A trip to the picturesque town of Riebeek-Kasteel, north of Cape Town, will provide you with an experience that is truly unique to South Africa. Follow the N7 out of the city, and once you reach Malmesbury, follow the signs to reach this charming one-horse town. In the heart of the Swartland region, the village is situated on the slopes of Castle Mountain, less than an hour's drive from the city.
In addition to the natural beauty of the Riebeek valley and the drama of the Swartland mountains, there are numerous additional places to visit in the region.
The Swartland is renowned for its exceptional wines and olives, and Riebeek-Kasteel and the surrounding valley are prime examples of this region's fertility.
Kloovenburg, a picturesque Cape Dutch estate with exceptional wines and olive products, is located at the entrance of the village. Visit the Kloovenburg cellar to sample their world-class products after parking beneath the century-old oaks. Here, winemaker Pieter du Toit produces exceptional red wines, and the estate is renowned for its exceptional Shiraz. Annalene, the wife of Du Toit, is an expert on olives and is responsible for the estate's exceptional olive oil, which won the "Migliore Olio Extravergine di Oliva - Fruttato Intenso" award in Italy for the best certified olive oil in the world. Among her other exceptional olive products are olive tapenade, olive jam, delectable black olives in blueberry vinegar, and a variety of olive beauty products.
On your way to the city center from the legendary Kloovenburg, stop at the intriguing Cape Francolin Art Hotel. Here, hotel proprietor David Bellamy and his dog Clive present their establishment as a work of living art. The hotel's permanent collection features works by internationally renowned artists like Damien Hirst, Wolfgang Tillmans, and Jean Cocteau. Enjoy a cup of tea in the old barn, which has been beautifully restored as the "Stoep D'amour," or observe local artists at work. Additionally, lights, wrought iron sculptures, and ceramics are available for purchase. The hotel also hosts a monthly seven-course dinner club inspired by the recipes of C. Louis Leipoldt, a legendary South African author and chef. If you cannot attend one of these special evenings, simply purchase a jar of "the world's best homemade strawberry jam."
Opposite of the mysterious Cape Francolin, the Olive Boutique promises the "Ultimate Olive Experience." There is a vast selection of olives, olive oils, and pastes, as well as cosmetics. Or observe the olive press producing genuine olive oil.
A few hundred meters down the road to the right will bring you to the center of the village. Here, you can unwind with a cup of coffee at Cafe Oppie Square, which serves delectable breakfasts and other "country fare" such as homemade bread, hearty soups, and sweets. The enclosed garden makes it an ideal location for families with young children. Visit the magnificent Cape Victorian homestead of the Kasteelberg Inn for a slightly more formal atmosphere. It is an ideal wintertime location due to its gorgeous thick walls, wooden floors, and fireplace.
On the way to the neighboring town of Riebeek Wes, Allesverloren Wine Estate is renowned for its robust red wines, including Touriga Nacional, Tinta Barocca, Shiraz, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Additionally, the estates produce a legendary port wine. On the opposite side of the village, in the direction of the nearby hamlet of Hermon, is Riebeek Cellars, which offers a wide selection of red and white wines produced locally. Drawing on centuries of Huguenot winemaking tradition, Riebeek cellars produce wines of exceptional quality, catering to a large market with a variety of wines that are extremely inexpensive.
Back in the village, L'Attitude pub and restaurant is the ideal spot for afternoon beers and late-night cocktails. You might find yourself partying with a group of friendly, eccentric locals if you stay out late enough. Try the charming Victorian-style pub The Travelers Rest for a quieter option. The Royal Hotel, a Riebeek-Kasteel landmark that was recently renovated, is another Riebeek-Kasteel icon. This 150-year-old establishment now has a four-star rating in addition to a brand-new restaurant, pub, conference center, and theater.
Visit Riebeek-Kasteel for a weekend away from the hustle and bustle of the city or a day of wine tasting, dining, and genuine South African hospitality, whether you are a wine connoisseur or olive enthusiast.
Use CityGuideSA, a comprehensive online travel resource with up-to-date information on where to eat, stay, and play in Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, and the Garden Route, to plan a hassle-free trip to Cape Town.
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