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BEST KEPT Country getaway IN THE swartland

Generally, the summer in South Africa lasts from about December to March, before winter takes over from June to August. The Western Cape is a popular destination for holiday goers all around the country because of several factors, typically the outstanding beaches, beautiful people, food and outdoor activities.

December becomes an incredibly busy month in the Western Cape, especially along the coasts as tourists, both local and international make their way to the coastal areas and beaches. Taking this into consideration, you can expect an incredibly crowded holiday experience specifically during this tourist season with the significant increase in traffic and vibrant activity.

The less adventurous traveller could be missing out on the delights that lie just outside the city boundaries. Those that are curious enough to want to explore, will not be sorry. There is so much that is so close to explore outside the city, while still having Cape Town as a base to which to return. Alternatively, one can hire a car and embark on a leisurely drive around some of the smaller towns that lie beyond Cape Town, to see South African country life, landscape and experience the culture of the local communities. the advantages include no queues, no traffic, no stress, and of course you are spoilt with the beautiful surrounds and fresh country air.

The Swartland really deserves to be at the top of this list, in terms of a country escape. The peace and the connection you feel in the countryside is very difficult to describe. You have to do yourselves a favour and go and explore this vast region, and what better time than during the Summer holidays.

The people in this region have a different magic about them, something in their eyes and mannerisms tells you they’ve seen a few things in their time. However, it’s not just the people, it’s the landscape and “the wildlife” that has a certain magic. Small towns are so special in many ways, from lack of congestion to country cool, from old buildings full of character to friendly people with time to chat.

One is able to immerse oneself in the magic of the country town in a unique way: wonder through the mountains with solitude, engage in climbing adventures, and simply observe the captivating birdlife.  

There are quaint shops and restaurants which can be found in every corner of the village. One can discover something different with the Riebeek Valley local eateries, coffee shops, boutique stores, and of course the famous first Saturday morning market that showcases the very best of local offerings.

Walk the quiet streets to admire the old buildings, hike one of the trails into the surrounding mountains, go wine tasting or explore some of the studios and galleries on the art route. Perhaps best of all, stay over for a couple of nights, so you can relax and listen to the bird’s dawn chorus or drink a toast to the sunset as it bleeds magically into the horizon.

The Riebeek Valley Architecture has remained largely intact, lending the village much of its historical charm. Known for its vineyards and wineries, the Riebeek Valley is a provides a tranquil setting for a summer escape.

You can enjoy hiking, and fresh mountain air all within a stone throw from the main town. The breath-taking mountain landscapes of the Kasteelberg is an excellent choice for nature lovers. Guest houses and lodges in this area provide opportunities for hiking, bird watching, and enjoying the fresh mountain air.

The historic town is nestled below Bothmanskloofpas and is surrounded by the most manicured vineyards and olive groves. The residents are calm in nature, and seem to remain sincere to “old school values and traditions”, offering a relaxed and friendly atmosphere.

The Riebeek Valley boasts two small towns within a 5 kilometre radius, known for its artistic community, quirky eateries and scenic landscapes.

This authentic wonderland is renowned for its remarkable features, including wheat, prized olive oils, olives, grapes and well-known wines. The Riebeek Valley also offers opportunities for stargazing, horseback riding, off-roading, and remote camping. The valley has a vibrant art scene, with galleries showcasing local talent. wine estates also produce olives and olive oil. Inquire about olive tastings or visit dedicated olive farms in the area.

This Riebeek Valley is definitely my first choice, as I feel energised by the picturesque landscape, it’s a charming village, and a serene environment that makes for a perfect summer getaway.

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