it.
We’re so excited to get back on the road to see and experience some new places.
Have you seen and experienced anything you’d like to share? We’d love to hear about it in the comments below or by using our contact form.