Whether you’re still looking for that perfect spring blossom Instagram pic, or you’re keen to taste some excellent cool-climate wines, it’s worth visiting the Elgin valley in October. This apple-farming district, located just over an hour from Cape Town, is celebrating the new season with their Apple Blossom Festival, running throughout the month.
Aside from the incredible landscapes and seas of white apple blossoms, the area also offers beautiful picnic spots for warm afternoons, as well as wine tastings, honey-infused menus, fynbos walks, trail runs and plenty of family-friendly experiences.
For the month of October the valley is offering a whole range of events and specials to lure visitors into the area. The Apple Blossom Festival is also partnering with The Bee Effect to raise awareness and funds for the bees. Visit bee-effect.co.za for more info.
So what can you look forward to?
Veggie harvests & orchard picnics at Terra Madre
Visit Terra Madre where you can harvest your own vegetables, then stay for lunch or enjoy a generous picnic with gourmet goodies, right next to the orchards. Booking is essential and the offer runs on Fridays and Saturdays only. You can also buy your Bee Box of bee-friendly plant seeds here.
Terra Madre is on Viljoenshoop Road. Visit terramadre.co.za or call 082 328 1346 for more.
Art, bees and blossoms at Almenkerk
Almenkerk Wine Estate is hosting an indoor-outdoor pop-up art exhibition called Buzzted featuring artworks relating to bees. You can also taste wine in their breathtaking contemporary tasting room, and enjoy a picnic in their gardens while the little ones play in the kids area. Pre-order a picnic basket from Terra Madre or bring your own (though only wines from Almenkerk can be enjoyed here). They will provide crockery and cutlery. It’s R30 to picnic in the gardens, which will be donated to the bees.
Find Almenkerk on Viljoenshoop Road. Visit almenkerk.co.za or call 021 848 9844 for more.
BBQ with the Bees at The Hickory Shack
The Hickory Shack is hosting their Smokehouse Blowout every Saturday night where you can get 1kg BBQ ribs for only R150. They’ll also have a Pimp Your Beard stand where you can dress up your own beard or rent a fake one to decorate. Snap a #Blossomwatch selfie and remember to donate R30 to The Bee Effect. After your feast you can also head out into the orchards to enjoy the scenery.
The Hickory Shack is on the N2. Visit hickoryshack.co.za or call 021 300 1396 for more.
Walk with the birds and the bees along The Green Mountain Trail
Walk into the wilds with The Green Mountain Trail. An expert guide will take you on an 8km walk into the Groenland Conservancy to enjoy nature during this prettiest of seasons. You’re experience includes a snack pack, wine tasting, walking stick, lunch and all the necessary insurance. It will cost you R685pp and R30 goes to The Bee Effect. Booking is essential and walks happen by appointment only, and only in October.
Contact Green Mountain Trail via greenmountaintrail.co.za or call 028 284 9827
Honey goes gourmet at The Pool Room
Elgin’s gourmet farm-to-fork restaurant, The Pool Room, is celebrating all things honey for the month, which can be enjoyed alongside their acorn-fed pork and grass-fed beef. Their honey-infused desserts will also carry a R5 donation to the Bee Effect. Visit their deli for all sorts of honey delights (R10 per item will be donated to the Bee Effect) and buy Bee Boxes filled with bee-friendly plant seeds. Booking is essential, especially on weekends.
The Pool Room is on Oak Valley Estate. Visit oakvalley.co.za or call 021 859 4111 for more.
Tapas & honey trails at Lothian Vineyards
Head to the ultra-chic Lothian House & Wine Estate for a delicious day out. The kids can play in the Bee & Blossoms corner packed with colouring kits, face painting and dress-up packs. Meanwhile you can enjoy country tapas paired with Lothian wines for R165pp, followed by a honey hive estate walk. They’ll also have Lothian honey, bee food and bee-friendly plants for sale. Visits are by appointment only and the platters need to be booked 24 hours in advance.
Lothian Vineyards is on Rockviewdam Rd. Visit lothianvineyards.com or contact 021 859 9901 for more.
Chocolate, Wine & Picnics at Paul Wallace
Pair handmade chocolate with premium Elgin wine at Paul Wallace Wines. Book ahead to picnic alongside the picture-perfect dam. Picnics can be ordered from Terra Madre, or bring your own (note that only Paul Wallace wines can be enjoyed here). A R30 fee for use of the picnic spot as well as R30 for fishing (catch and release only) will be donated to The Bee Effect. They are also offering 20% off their accommodation rates from Sunday to Thursday in October.
Paul Wallace Wines is on Highlands Road. Visit paulwallacewines.co.za or call 021 848 9744 for more.
Chill out to some live music at Galileo Farm
Enjoy live music at Galileo Farm on 28 October from noon till 3pm. Bring the whole family for a picnic while listening to the sounds of The Rivertones Reggae band. You can pack your own basket or buy food from the vendors on site. Be sure to bring your own alcohol though, they’re only selling cool drinks at the event (though ice and ice buckets will be provided). Entry is R150 pp, and children under 8 enter free. Galileo Farm is also offering a nice accommodation deal – three nights for the price of two during October, in case you want to linger a little longer.
Galileo Farm is on Highlands Road. Visit galileofarm.co.za or call 021 8498692 for more.
Barrels of fun at South Hill
South Hill is celebrating the blossoms with a cellar art exhibition, part of an ongoing series of art on barrels. Taste South Hill wines with a honey-infused pairing and taste your way through honey-inspired menu items this October. Children can bee-line for the Busy Bee activity corner where fun, knowledge-building activities will keep them busy, allowing parents to unwind in the restaurant.
South Hills on the Valley Road. Visit southhill.co.za or call 021 844 0888 for more.
You can take part in the conversation online and search for the best blossom spots with #blossomwatch and #Elginblossoms