Tucked in the shadow of the breathtaking Langeberg mountains, the Robertson valley is at the heart of the beautiful Route 62. Just an hour and a half from Cape Town, the region makes an easy weekend trip.
With an impressive backdrop of rugged mountains, vineyards and farmlands, the town of Robertson sits pretty with its Jacaranda-lined streets and Victorian architecture. The people are friendly and welcoming, and the surrounding area is packed with high-quality, yet unpretentious restaurants, wine estates and farm stalls. Take a breath, shake off the stresses of city life, and slow down for a chilled out road trip to remember.
Take the scenic route
If you have time to really ease into the laid-back atmosphere of the area, take your time on the road from Cape Town to soak in the scenery of the Nuy Valley, which borders the Robertson valley.
For dried fruit and home baked sweet treats, pop into the quirky Pampoenstalletjie – you can’t miss the little house decorated with piles of pumpkins outside.
Further along the road, and a little off the beaten track, is Saggy Stone – a restaurant, brewery and pub. The road there may be bumpy, but you won’t be disappointed with the gorgeous setting, wholesome food (think homemade beer bread, rustic burgers and fresh salads) and, of course, the selection of craft beer made with spring water straight off the Langeberg mountains.
Taste the local wines
Wine lovers will find plenty to keep their taste buds busy. Most of the wine farms in the valley (which includes Ashton, Bonnievale, McGregor and Robertson) are family-owned, and the atmosphere is unpretentious and relaxed. For gorgeous views, the Excelsior Wine Estate is a must – their tasting room is situated on a deck overlooking a dam, and the vineyards and mountains beyond. They also offer guests the chance to blend, bottle and label their own wine.
The very beautiful De Wetshof Estate offers a wide range of Chardonnays and Brut in an elegant manor house setting. An avenue of Jacaranda trees, rose bushes and striking architecture create an ideal setting for an afternoon of tasting (believe us, you need time for this one!).
Another family-run gem is the pretty Springfield Estate, which offers a range of terroir-driven single vineyard wines available for tasting in an old stone cellar, or outside on a deck overlooking a dam. For a full list of wine farms in the Robertson Wine Valley, visit their website www.robertsonwinevalley.com – there really are enough to fill a weekend or three!
Try something tasty
If you love chocolate (and who doesn’t?), be sure to pop into Rosendal Winery and Wellness Retreat for a chocolate and wine pairing. They also offer boutique accommodation and spa treatments on site, making it an ideal one-stop weekend spot.
If savoury is more your style, Marbrin Olive Growers offers olive and olive oil tastings on their award-winning farm. To stock up on locally made jams, preserves, dried fruit, baked goods, olives and honey, as well as wine at cellar prices, pop into Platform 62 farm stall between Robertson and Montagu. They also have brandy tastings on the menu, some of which are paired with unusual elements including lemon zest and strips of ginger.
When it comes to eating out, there really is no shortage of options. From laid-back and wholesome, to gourmet fine-dining, there’s something for every palate. Mo and Rose Wine Bistro in Klaasvoogds offers dishes made with seasonal local ingredients with a European twist, while the Robertson Small Hotel in the heart of the town is known for the eclectic cuisine at Reuben’s restaurant, also with a strong focus on local and organic produce.
Many of the wine farms have restaurants on site, and the surrounding towns of Montagu, Ashton, Bonnievale and McGregor are well worth exploring for a bite to eat.
Explore the outdoors
If, after all the good food and wine, you’d like to stretch your legs and take in the fresh air, you’ll love the Fish Eagle hiking trail. It’s 8.5 kilometres long, and starts at the Van Loveren Wine Estate. The trail crosses the Breede River and winds up the Rooikrans for breathtaking views over the valley. Golfers will enjoy the Silwerstrand Golf Estate located just outside of town, and there are also two boat cruises that run down the Breede River – the Viljoensdrift cruise includes a picnic and winetasting, while the Breede River Goose cruise is ideal for bird watching, and bass fishing.
A trip to Robertson itself would be incomplete without a visit to the Sheilam nursery – a cactus and succulent garden that boasts around 2000 species of plants. The garden was established in 1954, and is recognized as one of the most impressive collections of plants in the country. Take a stroll through the garden –you’ll feel like you’re in a Dr Seuss story – or book a guided tour to learn about the array of unique species they grow.