From hiking or mountain biking through the area to ziplining, wine tasting, enjoying excellent local restaurants or simply slowing down, find out what cool things to do in the beautiful , off-the-beaten-track Elgin Valley in South Africa, along with tips where to stay and where to eat.
How to get to Elgin Valley
Located just ‘over the mountain’ from Cape Town as local will refer to the area and hence why the area is named Overberg, it will take you only around on hour to reach Elgin Valley driving on N2 highway.
The drive will lead you over Sir Lowry’s Pass and with a bit of luck you will be able to enjoy breathtaking views back over False Bay.
About Elgin Valley
Elgin Valley is part of the UNESCO-protected Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve.
Located in the magnificent backdrop of the Overberg, it is characterized by its many fruit orchards and vineyards.
Historically, the area is known as an important fruit-growing area along the Cape whilst more recently it is making itself a name for local wines. Still, you will continue to see lots of fruit orchards most of which will grow apples.
Where to stay in Elgin Valley
Elgin Valley has become a popular area for people living in Cape Town but is still seeing fairly limited tourist numbers and especially international tourists are only starting to visit the area.
There are nonetheless lots of accommodation opportunities ranging from self-catering cottages to a number of excellent hotels.
This small, family-led five-star boutique hotel located in a quiet residential area of Grabouw in the Elgin Valley.
It offers a small number of amazing rooms and suites, an excellent small on-site restaurant and a huge garden to spend time relaxing.
To know more on Villa Exner check out my blog on the hotel.
South Hill Winery
If you love art and wine, this is the perfect place. South Hill Cool Climate Vineyards is not only an award-winning winery. There is a lovely small restaurant that doubles as art gallery and a guest house offering six spacious rooms as well as a one bedroom cottage.
Old Mac Daddy
Although I have not been there personally, I’ve been told by locals Old Mac Daddy to be a very popular location to stay. Their lodging features a mixture of farm lodges, vintage airstream trailer suites and a tented camp hidden away in the mountains.
Where to eat in Elgin Valley
There is no shortage of awesome food experiences, from a number of farm stalls to small winery restaurants.
Wherever you chose to go, the red line in food is a farm-to-table approach taking advantage of an abundance of fresh local produce.
Among the best restaurants in Elgin Valley are:
- South Hill Cool Climate Vineyards Restaurant and Tasting Room
- SALT restaurant at Paul Cluver Wines
- The Pool Room at Oak Valley Winery
- Eats 11 at Villa Exner
- The Barn Restaurant at Old Mac Daddy
A word of caution however, most of the winery restaurants are only open for lunch and it’s advisable to make prior reservations as restaurants in Elgin Valley are typically small.
Eight cool things to do in Elgin Valley
Head to Peregrine Farm Stall for samples of seasonal food
Home to the Elgin Valley Market, Peregrine Farm Stall is a popular foodie heaven. There are around 30 stalls selling fresh produce, food, arts and craft. It’s an ideal place for a short lunch break; if you do try their famous pot pies.
While there, pass by Everson’s Cider Tasting Room located in a former shipping container just outside of the Peregrine Farm Stall.
Everson’s is one of the Cape’s most popular distillers of cider. There is a cider tasting comprising of five different varietals all made from fruits coming from the Elgin Valley.
Stop at Orchard Farm Stall
You also dont want to miss the iconic pit-stop at Orchard Farm Stall on the way from Cape Town to Grabouw and its acclaimed bakery.
Visit Elgin Railway Market
Located in an old converted apple warehouse, Elgin Railway Market is one of the area’s most popular attractions.
Come hungry to the market as there is a huge variety of stalls selling all sorts of food, and there are also stores selling craft items.
Check out the schedule of the steam train which is coming to the market a couple of times per month. You can in fact buy tickets and take a ride in the historic train (return) journey from Cape Town to Grabouw / Elgin Railway Market operated by Ceresrail.
The market is open daily with different trading hours for Wed, Fri and the weekend.
Stop by the apple museum
To be honest, I am not sure if learning about the history of the fruit industry in the Elgin Valley is something up your sleeve. But the museum itself is located in one of the oldest remaining buildings in the area.
Head to Stony Point to see the local penguin colony
Boulders Beach near Cape Town might be the go to destination to see penguins in South Africa. Yet Stony Point Nature Reserve located in the coastal town of Betty’s Bay is equally amazing, just without the large crowds. It is in fact home to one of the largest colonies of African penguins in the world. Over 3,500 penguins are living here today, up from the initial two who arrived here in 1985.
A boardwalk is leading right through the local penguin colony allowing to get close up while staying far enough away to not disturb the colony.
Get your adrenaline up during a Cape Canopy Tour
Zip-lining has become a thing recently and the Cape Canopy Tour located in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve is quite spectacular. Expect to slide from platform to platform (there are 13 in total) and to see the breathtaking landscape of the Overberg from a whole new perspective.
Go wine tasting in Elgin Valley
Indeed today one of the main attractions of the area are the many lovely boutique wineries.
The area is recognized as the coolest wine region in South Africa which means it is an ideal destination to grow Chardonnay.
If you want to know more about wine tasting in the Elgin Valley, read my post A wine lovers guide to Elgin.
Visit the Oude Molen Brandy Distillery
If you are looking for a different tasting experience once you’ve discovered the areas excellent cool-climate wineries, than I highly recommend a visit to the Oude Molen Brandy Distillery.
The distillery is home of two of the largest pot stills in the Southern Hemisphere and if you have enough time to spare, you can admire them during a two hour tour through the distillery. The tour also includes an interactive brandy tasting along the whole production process, from the base wine to the eau de vie.
The tour will end with a chocolate and brandy tasting which is something you will not want to miss, right? If you are short on time, you can also book the tasting only.
At the time of writing, the distillery tour did costs R150 per person (including the chocolate and brandy tasting) whilst the brandy and chocolate pairing on its own R70 per person.
Note that prior booking at least two days in advance is required.
Tours and tastings are available Tue – Sat
Have you been to Elgin Valley yet? Let me know about your experience.