2 Minute Read
WOLSELEY – one of my best discoveries so far this year, a gem of a region just 90 minutes from Cape Town! Who even knew? Think wine, gin, flowers, craft, nature, caravanning, birding, 4×4 trails, farm stalls, comfort food and fine dining – this is an area that stretches all the way from the Breede River in the South to Artois in the North and including the foot of Michell’s Pass in the East. It has a loaded agritourism offering that is a must for anyone asking about ‘where-to-go-that’s-under-2 hours -From-Cape Town’- so add it to your local road tripping itinerary.
After your scroll, listen to my chat with Pippa Hudson on Capetalk, today 22 March 2022, 👉 TRAVEL TUESDAY INTERVIEW
Here are a few of my recommendations, the places I visited first time around. I’ll be heading back late autumn and will update this post then. Can’t wait Miss Peppi 😉 !
WOLSELEY THE TOWN
Wolseley is situated in the Cape Winelands District, in the upper Breede Valley region in the Western Cape on a natural watershed that divides the Berg and Breede River in the shadow of the Mostertshoek Mountain.
The dorpie itself isn’t so much the attraction as what lies immediately around it, and there is tons to keep you busy! Being just 15kms from both Ceres and Tulbagh makes it the ideal base from which to explore more of the area and surrounds.
THE CREATIVE HUB ~ Café, Deli & Store
The Creative Hub, where ‘there be dragons’ & other marvels! This fabulous one-stop shop is easily spotted from the R43 thanks to the life sized dragon sculptures and other large-as-life creations fashioned from used oil drums, gas bottles and car parts by the talented Patrick Chipangula (below) and his crew.
Owner-managed by Wolseley’s unofficial ambassadress – the sparkling Peppi Stanford – the Creative Hub is a showcase of locally sourced product – anything from olives, wine, craft, accessories (like the handmade leather belts and bags by Patrick Sibanda – pictured below) and fresh produce. It doubles up as a coffee shop & deli and is a space where creative people meet to share ideas and inspiration.
At this quirky store-come-eatery in the Witzenberg Valley, you’ll be met by proprietor Peter Nel closely followed by a Great Dane called Shadow. The well known Wolseley coffee truck is sometimes parked out front so hopefully you’ll be able to step up for a coffee by Alison before heading inside the Fynbos store to browse.
The Fynbos Guest Farm & Animal Sanctuary is part of this property. Accommodation is by way of 3 self-catering farm-style cottages, a private caravan & camping facility, furnished tents and 2 rooms in the main Farmhouse. Guests are spoilt for choice with walks through the renosterveld and there’s even a glass meditation room, an asset for mindful travellers.
The re-homed menagerie includes zebra, llamas, alpacas to horses, ostriches and springbok, and a whole lot of other interesting furry and feathered friends.
Is there a fee? Yes, R60 and that comes with a tin of food to feed the animals
An independent gin distillery, the Monks tasting room enjoys a spectacular outlook over a lush tranche of the Breede Valley.
Alchemists Nic and Di Davis have bottled an aromatic pour, one that succinctly harnesses the marvel that is African botanicals. With inspiration from 11th century Benedictine monks known to be the first to distil using copper alembic pot stills, the couple have woven history and authenticity into the design and production of their premium elixirs.
Is there a fee? Yes, tastings cost R70 per person. Buy a bottle though and they’ll waive the fee. 😉
FRUIT PICKING IN SEASON
This is a family-fun activity that happens annually during harvest time, between November and .February. At Hoogwater Farm people can fill their baskets with figs, apples or peaches straight from the tree, while snacking from the branches as they go.
Is there an entry fee? There is picking charge per person so be sure to check the website for that as well as to find out exact picking dates and more about the tractor rides into the orchards.
Anyone who loves fleurs will know about Adene’s Flowers, a working flower farm dedicated to producing high quality, beautiful and long-lasting fresh-cut flowers and foliage. Adene Nieuwoudt is the visionary behind this blooming paradise that warrants a few hours of your time as you immerse yourself in rows of colour and floral beauty.
Is there an entry fee? Yes & you pay separately for your blommies. Pls note picking is between mid December and April each year.
Sitting on the ‘border’ of Wolseley in the Breed Kloof, Bosjes is a working farm, first made famous by its iconic Chapel, a masterpiece that appears to hover just above the earth. Today, five years after it opened it is a multi-faceted destination complete with two restaurants and a tea garden, a spa, walkways through the fynbos and along lush pathway, hiking trails above the property and a guest house that is currently under expansion.
Bosjes also farms proteas, olives, peaches and wine grapes and come November it’s Jelena picking time at Bosjes – a great way to spend morning. Or pre-order one of their picnic boxes and spend the day – there are stunning interactive play areas for kids as well so it’s a win for families with small childfren.
Is there an entry fee? To enter Bosjes is free. When picking you only pay for your blooms.
The Rietdakkie Farmstall and Kitchen, just down the road from Bosjes, is where fresh produce & delicious dried-fruit are sourced locally from the Breede River Valley. Enjoy the homemade refreshments & dishes and true Breedekloof hospitality.
COMING UP: The Creative Hub hosts their next market on 30 April. Making an appearance will be the amaWolseley marimba band that was started in 2012 and has gone from strength to strength. The ensemble performs at a number of functions in the Witzenberg Valley and beyond.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
For hikers & bikers- MTB enthusiasts love the Kluitjieskraal mountain bike trail with 41 kilometres of gorgeous mountain, forest and waterfall scenery, and there is a shorter trail of 14 kilometres for the not so fit. Avid hikers can enjoy the New Munster trail, a lovely 3 hour walk through veld on the way to the foot of the Mostertshoek Mountain and is fairly easy. With its diverse terrain, vegetation and waterways, the valley is also very popular with bird watchers.
Wolseley is on the Tulbagh Wine Route and oenophiles should note there are a number of excellent estates in the area- Waverley Hills, Seven Oaks, Mountain Ridge, Botha Kelder.
Accommodation at varying degrees of posh: Die Skuur at Bosjes; Seven Oaks Vineyard Cottages, Fynbos Guest Farm and in town, there’s the Koraalboom guest house. (I was based at Bosjes and so didn’t get to try any other properties.)
Pls see my Wolseley highlight reel on Instagram for visual inspo!
Enjoy your travels- keep supporting local. VIVA SA!