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The West Coast is growing in reputation amongst South Africa’s wine producers, with numerous cellars conveniently located on the scenic route from Cape Town to Bushmans Kloof.
In and around the charming village of Darling, Cloof, Groote Post and Darling Cellars are renowned for their bold, characterful red wines. Following the West Coast will introduce wine-lovers to organic producer Org de rac and Fryer’s Cove, while the high-lying vines of the Piekenierskloof are home to some of the country’s most sought-after pockets of Grenache and Mourvedre.
Situated 1036-metres above sea level, the vineyards of Cederberg Private Cellar are amongst the highest in South Africa. Though these rugged mountains may seem an unlikely place to discover lush vineyards, this challenging continental climate – from searing heat in summer, to snow in the winter – has proven itself ideal for producing unique wines expressive of their terroir.
Our full-day wilderness wine excursion includes return air-conditioned transfers to the cellar, a guided tour and tasting, followed by lunch at the nearby Kromrivier farm, home to its own craft brewery.
Situated in Die Ou Tronk (The Old Prison) at the end of the town’s Main Road, the Clanwilliam Museum offers a fascinating look into the early settler history of the nearest large town to Bushmans Kloof. The museum also chronicles the growth of Rooibos tea industry in the region.
The museum is open weekdays from 8am-12pm.
This picturesque mission village in the remote Tra-Tra Valley is a worthwhile diversion for adventurous travellers. The winding gravel road leads deep into the Cederberg before rolling to a stop amid the thatched roofs of this historic settlement. Settled by the Moravian Church in 1830, the village is known for its quaint streets and traditional whitewashed cottages. There are local-run coffee shops to visit, and the town is renowned for its production of rooibos and leather ‘veldskoene’. A visit to Wupperthal combines easily with our Wilderness Wine Tour.
The highlight of this West Coast fishing village is Bird Island; one of just six breeding sites in the world for the endangered Cape Gannet. A well-designed bird-hide offers a great vantage point to get up close and personal to the resident Gannets, Penguins and Cormorants. September – the peak breeding season – is the best time to visit. The nearby museum has some interesting displays on the island’s ‘guano rush’, and near the harbour you’ll find a handful of seafood restaurants with local fare and sea views.
Under the auspices of provincial conservation body CapeNature, the Cederberg Wilderness Area to the south of Bushmans Kloof conserves 71 000 hectares of rugged mountainous terrain. With much of the area inaccessible, except to hardy hikers, it is a vital conservation buffer zone home to spectacular landscapes and rock formations, as well as the endemic and endangered Clanwilliam Cedar.
For a unique perspective on this landscape, consider extending your visit to Bushmans Kloof with the community-driven Cederberg Heritage Routes, where multi-day ‘slack-packing’ trails transport guests deep into the wilderness area.
Accommodation is in simple community-run guest cottages, with local guides leading the way and sharing rich anecdotes about life in this remote corner of the Cape mountains.