Winelands, Overberg & Route 62
Characterized by valleys and mountains, beautiful vineyards and a rugged coastline, the Winelands and Overberg region is just a short drive from Cape Town. With a longstanding cultural heritage and history of French, Dutch and English influences, the area is best known for its world-class wine producing estates bordered by the Hottentots Holland and Franschhoek mountains and in the North by the Wemmershoekberg.
The historic town of Stellenbosch with its oak-lined streets, cozy street cafés and historic buildings, is surrounded by iconic mountain ranges and fantastic wine estates. When it comes to exploring the Stellenbosch Winelands and Craft Beer Route, guests have several options to choose from may it be a classic wine tasting tour, cycling through the vineyards on a guided bicycle tour or the hop-on hop-off vine hopper. But Stellenbosch is not only about vineyards and wine tasting. Drive or walk around the interesting shops in town, explore the local art galleries and antique shops or visit the Village Museum.
Just a 30-minute drive away lies the wine and dine capital of South Africa, Franschhoek. Visitors can expect picturesque vineyards, superb wines, warm hospitality and award-winning restaurants from this charming 300-year-old village. The Franschhoek Wine Tram, an old-fashioned tram with several routes stopping at different wine farms, is an exciting way to do wine-tasting and admire the great views this area has to offer.
One of the most spectacular ways to get a first glance of the Overberg region is by taking the coastal road carved from the sea cliffs from Gordon’s Bay, then crossing the Hottentots-Holland Mountains via the stunning Sir Lowry’s Pass. The Overberg region is a dramatic combination of rugged coastline, grain fields and rolling mountain ranges.
On the Overberg coast, also called the Whale Coast, lies Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the African continent and official dividing line between the Indian and Atlantic oceans – an area rich in stories of shipwrecks, local fishermen and castaways. The famous red and white striped lighthouse, an historic monument, is the second oldest working lighthouse in Southern Africa.
The coastal town of Hermanus is the heart and hub of the Whale Route and has the status of being the best land-based whale watching destination in the world. Southern Right whales visit Walker Bay from June through to November and can be viewed from aboard a boat, an airplane or the shore cliffs. Hermanus is home to the world’s only Whale Crier who blows his kelp horn when whales are spotted along the central sea route.
With its unparalleled scenic beauty, modern infrastructure, upmarket shops and endless adventure options, it’s little wonder that Hermanus has grown in size and popularity during the last decade. Magnificent sea views can be enjoyed on foot from the famous Cliff Path. Other highlights include the Blue Flag Grotto Beach, the Hemel-en-Aarde Wine Valley and the Old Harbour with its excellent variety of restaurants. Adventure seekers can see Great White Sharks up close by shark cage diving in the nearby town of Gansbaai.
Route 62 is part of the Cape Winelands and an alternative route between Cape Town and Oudtshoorn. Here lies the Robertson Wine Valley with the quaint towns of Robertson, McGregor, Montagu, Ashton, Bonnievale and small Karoo towns like Barrydale with timeless countryside charm.
A must-visit along the Route 62 is the town of Oudtshoorn, the capital of the Klein Karoo with its wide-open spaces and broad streets.
Oudtshoorn lies in a fertile valley between the Swartberg Mountains to the north and the Outeniqua Mountains to the south. Warm, dry summers and sunny winter days make it the ideal breeding ground for the most majestic of flightless birds – synonymous with Oudtshoorn – the ostrich.
Visit the magical, lit up Cango Caves and an Ostrich Show Farm where you will learn much about these versatile birds from incubation to adulthood. Lovely guest farms, lodges and guest houses await the visitor where the joy of life in the country can be experienced.