There are at least a hundred reasons to visit the Swartland region, the top three being the world-class wine and olives, its proximity to Cape Town and the quiet beauty of the area.
We recently went on a road trip of the Swartland and put together this weekend of activities, recommended accommodation and (of course) food and wine that will make you fall in love with this region just like we did. Try it over a weekend or whenever you have a chance to break away.
Take the scenic N7 route and watch the big buildings and the noise of the city disappear in your rear-view mirror as you head for the mountains. After about 30 minutes the landscape begins to change.
For our first stop we chose the tranquil Fynbos Estate near Malmesbury, just an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town. This working organic wine farm has self-catering cottages, walking trails, wine tasting, rescue donkeys and a pool. Home to Dragonridge Wines, the farm is owned by Johan and Diana Simons who have poured their hearts into making it a retreat where guests can recharge. Children are also welcome and while you’re there you have to try their olives and Limoncello. Wine and olive tastings are conducted by appointment at this farm.
Lunch and wine tasting at Swartland Winery
In 2019, Swartland Winery is celebrating their 70th harvest. That’s 70 years of perfecting their craft. Try a wine tasting and settle in for a yummy cheese platter as their staff make you feel right at home. With over 51 varietals of white, red, sparkling and fortified wines on offer, you know you’ll be spoilt for choice. Be sure to take an extra bottle for your designated driver to enjoy later.
Fall further in love with wine at Allesverloren
Next, we head to the Riebeek Valley towards the picturesque Allesverloren farm at the foot of the Kasteelberg mountain. Here you can taste their range of ten wines, including varietals such as Tinta Barocca, Touriga Nacional, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Take your time here to soak up the scenery and head over to their restaurant, the Pleasant Pheasant, for sundowners and dinner.
You can also drive to nearby Riebeek West or Riebeek Kasteel to explore the villages and try one of their many quaint restaurants.
Taste Organic Wines at Org de Rac
You definitely don’t want to miss out on this gem while visiting the Swartland region. Org de Rac is an impressive farm where strict organic farming methods are used to produce the finest wines. They use no herbicides, pesticides or fungicides and pride themselves on their naturally healthy soil, which is fertilized by organic compost.
Organic farming is better for the environment and the wine lovers, as the wine is delicious and contains lower levels of sulphur dioxide, a preservative often used in winemaking. This is also a far more sustainable way of farming, ensuring the environment is protected and preserved for future generations.
They’ve also proudly partnered with Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, the South African chef who has earned a Michelin-star at his restaurant JAN in Nice, France. His two blends made from Org de Rac grapes are available at the tasting room, as well as other products from the farm like their own organic honey.
Pizza and wine at Nieuwedrift Vineyards
Head to the lovely green lawns of Nieuwedrift Vineyards for a leisurely wine tasting and lunch. Johan Mostert and his family make a range of boutique wines that you can taste along with their home-grown olives. Fall in love with their Chenin Blanc, Shiraz, Blanc de Noir, Chardonnay and Méthode Cap Classique while you take in the beautiful scenery.
The lawns and play area is child- and pet-friendly and their menu accommodates the whole family. We highly recommend their wood-fired pizzas. Their thin bases are made with stone-ground flour making them super light and delicious and not quite as indulgent as the refined alternative.
Beautiful art by Karin Mostert decorates the venue and the whole family is involved on the farm, which means there’s heart in everything they do. Accommodation will also be available on the farm soon.
Shop and sip at the Bill&Co Swartland Street Market
This hip and artisanal market in Malmesbury celebrates the local farmers, bakers, winemakers and entrepreneurs of the Swartland every second Saturday of the month. Here you’ll find organic produce, beautiful flowers and freshly baked goods by Marvel Bistro and Bakery. You can also have a good cup of coffee or try some of the local wines and spirits while you mingle and listen to a live music performance. The market is great way to get a taste of the local flavours and the atmosphere will give you a glimpse of the welcoming hospitality you can expect from the Swartland.
Take a hike at Pulpit Rock Winery
A great way to start the day is with a nice and early hike at Pulpit Rock Winery. Their newly opened hiking route allows you magnificent views over the valley. It gets steeper and steeper as you head up the mountain, but you luckily don’t have to go all the way for the breath-taking views because there are five viewing points along the route. Once you’re done, try a wine tasting at Pulpit Rock Winery and tuck into their delicious snack platters at their wine and snack bar upstairs.
They are one of the biggest private cellars in the area and one of the only ones open on Sundays. Their modern cellar is run by a small and dedicated team who make wine with love and passion. Their wines have won multiple accolades with their Pulpit Rock Louisa Cape Blend, Louise MCC and Brink Family Vineyards Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Shiraz and unwooded Chardonnay recognized for its excellence.
If you head out for a weekend, plan your trip bearing in mind that Swartland, Org de Rac and Allesverloren's tasting rooms are open until 2pm on a Saturday. Nieuwedrift and Pulpit Rock are open on Saturdays and Sundays.
This weekend in the Swartland will offer you a small taste of what the region has to offer and we guarantee you’ll want to go back for more.