The Swartland paints a pretty picture this time of year. A patchwork landscape interwoven with renosterveld, sprung alive with a vibrant spread of colour; rolling fields of golden wheat and rooibos; and pockets of vineyards sewed along the flowing Berg River, with majestic mountains as its backdrop. Sounds pretty magical to me! Whether you are wild about flowers or “red red wine” is music to your ears, the Swartland is home to many secret gems, and perfect for a sneaky getaway trip this spring. Here is my best pick of places to visit in the Swartland.
Het Vlok Casteel – Riebeek Kasteel
Gracing the feet of Kasteelberg in one of the oldest towns in South Africa, Het Vlock Casteel is truly out of this world. Where an abundance of grapes, citrus fruits, peaches, plums and olives are harvested, this is the perfect place to enjoy the sensational sweet gifts of the land. Stock up on all sorts of pantry essentials such as homemade jams, fruit preserves, a variety of olive products and extra virgin olive oil, as well as your all-time favourite rusks. Sounds like a delectable feast!
Here you can also experience the art of olive oil tasting, where you pour, heat and swirl, inhale and smell, taste and then either swallow or spit out their unique olive varieties. While you are at the farm, their wine tasting is another must. With many awards under their belt, their Merlot, Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Chenin Blanc, expertly accompanied with delicious platters and dishes, will certainly tickle your taste buds.
For more, visit hetvlokcasteel.co.za
Malmesbury – the fruit basket of the Swartland
For the love of a good farmers market, visit the Langsdiebos Mark open every Saturday in Malmesbury, where you can source an inviting selection of seasonal fresh produce, homemade goodies and crafts.
While you are on route, don’t miss out on the local farm stalls – such as Môreson Padstal, on the N7 10 kilometres south of Malmesbury; Nuweplaas padstal between Malmesbury and the Riebeek Valley on the R46 route, or Desert Rose near Koringberg on the N7.
Evita se Perron in Darling
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Don’t miss the show at Evita Perron, where Mrs Evita Bezuidenhout (who now cooks up a storm as the Advisory Executive Chef at the ANC Restaurant in Luthuli House) showcases her specialties. With a glass of the locals’ best wine or beer in hand (courtesy of Bambi’s Berlin Bar – named after Evita sister, Bambi Kellerman) you can laugh along and treat yourself to a traditional lunch – the bobotie and koeksisters are your go-to option.
Don’t miss out on the upcoming shows at Evita se Perron:
- 06 October – 14:00 – When in Doubt say Darling
- 07 October – 24:00 – Tannie Evita praat Kaktus
- 12 October – 20:00 – Nadine
- 13 October – 14:00 – An Audience with Pieter-Dirk Eish
- 14 October – 14:00 – Tannie Evita praat Kaktus
For more, visit evita.co.za
Rocking the Daisies at Cloof Wine Estate – Darling
Celebrate spring at Rocking the Daisies, which is taking place from 5 to 7 October at Cloof Wine Estate in Darling. One of South Africa’s major music and lifestyle festivals, you have three days to embrace the magic of the environment, feel the rhythm of both local and international talent, take part in morning yoga sessions, enjoy the entertainment, activities and much more. What better way to meet tons of people, make memories and ultimately have the time of your life.
For more, visit rockingthedasies.com
Drink craft Beer by Darling Brewery
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Brewed from a beautiful journey of discovery across the African continent, Darling Brewery has a unique offering: Slow beer, bottled large (for that growing beer belly), off-set with a fun contemporary design, drawing inspiration from the local geometric tortoise.
For a proper taste experience, a trip to their tasting room is definitely worthwhile. Cosy up on their upcycled shipping crate furniture inside the tasting room or outdoor seating area and enjoy a cold one. You can also make the most of their beautifully crafted bar, well-stocked with their full-range of Darling beers (you gotta bring some home as a keepsake).
Why not indulge on only the finest local array of scrumptious array of breads, cheeses, olives and cured meats on offer. And there’s coffee of course, as well an excellent selection of Swartland wine.
Outside there’s a fun jungle gym propped on an expanse of grass, where your kids and pets alike can enjoy a romp.
For more, visit darlingbrew.co.za
Camp at Beaverlac – Porterville
Set up camp at Beaverlac on the Grootfontein natural heritage farm, tucked away in the Olifant Rivers Mountains above Porterville. With both outdoor camping and cabin options, you can enjoy the tranquility of the setting. Where both the Ratal and Olifants Rivers flow through rock formations and form waterfalls that stream into deep pools, it’s time to truly embrace the wonders of nature.
Rest assured there is a shop on site, where you can buy essentials such as bread, beer, wine, ice and snacks (just double check the shop hours).
For more, visit beaverlac.co.za
Do you have a favourite spring getaway spot? I’d like to know. Feel free to share in the comment section below.