Self Drive Day Trip from Cape Town to the Overberg
The Elgin Valley and Bot River areas are nestled between vineyards, apple and pear orchards and beautiful mountains. Close to Cape Town, Hermanus and Somerset West, this self-drive route is really worthwhile with plenty of photographic opportunities.
Reach the land of apples and wine by scenic passes, and depending on time of year, wild flowers, fynbos and orchard blossoms look like a veritable Garden of Eden. Expect excellent places to eat, from superior farm stalls to gourmet restaurants, on beautiful wine estates. If wine tasting is on your mind, then select a driver for the day, as wine tasting abounds on the Elgin Wine Route.
An early start from Cape Town is a good idea, not only to avoid city traffic, but to give yourself time to participate in all the area has to offer. Of course, you could take your time and make this trip a weekend getaway with a stay on a working farm or vineyard.
There are two route options.
The first option takes in Stellenbosch and Franschhoek and is 252km. Cape Town > Grabouw > Elgin > Botrivier > Van der Stel Pass > Franschhoek > Stellenbosh > Cape Town.
The second option returns over Sir Lowry’s Pass and is 211km. Cape Town > Botrivier > Van der Stel Pass > Elgin > Grabouw > Sir Lowry’s Pass > Cape Town.
Route Information and Attractions
From Cape Town the first milestone is Sir Lowry’s Pass, the gateway to the Overberg and from its peak offers great views of the entire False Bay and Cape Flats.
Near Peregrine, is the turnoff to Duncan’s Roses and the Viljoenshoop road, which also leads to Applewaith Farm, Oak Valley Flowers and MTB trail and Windermere Apple Cider. This road is especially beautiful in November when the roses are in full bloom. Viljoenshoop Road meanders through fruit orchards and past labourer’s cottages. Follow the road until you see the turn-off to Duncan’s Roses on your right. Duncan’s Roses has the most spectacular rose-garden, displaying various different roses in all colours of the rainbow. It is a magnificent setting for taking awesome pictures. Visit Windermere, and taste pure apple cider, made in a traditional way from fresh apples, containing no preservatives or additives.
To reach South Hills and Iona Wine Estates or the R44 to the Whale Coast, drive along the Viljoenshoop Road and turn left into the Valley Road. Drive through pine plantations and magnificent fynbos. The route over the mountain is fairly good gravel.
Returning towards the N2 from Windermere, turn right onto the N2 highway and drive until you see the turn-off to De Rust Estate on your left. Paul Cluver Estate has everything in one – cool climate wines, a forest amphitheatre and an elegant Guest House. Enjoy continental breakfasts, a quiet afternoon’s relaxation in the small library or enjoy a picnic on the estate. An alternative here is to continue a short distance along the N2, to Thandi Winery, the first really successful BEE operation, where you can lunch on the veranda, and by so doing, support the local community.
Further along the N2 you will see the historic Houw Hoek Farmstall on your right. Here you will find farm fresh produce, a lovely coffee shop set in the majestic mountains with the most delicious lunches and breakfasts. If you prefer the outdoors you may order a picnic and relax under the oaks, next to the dam, and fly fish for rainbow trout.
Across the entrance to Houw Hoek Farm Stall you will see the entrance to go to Houw Hoek Inn. The Houw Hoek Inn is the oldest licensed hotel in South Africa. The existing ground floor dates back to 1779 and the adjoining old farm building has been restored into dining- and conference rooms retaining this original charm and character. Enjoy a Sunday lunch, pub dinner and dance or experience the charm of staying at the Houw Hoek Inn, the oldest hotel in South Africa.
From Houw Hoek the road crosses the Houw Hoek Pass, which offers spectacular fynbos views, on its way to Bot River. Along the N2 at Exit 92, take the R43 turn-off to Bot River. Turning to the right goes towards destination Hermanus; to the left, Bot River. As a recommended route, a quick few kilometres to the right will take you on a sojourn to Wildekrans, a more than worthwhile stop, and turning back then leads into the small village of Bot River.
The Van der Stel Pass lies between Bot River and Villiersdorp, a beautiful pass that takes one via the Theewaterskloof Dam to Franschhoek.
On reaching the R321, turn right onto the R45 if you are returning home via Franschhoek and Stellenbosch or left if you are going to Elgin and Grabouw and home via Sir Lowry’s Pass.
If you are going to Franschhoek, take the turnoff at the Theewaterskloof Dam. In spring, there are magnificent watsonias and wild flowers on the Franschhoek Pass. At the summit there are splendid views over the Franschhoek Valley. See the Franschhoek Wine Route.
Continue on the R45 from Franschhoek until your reach the R310 to Stellenbosch. Turn left and you will make your way over the Helshoogte Pass. The crest of this spectacular winding pass into the valley offers spectacular views and there are many points of interest including fruit farms, Cape Dutch houses and stunning wineries, so you’ll find yourself hard-pressed to decide where to stop. See the Stellenbosch Wine Route.
If you decided to go back via Sir Lowry’s Pass, you will drive the Viljoen’s Pass on the R321, past the entrance to the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve (hiking and kloofing mecca) and the Nuweberg dam. From the summit of the pass, which follows the gorge of the Palmiet River, is a superb vista of the valley of the Riviersonderend (“River without end”).
See all the attractions in Grabouw and Elgin.
|More info on the town of Franschhoek||More info on the Cape Winelands|