For those that listened to my Capetalk/702 interview, (26/10/2021) this unpacks the Cape Central Valley initiative in a little more detail. A celebration of travel, wine and local hospitality.
CAPE CENTRAL VALLEY
Introducing the Cape Central Valley, a destination collective incorporating 5 Langeberg towns and their stunning surrounds, spread across a broad valley, ringed by glorious mountains and landscapes and anchored by the iconic Route 62.
In May this year, the tourism sector of the Langeberg Municipal Region felt it was time for dash of reinvention and decided to bring together the towns of Robertson, McGregor, Montagu, Bonnievale and Ashton under one destination umbrella: the Cape Central Valley. The initiative, barely out the starting blocks is new, exciting and will undoubtedly provide a solid boost for the tourism economy.
ABOUT THE REGION’s TERROIR
Cape Central Valley is apex wine country where warm days stimulate grape growth and at night the ‘Breede Breeze’ wafts in from the Indian ocean to cool and coddle the fruit into preserving aromas, freshness and acidity, all the traits needed for a superior end-product. Winemakers are on their A game here and premium wines are in abundance.
In terms of geography Cape Central Valley is in the middle of the Western Cape 👆, separated from the Klein Karoo by the Langeberg on one side, and from the coast by the Riviersonderend mountains. It’a a 2-hour from the Cape Town CBD, 140kms from CT International and with the diverse landscapes and road trip nirvana, any time of year!
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT?
THE ROUTES | A SPECTAC TOURISM OFFERING
Cape Central Valley showcases these 5 towns and all that happens in between them with 10 routes and all the adventures that can be had in those places. So in a nutshell, it exists to spotlight what’s already on offer in each place – multi-faceted tourism offerings from arts and culture eg the poetry festival in McGregor that takes place the weekend of 19 November 2021), to gourmet food eg dining at The Robertson Small where Chris Erasmus, formerly of Foliage in Franschhoek is now based as Executive Chef; to exploring in Montagu and surrounds in one of the Montagu Country Hotel‘s American dream cars; boating with wine down the Breede River, to all the historical aspects and last but not least, to myriad wine and Cap Classique tasting experiences.
THE CAP CLASSIQUE ROUTE
Essentially, this is a ‘Follow The Bubble’ road trip that takes visitors on a journey underpinned by wine, while incorporating the heritage and historical gravitas of the area.
There are around 44 wineries throughout the valley region that is also home to some of the most stellar, well established bubbly brands we know and love – think Silverthorn, Graham Beck, Lords, Bon Courage, Paul René, Van Loveren, Weltevrede (Philip Jonker) and the most recent addition to the fold ,Bemind, just up the road from me in McGregor. On a recent media educational I spent 2 days on this festive Cap Classique trail hosted by Silverthorn’s John Loubser and Pieter Ferreira from Graham Beck and Cap Classique SA, two of the passionate drivers this initiative.
THE VALLEY NAME AND VINTAGE TRAIN REVIVAL
Cape Central Valley is the name is inspired by the railway line called the Cape Central Railway Company. The line, privately built and owned, went from Worcester to Ashton, Mossel Bay and Swellendam was opened in 1887 was sold to the SA Railways and is still in use today for transporting freight. All that is about to change though because because fortuitously Derick du Toit, the man behind the Elgin Railway who specialises in the restoration of vintage steam rail, happens to be the new Chairman of Robertson Tourism, and he’s on a mission to revive the Robertson-Mossel Bay route. Vintage rail is a thing no matter your age, and with this, Robertson which is another underrated country town in my opinion, could potentially become a leading tourism destination.
There’s the car of course, but if you’re so inclined, take the plane and fly into the airstrip in Robertson. Driving is the best though so you can do all the wine stops along the way. So fire up Google Maps and hit the road. It’s time to be led by the bubble!