Head ‘up-coast’ on a four-day adventure that takes in some of the finest offerings of this region: historic wine farms, the spectacular Cederberg mountains, delicious seafood and endless beaches.
Day 1: Swartland
Built in 1808, Groote Post Homestead was, for a period, Lord Charles Somerset’s shooting box. Later it was home to renowned author and chef, Hildagonda Duckitt. Discover the farm on a morning drive in an open safari vehicle that allows you to explore the vineyards and surrounding hills. Spot game such as kudu, black wildebeest, quagga, eland and gemsbok and learn about the precious indigenous vegetation, such as the highly threatened Swartland granite renosterveld.
You’ll stop for cheese and wine at an exposed spot that offers magnificent views of the farm and Table Mountain in the distance. Back at the homestead you’ll have the opportunity for more wine tasting, product of the excellent soil and climatic conditions of this area.
Lunch and Tastings: Kloovenburg Wine & Olive Estate
Founded in 1704, this is a delightful farm in the Riebeeck-Kasteel region. Visit the tasting room in its barrel-filled wine cellar, and sample the award-winning wines, olive oils, cured olives, tapenades, jams and spices. Then grab a wood-fired pizza or king-size burger at the farm’s Kringe Inni Bos eatery.
Overnight at Algeria
Spend the night in one of the delightful cottages at CapeNature’s Algeria Camp (or pitch a tent in the picturesque campsite) in the Cederberg. These well-appointed, two-bedroom cottages are modern with a lovely deck for braaiing and gorgeous views of the valley and soaring peaks beyond.
Day 2: Cederberg
There are a number of excellent hikes in this central Cederberg valley. The two best options for a half day are Wolfberg Cracks (on the north side of the valley) and Maltese Cross (on the south side). The hike to the Cracks is a hour-and-a-half vertical ascent to reach these sublime rock formations of arched and split sandstone. The trail to the Cross is a similar length and brings you to an astonishing outcrop in crucifix form. Both hikes are accessed from Sanddrif Holiday Resort (acquire a permit at reception).
Lunch or High Tea in Clanwilliam
Situated at the entrance to Clanwilliam, Velskoendraai is a one-stop farm stall, restaurant and rooibos tea-tasting experience. The innovative menu uses mainly fresh, local, in-season produce (think roosterkoek, tripe waterblommetjie-bredie and whole lamb neck). Best of all is the unique, rooibos-tea tasting and the opportunity to choose from more than 100 flavoured/blended teas, ranging from herbal, fruity and sweet to green, spicy and floral.
Overnight at Steenbokfontein Farm
Lying nine kilometres south of Lambert’s Bay, Steenbokfontein is an old-world West Coast farm that offers a wide variety of activities, including (legendary) surfing, rock climbing, mountain biking, angling, beach walking and the opportunity to visit archaeologically significant Khoisan Caves and rock art.
The farm offers accommodation in three self-catering chalets set 600 metres from the sea, as well as three unique farm-stay offerings on a nearby hill: Weskus Hokkie, Weskus Grotjie and Weskus Quarry. These are rustic, Robinson Crusoe style options with astonishing locations and spectacular views of the farm and ocean. This is Weskus living at its most authentic.
Day 3: West Coast Meander
Reached via a concrete breakwater, Bird Island lies about 100 metres off Lambert’s Bay harbour and has a two-storey hide for excellent bird watching. This is one of only six sites in the world where yellow-headed, blue-eyed Cape gannets breed, and is the only site easily accessible to the public. Look out for other seabirds, such as penguins and cormorants, and Cape fur seals sunning themselves on the rocks.
Lunch at Fryer’s Cove, Doringbaai
The Jetty is a community-run restaurant that forms part of Fryer’s Cove, a local winery producing West Coast Sauvignon Blank, Pinot Noir and Shiraz. The Jetty serves home-cooked favourites such as snoekkoekies (fish cakes), kerrievis (pickled fish), roosterkoek and fresh line fish. On summer days, you can also enjoy a traditional fish braai on the jetty.
Overnight at Rocher Pan
Rocherpan Nature Reserve was established to conserve this important seasonal vlei and its prolific birdlife (nearly 200 species). The reserve has eight, well-appointed cabins (sleeping four to six guests), four of them brand new and off grid. Keen birders have easy access to the reserve’s bird hides, but rewarding bird spotting can just as easily be done from the comfort of your private deck overlooking the pan. Apart from world-class birding (check that the pan isn’t dry before booking), the reserve offers hiking, mountain biking, angling, whale watching and a lovely swimming pool.
Day 4: Paternoster Adventures
Drikus Horse Riding:
This riding outfit caters for both novice and experienced riders and is situated eight kilometres northeast of Paternoster on the farm Swartrug. It offers beach and cart rides, stabling and riding lessons. Most outrides start on the farm, before meandering over dunes to the beach (picnics or sundowners can be organized on request). All the horses are well schooled and rider friendly.
Based at the Paternoster Crayfish Wharf, WOW eBikes offers guided electric fat-bike tours and outrides on the beaches of Paternoster and into the magnificent Cape Columbine Nature Reserve. Choose a small, nimble 20” step-through fatty or a 26” big-wheel fatty and set off on an off-road bike ride like no other. WOW eBikes also offers culinary, creative and corporate tours.
Lunch at Ouma se Kombuis:
There’s nothing fancy or pretentious here, just a few tables with a view of the main street, but serving good Weskus, soul food prepared by women who are passionate about local kos. There’s a short menu of traditional dishes: authentic West Coast food just like Ouma used to made it. Think delicious groenboontjiebredie, bobotie, pêrevoet pie or smoorsnoek. Portion sizes are hearty and the prices decidedly affordable.