Just an hour or so away from Cape Town lies the Swartland, a wine region that’s often overshadowed by the Cape Winelands.
While the name may mean ‘black land’ in Afrikaans, you’ll be left wondering why so when you see an undulating landscape of golden wheat fields, vineyards and mountains…the view in front of view is anything but dark. In fact, the wide central plain of the Swartland is a huge wheat farming area, sometimes called the bread basket of the Western Cape.
For any wine aficionado, The Swartland Wine & Olive Route is a must-do. The route starts in Malmesbury, the Swartland’s largest town, established over 265 years ago on the banks of the Diep River. But before you take a sip of the local wines at the Swartland Wine Cellar, pay a quick visit to the town museum, once a synagogue and now a heritage site.
The Swartland Wine & Olive Route also includes the famous vineyards and cellars of Allesverloren, established in 1860 on the slopes of the Riebeek Valley. Then you’re right next door to the tourist heart of the Swartland – the enchanting twin villages of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West.
In Riebeek Kasteel check out the beautifully restored Cape Dutch and Victorian houses before running amok in the arts and craft shops, potteries and galleries thronging the main square. Then time for a well-deserved coffee and snack at one of the many coffee shops and restaurants in the town.
If local history fascinates you, then just 3km north of Riebeek West you’ll find the original thatched house – now a museum – where one of South Africa’s most famous statesman, Jan Christian Smuts, was born.
Put The Swartland on your must-do-in-South-Africa list and you’ll return all the more happier. Take our word for it.