The warm and welcoming Swartland area of the Western Cape encompasses a uniquely diverse geographic region, from the undulating hills of the Paardeberg in the south to the rolling waters of the Berg River in the north.
Here lie the charming historic towns of Malmesbury, Piketberg and Porterville, and the twin villages of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West, nestled on the slopes of the looming Kasteelberg.
Sweeping wheat fields – golden in summer, mint-green in winter – are punctuated by azure dams on working farms, and sheep and cattle dot the landscape. Huge swathes of natural vegetation burst with fynbos plants – proteas, restios and ericas – and the rich resident birdlife is complemented in spring by migrants, with steppe buzzards and blackshouldered kites common along roadside fenceposts.
Swartland Vineyards Moonrise
In this little Mediterranean corner of the world, fruit orchards abound, vineyards carpet the slopes and olive groves nestle around unexpected corners.
This quietly charming world of abundance and colour welcomes visitors – to be cosseted in guesthouses BnBs, to feast on fresh and deliciously prepared local produce and, above all, to sample a wide range of palate-pleasuring wines.
Wine In The Swartland
Swartland WineIt’s close enough to get to – yet it’s a perfect place to get away from it all. Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route, established in 1986, offers visitors the kind of country comfort and hospitality that quickly sweeps away the stress of city living.
This South African wine gem is an ideal day-trip destination from Cape Town, while tourists heading towards the West Coast, the Northern Cape or Namibia along the N7 will find a detour along the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route a delightful journey of discovery. Here, visitors are welcomed as family.
Each producer on the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route offers guests a uniquely different experience. Its 20 members include cooperatives, private cellars, garagistes and wine merchants. Explore the winemaking history of the region at some of the historic estates or enjoy exquisite wine experiences at modern tasting rooms. Smaller wineries present intimate wine tastings in rustic cellars, while family concerns dating back generations will welcome visitors with the customary Swartland warmth and cheer.
Swartland Accommodation Cape Wine Route South Africa
The Royal Hotel in Riebeek KasteelFrom tiny BnBs to well-appointed guesthouses, charming self-catering cottages and luxury hotels, there’s an accommodation option on the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route to suit every taste and pocket.
No matter what you choose, the famous Swartland hospitality will make you feel right at home.
Swartland FoodLocal foodies agree that this is an area not to be missed. Small owner/chef-run eateries, cosy coffee shops and larger-scale restaurants offer a huge range and variety of meals, most prepared with fresh produce sourced in the area and many made to old family recipes.
Regular farmers’ and street markets bring out the locals in their droves, and here you can buy anything from homegrown veggies in season to free-range eggs and poultry, homemade cakes, sweets and savoury dishes, freshly baked bread and, of course, olives in every shape and form, from oils, pickles, spreads and tapanades to soaps, creams and shampoos.
Activities In The Swartland
Swartland Farm Scene This gorgeous region with its long, hot summers and blustery, astmospheric winters offers a huge variety of outdoor activities. Walks and hikes are popular, as are 4X4 trails, and for the more adventurous there’s hang-gliding, paragliding, canoeing, clay-pigeon shooting and horse-riding, to name but a few.
The Swartland is famous for its festivals, which cover everything from food and wine to art and music, and take place throughout the year.
See Annual Events.