If you’re looking for some adventure on Cape Town’s doorstep… Just a short drive from the Breedekloof, you’ll find the charming winelands town of Tulbagh. Perhaps most famous for the devastating earthquake that struck the area in 1969, today both the town and surrounding farmlands offer a charming country escape.
Here’s what you shouldn’t miss:
Start your day with a wander down the town’s most famous street, the picturesque row of historic cottages showcasing Cape Dutch, Edwardian and Victorian architecture. Although many of the buildings aren’t original, but rebuilt after the quake, it remains one of the most charming country lanes in the area.
At the southern end of Church Street, you’ll also find the Earthquake Museum, the collection of photos and memorabilia offering an interesting insight into the damage caused on 29 September 1969. The information bureau is situated alongside the museum, if you need maps or advice on where to go next. And certainly don’t miss the lovely Oude Kerk across the street, dating back to 1743.
Art in the vines
Saronsberg Cellar is famous for its top-notch Shiraz and Rhône-style wines, but the estate is equally worth a visit for its wonderful art collection. You can’t miss ‘From Earth From Water’ – the striking female form by renowned sculptor Angus Taylor – who stands by the lake to greet visitors, and has become an icon of the valley. She is also a fitting introduction to the remarkable collection of contemporary art that graces the light-filled gallery above the tasting room.
Contact: 023 230 0707
Take a hike
Need to stretch your legs? Lace up your boots and head for the easy-to-follow hiking trails on Murludi farm at the top of the Tulbagh valley. The four-kilometre River Route wanders through a verdant patchwork of orchards and fynbos, while the more challenging Elsbos Route (10 km) delivers wonderful views of the Tulbagh Valley. Pack a picnic to enjoy the cool and quiet of the indigenous forest en route.
Fancy some fizz?
With a history stretching back more than 300 years, Twee Jonge Gezellen has become one of the most famous wine estates in the Cape. Today it is home to the much-loved Krone range of Méthode Cap Classique sparkling wines, and a must-visit in the valley. Tastings take place in the charming tasting room, or out on the terrace offering wonderful vineyard views. Cellar tours are offered from Monday to Saturday.
Contact: 023 230 0680
Christmas in Winter
With its snow-capped peaks and icy evenings the winter months are an ideal time to visit Tulbagh, and the valley’s annual Christmas in Winter celebration is just another excellent excuse to book a weekend away. While the 2018 program is still under wraps, you can look forward to a Christmas craft market, special menus at local restaurants, and festive events at major wineries.
Written by By Richard Holmes
This story appears in the latest issue of Cape Town Etc magazine. Get your copy for more inside information.