Riebeek Valley Hiking Trails Kloovenburg

9 reasons to visit the Swartland in December

The Swartland has a host of events and activities planned for the summer holidays this year. Here’s a list, which includes exciting newcomers too.

1. Riebeek Valley Trails

Riebeek Valley Hiking Trails

Launched in recent weeks, this initiative offers a series of guided trails showcasing the wine and olive farms that line the Kasteelberg Mountain. It’s an excellent way to learn more about local fauna and flora and the history of the region. The experience includes tastings, picnics and long table lunches, and accommodates differing levels of fitness.
Visit www.riebeekvalleytrails.co.za for information.

2. The Royal Arts Town Amphitheatre (RATA)

Riebeek Kasteel open air theatre

Riebeek Kasteel has a new open-air theatre. Its first summer season of productions, starring some of the Cape’s top performers, opens in November and runs until the end of April 2021. To book online or see other shows lined up for the festive season, go to www.artstown.co.za.

3. Solo Studios – intimate art encounters

Solo Studios Riebeek Kasteel

Traditionally hosted in August, the popular arts event takes place this year from December 11-13. In addition to giving visitors access to artist workspaces, it features exhibitions, poetry readings, guided walks and live music performances. A trio of tasting sessions called The Art of Wine, takes place on December 12 and will introduce visitors to a number of award-winning Swartland wines. Wine is also part of the food and wine pairing events that take place at the homes of local chefs. Bookings are open at www.solostudios.co.za.

4. Bring your family and pick blueberries

Picking Blueberries in the Swartland

Highlands Eco Estate on Piket Bo-berg opened its gates this year for an out of the ordinary experience. Pick blueberries and pay per punnet.
“There’s no entrance fee, but the organisers do hope visitors will extend their visit to order a pizza and have some wine too,” says Nikki.
For information, call 082 881 0940.

5. Book a farm lunch

Kalmoesfontein farm lunches

It has been a tradition at Kalmoesfontein, home of AA Badenhorst Wines, to prepare a lunch shared by everyone on the farm. Now they’ve opened to the doors so visitors can join in. Meat and fresh produce from the area are used as ingredients. Lunch is served weekdays at 12:30, but only until December 16 when the farm closes for its annual break. There are only eight seats available and 24-hour advance booking is required. Email semma@aabadenhorst.com or call 079 652 6101.

6. Try something new – Café Myrtledene at Hof Straat winery

Café Myrtledene Malmesbury

Café Myrtledene is a relatively new eatery that adjoins the Hof Straat winery in Malmesbury. Wim Smit heads the winery and his brother, Lawrence, is owner and chef at the café. It is open Wednesday to Saturday 12:30 to 21:30 for pizzas, tapas and a la carte items; and, Sunday 12:00 to 15:00 with a set menu. Call 060 329 1668 for information.

7. Lammershoek Braai & Wine

Lammershoek farm braais Swartland

The winery launched its monthly braai and wine events in October. It includes a guided tour through the cellar; live music by the Lammershoek farm band; a tractor ride through the farm vineyards; and, a jumping castle. For more information, call 022 48 22 835.

7. Book a wine tasting and hike in a nature reserve

Fynbos Estate Nature Reserve Hiking Trails

Fynbos Estate on the Paardeberg offers tasting by appointment – daily including weekends and public holidays from 09:00 to 18:00. The nature reserve hiking trail is also open from 06:00 for avid walkers, but you must register by calling Tel: 022 487 1153 prior to departure. For details, go to www.fynbosestate.co.za.

9. Get the vibe

If you’ve never been to the Swartland, you may first want to head over to YouTube first. Wine retailer David Clarke recently completed a series of four programmes that showcases wines from the region and its unique character. They make entertaining viewing and well worth the background information.
Watch it on YouTube here: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Swartland

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