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Mar

13

Quaint Villages For A Day Tour From Cape Town

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Upcoming Events

6 March – 1 April 2013 Cirque du Soleil
6 – 14 April 2013 Opera Otello
6 April 2013 Old Mutual Two Oceans Marathon
7 April 2013 Final Kirstenbosch Summer Concert: Johnny Clegg
11 – 14 April 2013 Taste of Cape Town
19 – 21 April 2013 Constantia Food and Wine Festival
20 – 21 April 2013 Langebaan Lagoon Celebration
26 – 28 April 2013 SA Cheese Festival 2013
1 – 6 May 2013 Afrikaburn Festival
16 – 18 May 2013 Arno Carstens and Francois Van Coke

Most tourist itineraries to the Western Cape include the well-heeled highlights including The Garden Route, The Winelands and Cape Point. But there are picturesque little villages scattered around Cape Town which are all within easy driving distance and are ideal for a day visit or a quick overnight stop. This month we showcase our personal favourites:

Greyton

A mere ninety minutes’ drive from Cape Town, in the heart of the sleepy Overberg, lies the peaceful, postcard-perfect Greyton village. Located at the foot of the majestic Sonderend mountain range, the expansive streets are lined with mighty oak trees, original thatched cottages, leafy lanes and breathtaking mountain views – all guaranteed to enchant and delight.
Greyton is best explored on foot or bicycle. The scenery is breathtaking, the coffee shops tempting and the villagers friendly.

Ilanga’s recommendation: Every Saturday from 10am to midday, the Greyton Farmer’s Market is the perfect spot to find lots of local produce, and to interact with the welcoming locals.

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Bredasdorp & Elim

Bredasdorp is a sleepy agricultural town about two hours drive from Cape Town. This sleepy hollow lies on the slopes of a 368m high hill called the Preekstoel (pulpit). A profusion of beautiful giant proteas grow on its ridges.

The historic Moravian mission station of Elim lies just 36km from Bredasdorp. This village of whitewashed houses and fragrant fig trees is a national monument.

Ilanga’s recommendation: visit the Kapula Candle Factory. For the past 19 years, Kapula candles has enticed visitors with a multitude of patterns, colours and rich textures – all reflecting a proud African heritage. This is truly a perfect piece of Africa to take home.

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Tulbagh

Nestled in an exceptionally beautiful valley, surrounded by majestic mountains and a simple hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town lies the historic country town of Tulbagh. The natural beauty of Tulbagh with its fertile soil, abundant sunshine and attractive wild flowers makes the perfect environment for top class vineyards, orchards, olive groves, wheat farming and unadulterated relaxation. While there, be sure to visit the Oude Kerk Volksmuseum. For the more adventurous, do a waterfall hiking trail or experience nature on horse-back.

Ilanga’s recommendation: Enjoy bubbly heaven at the Twee Jonge Gezellen Estate, acclaimed for its outstanding world class sparkling wines. Then mingle with the locals and enjoy tasty country cooking at the Paddagang Restaurant.

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Villiersdorp

About an hour and a half’s drive from Cape Town lies this tranquil village, graced by oak trees and surrounded by luscious fruit and wine farms. The Waterval and Baviaans mountain ranges form a natural bowl around the town of Villiersdorp. This is also the location of South Africa’s 7th largest dam – the Theewaterskloof Dam. Theewaterskloof is a popular destination for thrill-seeking South Africans, who come here for water skiing, kite surfing, windsurfing and fresh water fishing. Villiersdorp connects the fun of water sports with a beautiful landscape, and also offers good culinary experiences and wine tastings – before or after your water sport adventure.

Ilanga’s recommendation: a visit to the local Farm Stall Kelkiewyn. Taste the cellar’s complete range of wines in an informal and relaxed environment. Then take a walk around the farm and have a look at the 40 year old tractors on display by the Villiersdorp Veteran Tractor and Engine Club.

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McGregor

From the moment you enter McGregor you’ll feel yourself transported back in time. This town is the most well-preserved and complete example of mid-nineteenth century townscape in the Cape Province. Just two hours drive from Cape Town you’ll experience one of the jewels of old traditional South Africa with its whitewashed, thatched cottages set in quiet, broad streets, surrounded by mountains, wildlife, and wine estates.

Ilanga’s recommendation: Enjoy some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle of city life and visit the Temenos Retreat Centre. Regular group workshops and meditations are offered in the restorative, relaxing surrounds. Or just get back to nature and take a leisurely stroll through these ancient gardens.

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