Written by Clifford Roberts; Photography by Johan Viljoen
This blog post is a continuation of a two-part entry. It sets out the characteristics that give the Swartland its identity, which is why we’ve drawn up an A to Z of the region. It’s not an exhaustive list, but if you’re planning a staycation in these parts, it will help you on your way.
The blog post appears in two parts. Read Part 1 here.
N is for Nature
The Swartland has many wilderness areas and reserves that protect it. Among them are Fynbos Estate’s Simson-Simons Nature Reserve, which is part of the Paardeberg Conservancy; and, Klipkoppie Nature Reserve near Malmesbury. Areas to explore include Kasteelberg, which may be accessed via the hiking trail that leaves from Pulpit Rock.
O is for Olive
Olives are part of the matrix that makes the Swartland what it is, underscoring its climatic resemblance to the Mediterranean. The Swartland’s main olive industry comprises a handful of enterprises, of which Kloovenburg is regarded as its pioneer of commercial production. Some are growers, some are millers, and some do both in the cultivation of groves and production of olive oil. Read the blog here: https://bit.ly/3Hnlukl
P is for Picturesque
The combination of rural charm and an uncluttered, undulating landscape make the region immensely picturesque. In the month of love, February, we suggested a handful of locations just right for popping the question. Read the blog here: https://bit.ly/3FgG04b
Q is for Quiet
There’s plenty to do and see in the Swartland, but one of its abiding charms is the peace and quiet. This is a characteristic of most of the space across its fields and villages. Hamlets like Eendekuil or Koringberg are attractive in themselves, but little beats the mere stillness of their streets on an ordinary day.
R is for Roam
Ours is a landscape to explore; an area that will delight, even if you spend a weekend road-tripping. But it’s also for roaming on foot, in the wilderness areas or on farms you may visit; and, by bicycle or motorcycle. Spend a weekend, a week or more. There’s no getting bored with what is on offer. If this list isn’t enough, get more of a taste, here https://bit.ly/3o02alx.
S is for Shiraz
The region is the source of some of South Africa’s finest wines. Shiraz in particular does well in the region, so much so that UK-based Master of Wine Tim Atkin heralded some Swartland vineyards as being among “the greatest Syrah sites in the southern hemisphere”. Read the blog on this topic, here: https://bit.ly/3wNjQU3
T is for Taste
Ours is food and wine country, but also one where tasting the wares with the producer is standard with most experiences. The many small wine farms and olive producers mean that tastings are often led by those directly linked to production, like winemakers and owners. It’s something we’re proud of because it makes a visit to the Swartland just that little bit better than somewhere else.
U is for Uniflora
The magnificent Disa uniflora is an evergreen orchid found around mountain areas of the Western Cape, including the Swartland. It is commonly known as the Pride of Table Mountain or Red Disa, and is an emblem of the province. The town of Porterville however has long laid claim however to being one of the few places where a yellow version of the flower may be encountered.
V is for Vast
We’ve already invited you to roam and explore because the landscape is vast. So too its skies, which give you an alternative perspective. Apart from having runways for private plane fly-ins, we are also served by a skydiving company with a drop zone some 14km north of Malmesbury.
W is for Wheat
Ask anyone to conjure up an image of the Swartland and the region’s wheatfields are likely to be included. Wheat production in the Western Cape is centred in the area. The long history of its production is reflected in the towns of Moorreesburg and Malmesbury, each home to large silo complexes; the names one comes across, like that of the village of Koringberg (wheat mountain) and destinations such as the Wheat Industry Museum. Read the blog here: https://bit.ly/322xnvU
X is for !Xam
The Cape’s first people were the San, whose story is told at the remarkable !Khwa ttu culture and education centre. It is located on an 850ha farm near Yzerfontein and opened to the public in 2006. With exhibitions updated and a cutting-edge museum added more recently, the facility has become one of the leading tourist destinations in the region. !Khwa ttu means ‘waterhole’ in the !Xam bushman language.
Y is for Yzerfontein
At first glance, Yzerfontein may not immediately be associated with the wheatfields and vineyards of the hinterland. It is however, part of the Swartland package and allows visitors to enjoy a combination of wilderness, mountains, small villages, vast farmlands and the sea as well. It is from this coastline that the vineyards benefit, thanks to cooling breezes that contribute to excellent grapes.
Z is for Zzzzzz
There is a range of accommodation alternatives located across the Swartland, including campgrounds by the ocean, self-catering cottages on wine farms and upmarket guesthouses close to village amenities. For assistance in locating what you need, make contact with our regional tourism offices on this page, https://bit.ly/3o02alx.