More About the Swartland
Unlike other wine routes, the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route is not centered around one town, but covers a large and geographically diverse area.
Malmesbury – capital of the Swartland
The bustling town of Malmesbury, home to the head office of the wine route, is situated about 70 km from the Cape Town. The beautiful historical buildings dotted around the town form part of the Malmesbury Historic Walk, which includes the local Museum.
Paardeberg – off the beaten track
The Paardeberg, just south of Malmesbury in the direction of Paarl, is the ideal destination for those interested in outdoor activities such as 4X4 and hiking trails. Visiting one of the private cellars and meeting the locals here is part of this unique and very personal experience.
The Riebeek Valley – home of the olive
The quaint villages of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West nestle at the foot of Kasteelberg (‘Castle Mountain’), about 20 km from Malmesbury. Surrounded by vineyards and olive groves the area, affectionately known as the Riebeek Valley, is home to many artists and creative individuals. Not to be missed are the very popular Riebeek Valley Olive Festival on the first weekend in May and the Solo Studios Art Weekend in August.
Piketberg – best-kept secret
The Piketberg area in the north encompasses the town with its surrounding farms of wheat and vineyards, and the mountain. This hidden gem of the Swartland is a special place of natural beauty, and a trip up the mountain is a must for any visitor. Bountiful fruit orchards are surrounded by the natural vegetation which is rich in proteas, restios and ericas of every description. Horse riding and hiking are some of the activities on offer.
Porterville – flying and flowers
Not too far from Piketberg lies Porterville, at the foot of the Olifants and Groot Winterhoek mountains. The dry, hot summers with their powerful thermals make this the ideal location for hang-gliding. Porterville is famous for the rarest of flowers, the Disa uniflora, which flower during January and February in the Groot Winterhoek Nature Reserve. A must-see here is Waterval, with its 22 constant waterfalls.
Swartland wineries – deliciously diverse
The wineries are spread throughout this unique region with its varying landscapes and climates. This production area results in a range of wines that are hard to beat not only for their quality but also for enormous diversity.
Daily wine tasting, cellar tours and sales are offered at most cellars. Some of the wineries – especially those in the remote Paardeberg area – offer tasting by appointment only.
Swartland olives – to eat and to beautify
The Mediterranean climate of the southwestern Cape of South Africa, into which the Swartland falls, makes it ideal for growing olives. These hardy and attractive little evergreen trees thrive in the long, hot summers of the region, and their fruit is harvested in autumn and winter.
Like wine, there’s a certain mystique attached to olives. They can’t be eaten straight from the tree, and must undergo processing before they are palatable. This done, the ways in which olives can be prepared, from pickling to pastes, are endless, and the cornucopia of delicious olive products available in the Swartland is testimony to the creativity and talent of its olive producers.
Our olive oils, which similarly come in a range of lip-smacking preparations, from chilli to lemon, are among the best in the world.
And it’s not only the taste-buds that are set tingling: Swartland olives are also made into a variety of beauty products, from massage and bath oils to lip balms, body scrubs, shampoos and lotions.
Yellow Umbrella for the Wine Industry!
Towards creating a sustainable Agriculture future
Effective risk management (in the form of adequate crop and asset insurance) is vital – and this is where Santam Agriculture is making a real difference to help farmers and producers create a sustainable future.
Gerhard Diedericks, head: Santam Agriculture says that the insurer endeavours to make insurance even more accessible, affordable and attractive to farmers and producers. “With more than 83 years of experience, we value our stakeholders’ business requirements and need to understand all the challenges they face in order to provide insurance good and proper.
Gerhard believes that Santam Agriculture has a responsibility to help stimulate a positive environment for farmers, organised agriculture, and agri-businesses in South Africa.
“The demand for food in South Africa has increased substantially in the past decade and this trend is expected to continue. The increase has been driven partly by a growth in population but also been triggered by increased consumer spending power. Our ever growing population will continue to demand increasing quantities of food and as such, opportunities will always remain for innovative producers that are able to keep improving productivity and producing more from less.
“Our sponsorships with relevant players in the agricultural industry not only bring us closer to our stakeholders, but also give us the opportunity to get critical input when developing custom-made products to address specific needs.”
Santam Agriculture undertakes to illustrate the fundamentals of insurance to farmers and producers, they also want to give them real solutions and sound advice, relevant to their specific circumstances. Insurance is often seen as a grudge purchase – Santam Agriculture’s challenge is to make it more practical. It’s all about knowing clients and deciding what will work best for them and their specific circumstances.
“We want farmers and producers to know that we understand their requirements, that we value their contribution to the economy and sustainable food production, and above all that we share their passion for farming.”
Santam Agriculture’s research farm, Mooihoek (near Bloemfontein), is a good example of how Santam Agriculture can add value for farmers and producers. The scientific research done at Mooihoek provides farmers and producers invaluable information about the potential damage to crops at various growth stages. Santam Agriculture is still the only South African insurer to date with such a research facility.