When the balmy days of summer start to give way to the lingering crispness of autumn in the Western Cape, there’s no more excuse – it’s time to put on a cap and a pair of takkies and make your way into one of the gorgeous landscapes that lie dotted around the Mother City. If you prefer to veer off the beaten track to get those endorphins pumping, we’ve got you covered – the Swartland is home to plenty of hiking routes, mountain-biking spots, and even a hang-gliding venue or two!
Here are a few of the active pursuits you can enjoy in the Swartland in 2019:
HIKING ROUTES IN THE SWARTLAND
Fynbos Estate outside of Malmesbury covers 320 hectares, which is about the size of Cape Town CBD. This includes 20 hectares of wine-grape vineyards and olive groves, 30 hectares of open farmland, and 270 hectares of granite mountain. Visitors are welcome to hike the full route up the mountain, or take a more gentle walk around the vineyards. The estate is child- and pet-friendly, so you can make a weekend of it and enjoy the vineyard walk with the whole crew in tow.
Kloovenburg Wine & Olive Estate
Kloovenburg Wine & Olive Estate in the Riebeek Valley has a beautiful guesthouse on their premises, and a private hiking route that may be accessed by guests. Since this lovely route winds its way through the estate’s vineyards, it’s not open to the public. If you would like to enjoy this particular hike, we recommend that you book accommodation at Die Pastorie and take advantage of the added perk.
Pulpit Rock Winery
Pulpit Rock Winery is situated on the outskirts of Riebeek West as you head towards Moorreesburg on the R311. The estate recently launched a brand-new hiking route that is open to the public. The trail is approximately 4km in length, but covers quite a steep elevation on the way up. Moderately fit hikers will be rewarded for their trouble by an unprecedented view over the valley from the top. The entire route takes around 3 hours to complete and hikers should announce themselves at reception before hitting the trail. Hiking is allowed outside of office hours, but this has to be arranged with the winery prior to arrival (ideally the day before or earlier).
MTB ROUTES IN THE SWARTLAND
Hero Adventure Trail in Malmesbury
The Hero Adventure Trail in Malmesbury is an undiscovered gem that you can tackle whenever you feel like it. Simply find the first sign post on the corner at the McDonalds as you enter Malmesbury from the R302, and follow the rest of the posts into the challenging terrain of the Klipkoppie Nature Reserve. This self-guided route splits into various sections (indicated by different coloured arrows), so you choose your own adventure. Important: If you select the red route (the most challenging of the lot), be sure to ride in pairs and be ready for quite a technical track. There is no cell phone reception for about 4km along the route, so it’s best to buddy up in case someone takes a tumble.
Piket-Bo-Berg is a truly magical destination that many people don’t even realise exists. Situated on the top of Piketberg Mountain, 90 minutes from Cape Town, this region produces some of the best fruit and flowers in the Western Cape. It also happens to have some seriously epic MTB trails, and hosts the annual U-MTB Stage Race that takes place over the course of three days, consisting of a prologue and two stages. The 2019 event will take place between 18 and 20 October.
PARAGLIDING & SKYDIVING IN THE SWARTLAND
Skydiving over the Swartland
Mother City Skydiving conducts regular tandem- and sports skydiving outings over the Swartland, starting from the drop zone at the Diepkloof Airfield, just off the N7 highway 14km north of Malmesbury, past the Annex Kloof Padstal. Tandem skydiving is suitable for novices, with no previous experience required. Sport skydiving, on the other hand, is strictly for pilots with a PASA B-Licence or FAI equivalent and their own equipment. Prior to your first sports jump visit, you will have to visit the airfield, fill out the required forms, have your equipment checked out, be approved to jump and be briefed in the leadup to your solo orientation descent to demonstrate your proficiency. All excursions have to be pre-booked, so get in touch with the Mother City Skydiving team before you head out into the Swartland for your weekend getaway.
Professional paragliding and hang-gliding in Porterville
If you’re a licenced paraglider or hang-glider, Flyers’ Lodge in Porterville is a great spot to stretch your wings. Pilots who are new to the area can sit in on a special briefing every morning at the lodge, to discuss the weather forecast and expected flying conditions. The team will also give you an overview of the region’s topography and its influence on wind and thermals. Flyers’ Lodge liases with the ATC at the air force training school at Langebaanweg daily to avoid airspace conflicts and bring air force traffic control into the picture.
MARATHONS IN THE SWARTLAND
The PPC Riebeek Bergmarathon takes place once a year, normally in August, starting from the PPC plant outside of Riebeek West. The date for this year’s event is yet to be finalised, but you can keep an eye on their Facebook page and website, as well as the Road Running website. The active occasion normally comprises a full marathon, half marathon, 10km run/walk and 5km run, so there’s an event for every fitness level.
These are just a few of the adrenaline-inducing activities you can enjoy in and around Malmesbury, Riebeek Kasteel, Riebeek West, Porterville and Piketberg in the Swartland of South Africa. For more info on events, occasions and destinations in our gorgeous region, keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles. We’ll keep you informed of all the must-sees and must-dos the Swartland has to offer.