It’s close enough to get to – yet it’s a perfect place to get away from it all.
The Swartland is a beautifully undiscovered hinterland tucked away between three majestic mountain ranges within easy reach of Cape Town in the Western Cape of sunny South Africa. Here, among fields of bright yellow canola, vast green stretches of carefully tended vineyards, silvery olives groves and undulating wheat fields, you will find the picturesque region that produces the award-winning wines and olives for which the Swartland Wine and Olive Route has become renowned.
A long, long time ago, when the first historians made their way into the Swartland at the height of summer, they encountered a wild landscape mottled in dark swatches of grey. This was the result of the native Renosterbos (‘rhino bush’) that grows darker in colour as the weather grows warm. Deciding to call a spade a spade, they promptly named it Het Zwarteland (‘the black land’) and proceeded to cultivate a wide array of crops, mainly wheat and vegetables at first, with little bits of vineyard to make wine for their own use. Little did they know that it would these little vineyards that would ultimately put the Swartland on the global map.
The Swartland wine route was established in 1986 to promote the producers of that do their thing in the vast area that stretches from Piketberg in the south, to the Berg River in the north, and encompasses the towns of Piketberg, Malmesbury, Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel. From long-established cooperatives with shelves full of international awards, to feisty independent mavericks that are making a splash with their incredible old vine wines, today the Swartland is home to an extraordinary array of wineries and olive producers who are making waves both locally and abroad.
Naturally, there is also a fine selection of restaurants and eateries to provide lip-smacking fuel for your Swartland adventure. Take your pick from farm fresh steaks in leafy courtyards, lingering tapas lunches overlooking the vineyards, wood-fire pizzas on chequered tablecloths or haute cuisine on white linen – all served with that singular Swartland charm. Oh, and did we mention the incredible array of body products, home-made jams, chutneys, freshly baked breads, locally roasted coffee beans, and delectably plump olives in all manner of delicious guises that are bound to make their way home with you?
The Swartland is such a multi-faceted destination that you should really make a weekend of it to allow yourself plenty of exploration time. This is why our lovely towns offer a fabulous variety of accommodation venues that range from cosy B&Bs and farm cottages, to swanky hotels and luxury guest houses. So, whether you’re keen on waking up to a crowing rooster and some freshly brewed boeretroos, or prefer Egyptian cotton sheets and brunch on the veranda, there’s sure to be a spot that floats your boat.
It's a region that is as welcoming as it is enticing, and the perfect destination to indulge in life's most delectable pleasures.
The Swartland is known for its colourful characters, stoep stories, quirky eateries, and of course, it's marvellous wine and olives. The hot, dry summers and long, cool winters make for a lovely climate, and also supports the creation of beautiful vintages and olive products.
The Swartland is home to four fully accredited Tourism Information Offices designed to help make planning your trip to the region simple and stress-free. Tourism Information offices are located in Malmesbury, Moorreesburg, Riebeek Kasteel and Piketberg.
Staff at the Tourism Information Offices provides expert advice on, accommodation, restaurants, activities and attractions across the region.