"But you live in the Karoo" is the frequent forlorn cry from capetonian friends when informing them that a visit is long over due.. Once the offers of fresh country air, great cape wines and lazy days twists those arms into packing for the expedition to Tulbagh, we are then usually met with "wow that was much quicker than we thought..."
Gauteng friends and guests all insist that Capetonians are simply lazy and that a drive from the deep south to the CBD is an considered an expedition in itself - but we have to agree that Cape Town is the most beautiful city and with mountains and beaches on your doorstep who can blame you for staying put...especially when you are frequently trading one set of traffic for another when visiting many of the well known country, winelands destinations.
That is what makes the Witzenberg Valley special - this valley is still very much a hidden gem. Traffic and crowds are rare while the views, country hospitality, award winning wines and great food are legendary. Do your children believe that milk is made in machines and eggs grow in boxes - then you might like to experience a visit to a working farm. If you cant quite deal with sleeping without street lights and like to have restaurants and other amenities close at hand, then you can may prefer one of the guest houses or 4 star lodgings in town..
The Witzenberg Valley is home to Tulbagh, Wolseley and Ceres and an easy day trip from Cape Town!
And for those spontaneous folk who wake up to a sunshiny morning and decide it is time to escape the confines of the city, why not try the route less travelled - and you don't need to leave before sunrise to enjoy this day out!
Head out on the N1 and take the Stellenbosch/ Klapmuts/ Wellington turn-off. Take a left onto the R44. Follow this road into Wellington main street (Champagne Road).
At the T-Junction turn let into Piet Retief Road. Heading down the hill at the traffic light turn right into Kerk Straat / Church Street. At this traffic light you will see the church on your left. Once turning right into Kerk Straat / Church Street, follow this road through the town, it will take you up the mountain into the Bainskloof Pass - don't rush, there are plenty of photo opportunities and hikes along the route. In summer you can swim in the rock pools.
Come out of the pass and stay on the R301/R303 until you reach the Winterberg Mountain Inn highly recommended for a stop over be it a delectable coffee break or fabulous country lunch (booking recommended) from Winterberg join the R46 and turn left towards Tulbagh.
For the active adrenalin seekers you will want to take a right and drive through the Michell's Pass to the Zipslide! for a scenic exhilarating outing through the mountains.
Back towards Tulbagh - worthwhile stops to look out for are Waverley Hills and The Farmyard Honey Factory continuing towards Tulbagh your next stop is the Kimilli Cheese Farm (call before to confirm visit) then onto horseAbout (of course) for a breathtaking horse ride through vineyards and forests.
And before heading back towards the city pop into Tulbagh for a meander down the historic Church Street, enjoy a meal or relaxed coffee break at one of the many restaurants.
The easiest route home (if you havent decided to stay over for the night) is Via the Nuwekloof Pass, at Hermon you can turn off to Riebeek Kasteel and back to Cape Town via Malmesbury, or you can simply stay on the R44 towards Wellington and back to the N1..
Read what others have said about the Witzenberg Valley
Getaway Blog, Travel Start Blog or Nightjar Travel
John & Jo
We are the owners of horseAbout Trails & Adventures in the Western Cape.
“We left the premises with heart full of joy, love for these amazing horses and admiration for the lifestyle of John and his family.”