Over the past few months of summer heat, the Western Cape has seen a number of devastating fires, such as the ones in the Overberg. Fire season runs from November 1 until April 3, and the warm weather that brings the dangers of veld fires is the same weather that attracts outdoor enthusiasts wanting to explore and experience the spectacular scenery of mountains and valleys.
Are you passionate about outdoor life, or simply enjoy taking long walks where you can breathe in the fresh air and clear your mind away from the hustle and bustle of city life?
The Cape Winelands district – which is divided into five local municipalities, namely Stellenbosch, Drakenstein, Witzenberg, the Breede Valley, and Langeberg – is a 30- to 120-minute drive from Cape Town.
The most scenic trails in South Africa can be found in these areas. You can choose to hike for a few hours, half a day or the whole day on well-established trails. For those who prefer cycling to hiking, the Cape Winelands offers a range of mountain bike trails for inexperienced as well as advanced riders.
Stellenbosch, home to the MTB mecca, will not disappoint with the number of MTB routes and their picturesque backdrops. Should the allure of the Cape Winelands make you want to stay longer, you are spoilt for choice with the wide selection of campsites. Whether you want to go completely rustic or experience nature comfortably through glamping, there is definitely something for all.
One thing you can be sure of, whether you are hiking, cycling or camping, is the magnificent flora you will see and be surrounded by. The mountains of the Cape Winelands are a treasure trove of fynbos – even the areas that were devastated by veld fires are now budding. Speaking of veld fires, while you appreciate the lovely flora and landscapes do bear in mind that thesev blazes are very much a reality for the Cape Winelands and can happen unexpectedly, spread rapidly and destroy thousands of hectares.
The Cape Winelands District Municipality’s (CWDM) Fire Services pride themselves in being fire-season-ready, and encourages actions and behaviour aimed at preventing fires. They urge visitors to the Winelands to be aware of their environment, to not light fires beyond the designated areas and to stay safe when going into areas of nature off the beaten track.
How to stay safe:
– Stay alert to the possibility of veld fires at all times
– Be aware of your environment
– Keep your cell phone charged and have the local emergency services’ numbers saved before you venture out
– Always tell someone where you will be hiking, cycling or camping and when they can expect your return
– Make sure you get the requisite permit for the area you want to visit
– Never make a fire beyond a designated area
– Should you be trapped by a fire, stay upwind from the flames and try to make your escape through an area with sparse green vegetation.
Make sure you know the telephone number of your local fire services. To report a veld fire in the Cape Winelands you can call 021 887 4446.
To make sure your hiking, cycling or camping needs are met for your next getaway to the Cape Winelands, you can access the webpages of our local tourism offices for all the latest news and reviews: