Day Trip Hermanus to Elgin Valley and Grabouw

Posted: 2 March 2012 by Jenny Meyer Category: Botanical Garden Reserve, Days trips from Hermanus, festivals, Nature Reserve, Restaurants and places to eat, Things to do, Uncategorized, Wine Tasting Tags: , , , , , ,

Day Trip Hermanus to Elgin Valley and Grabouw

Feel like venturing a bit further? A day trip Hermanus to Elgin Valley and Grabouw is a good choice and is about 55kms away.  Take the R43 out of Hermanus, pass the Kleinmond and Botrivier turnoffs and merge with the N2 as though you’re going to Cape Town. You will wander through the Houw Hoek pass where you will find the Houw Hoek Inn and Farm Stall.  Delicious breakfast are served on the verandah of the farm stall and for a taste of “Olde Worlde”, you could pop in to the Inn for a cup of tea.  This is reputed to be the oldest inn in South Africa.  Continue further on the N2 and pass the Kromco apple sheds and the entrance to the Paul Cluver Wine Estate where the Paul Cluver Theatre is found and is famous for its open air forest concerts in the summer evenings.  Very soon after this you will come to the Grabouw turn-off, opposite the Peregrine Farm Stall. Grabouw and the Elgin Valley have made a name for themselves by being the largest fruit exporting region in South Africa. Today, however, vineyards, museums, hiking trails and more also form a vital part of this area and make it a great place to spend the day.

 Paul Cluver Concert in the forest Paul Cluver Forest Theatre Photo: Hello Elgin Valley

Grabouw started out as a farm called Grietjiesgat, owned by the German painter Willem Langschmidt. Langschmidt, the father of 23 children, named the surrounding area after his place of birth – Grabau. In 1856 his wife started a little trading store of which he was the bookkeeper but later he sold parts of his farm off which ultimately started the farming community that would make Grabouw expand to what it is today.

 Fruit trees photo Dee Du Plessis Fruit trees in bloom: Photo Dee du Plessis

The Elgin Valley is home to the Mountain Eco Route, which is claimed to be the world’s first biodiversity wine route. This route offers visitors the chance to hike amongst the Fynbos and vineyards of the area, taste a variety of different wine types in the valley or even mountain bike up the trails of the Elgin Valley. The Valley is the proud host to two stages of the annual Absa Cape Epic Mountain Bike Race and has a large selection of bicycle tracks for cyclists of any skill. The beautiful scenery offered in the valley makes it a must-see for anybody who enjoys mountain biking or any adventurer who wants to try something different.

 

Keeping with their environmental streak, the Palmiet Hydro-Electric Pumped Storage station is right on Grabouw’s doorstep and is open to visitors. The station gives interesting background to hydro-electricity and has some fun electrical experiments and tricks for the kids. Palmiet has won numerous awards for its conservation efforts, especially those surrounding the Fynbos and it helps to keep its home, the Koegelberg Biosphere Reserve, in balance. In Grabouw itself, Duncan’s Rose Nursery displays breathtaking roses of every colour imaginable during spring and is a definite place your camera must go.

 

Grabouw and the Elgin Valley are also very proud of their home-made food. The Elgin Apple Museum gives a fascinating history of the fruit industry of the region, using photographs and also old, still-working machinery to take you through the years. The Houw Hoek, mentioned earlier, the Peregrine and Orchard farm stalls and are also in this area and both offer delectable home-made goods as well as great little gifts and even fly fishing tackle and bait. Houw Hoek even packs picnic baskets for those who want to take full advantage of the glorious scenery surrounding them.

 Red apples Photo: Elgin Valley Tourism

Wine tasting isn’t the only thing visitors can experience in the Valley. The Oude Molen Distillery offers tours that give great insight to how brandy is made and also offer tastings, memorabilia, brandy cakes and more. The cellar tour and a tasting will cost R140 per person, (please confirm price) but this price usually includes a bottle of their 100 Reserve so the price is well worth it.

 

Elgin and Grabouw have even more to offer in the form of coffee shops, museums and the annual Elgin Festival that happens in October. For a day away this valley is an excellent choice and will leave you feeling refreshed and possibly very well nourished.   Don’t feel like driving then why not book a tour via one of our local tour companies.  See  our blog Transport Services in Hermanus

Author: Danice Kreusch

Edited: Jenny Bowes Meyer

Photos Courtesy of David Morris, Elgin Valley Tourism, Dee du Plessis and Hello Elgin Valley Facebook pages.

 

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