From the start of July up until mid-October, Capetonians head to the Overberg to see the picturesque fields of yellow canola that span kilometres. From Sir Lowry’s Pass to Heidelberg, Riversdale and even Albertinia, you’ll be able to see Instagram-worthy patches of yellow fields, while enjoying the Overberg hospitality, local cuisine and surrounding areas.
When planning your own trip down the Overberg, there are quite a few options. We’ve mapped out three routes that’ll take you right past the most beautiful canola fields, with a few recommended stops along the way – all worth a weekend trip.
Heading out of the city, take the N2 over Sir Lowry’s Pass. It can be quite busy on a Friday, so make a stop at some of Elgin’s awesome farm stalls, like Peregrine and Houw Hoek, for a pie and a coffee to start your weekend the right way. Thereafter, head down to Caledon and spend the night, ready to wake up bright and early for the first canola sightings.
Here you have a few breakfast options – close to Caledon you’ll find Gabrielskloof which serves breakfast from 9am. Alternatively, take the R316 heading down to Bredasdorp. You will pass the small town of Napier through the gorgeous Tesselaarsdal valley, where there are ample local breakfast options, such as Pascal’s and the Napier Farm Stall. If none of these suits your fancy, Bredasdorp is a mere 10km away.
Next up, take the R319 heading to Swellendam. Now, you’ll be moving into prime canola territory with rolling hills of fields to your left and right. You can either head to Swellendam and spend the night at one of their many different accommodation options, or take the road less travelled down to the breathtaking De Hoop Collection and spend the night in the De Hoop Nature Reserve.
On Sunday, take the N2 back from Swellendam popping in at the small town of Stormsvlei for some local produce, and Riviersonderend for antique shopping or a coffee at the Ou Meul Bakkery. Elgin’s very own Railway Market has also recently opened their doors and is definitely worth the stop on your way back to the city.
The Circle Route
Combine your trip to the Overberg with the Robertson winelands by starting your journey on the N1, heading through Worcester to Robertson. There are a few lovely stops on the way, like the classic Affie Plaas Farm Stall just before Robertson. You won’t be without accommodation and restaurant options in Robertson, but for a more small-town feel, head to McGregor (just 30 km from Robertson). The dirt road town of McGregor is quite off-the-beaten-track but has just the right amount of charm to be the perfect one-night stopover.
From Robertson, take the R317 to Bonnievale and Stormsvlei. You’ll pass a lot of working farms, not only producing canola, but also big dairy farms and large stretches of agricultural land. Bonnievale is still a beautiful wine region and stopping at the Bonnievale Cellar is highly recommended. From there stay on the N2 till just after Riviersonderend and take the R406 (a well-maintained gravel road) to Greyton.
The road to Greyton, as well as the town itself, is the stuff of canola-dreams. Except for the farm atmosphere and feel, you can stroll the town at leisure as it has a lot of small shops and restaurants. After spending the night in Greyton, you can either head through Genadedal and Helderstroom to Villiersdorp and take the R45 back to Franschhoek and the city, or you can head back to the N2 with the R406 and take the R43 to Villiersdorp. Both of these routes go past the Theewaterskloof dam.
Hidden Gems Route
If you are serious about seeing canola, and you do not mind the gravel road (side note – the Western Cape gravel roads are perfectly maintained, my Volkswagen Polo had no problem) you need to treat yourself to a few hidden gems. Depending on how much time you have, the most beautiful canola sightings are on the R324 which turns off just after Buffeljagsrivier, about 10km from Swellendam on the N2.
The road goes all the way down to one of South Africa’s most beautiful coastal towns, Witsand. This small town has the most beautiful ocean views and is a prime whale watching spot. Although it is a small town, there are quite a few accommodation options and a restaurant or two. From here, make your way to Malgas by taking the R324. You’ll have to cross the Malgas Pond to get across the Breerivier and thereafter head down the river where several holiday houses line the banks of the river. The Boathouse is a Malgas establishment and worth a quick pop-in for stunning views and a beer. From here, you’ll be able to head back to the N2 via Swellendam to Cape Town.
There you have it – all roads lead to canola in the Overberg, but with just a bit of planning, you’ll be able to see some breathtaking places!