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In photographs: a visit to Citrusdal, Western Cape

Words by Melanie van Zyl . Article from the Getaway online Magazine 2015.

In the June 2015 issue of Getaway, I went on a mission: suss out Citrusdal.

Citrusdal-19

Citrusdal is a thriving farming district by trade but has been dragged kicking and screaming into tourism. I’ll be honest, it’s not exactly quaint. This is a rugged farming town surrounded by gorgeous natural beauty.

One of the many activities on offer in the Citrusdal area.

One of the many activities on offer in the Citrusdal area.

The view of Citrusdal as you descend the N7.

The view of Citrusdal as you descend the N7.

Citrusdal is known as the ‘Gateway to the Cederberg’ and is flanked by the towering red mountains in the east. It also marks the start of the technicolour Namaqualand flower display come spring and is home to the clear waters of the Olifants River, which pool in the well-known baths out of town. When people started to visit the area, old farm manager cottages were converted and rented out.

An unmistakably Cederberg sunset.

An unmistakably Cederberg sunset.

The Wolfkop camping village comes with canoes and a river-side stoep.

The Wolfkop camping village comes with canoes and a river-side stoep.

One of the heated mineral pools at The Baths, which have been popular since 1739.

One of the heated mineral pools at The Baths, which have been popular since 1739.

The Blomhuis at Hebron is a eco-home built with hay bales and overlooks a flower plantation.

The Blomhuis at Hebron is a eco-home built with hay bales and overlooks a flower plantation.

Hay bales piled high alongside one of the gravel roads leading off the N7.

Hay bales piled high alongside one of the gravel roads leading off the N7.

Die Sandveldhuisie is a quirky art house and great for a cup of coffee. Chat to the owners for everything Citrusdal.

Die Sandveldhuisie is a quirky art house and great for a cup of coffee. Chat to the owners for everything Citrusdal.

Nothing is discarded at the Sandveldhuisie.

Nothing is discarded at the Sandveldhuisie.

This hammock overlooks the Citrusdal farmlands, just a short 5-kilometere drive from town in the Wolfkop Nature Reserve.

This hammock overlooks the Citrusdal farmlands, just a short 5-kilometere drive from town in the Wolfkop Nature Reserve.

At Elephant Leisure Resort, two-bedroom units come with a private jacuzzi and rocky mountain backdrop.

At Elephant Leisure Resort, two-bedroom units come with a private jacuzzi and rocky mountain backdrop.

Inside the renovated units at Elephant Leisure Resort, you'll find clean country living.

Inside the renovated units at Elephant Leisure Resort, you’ll find clean country living.

One of my highlights from visiting the area – rich in fynbos, buchu and rooibos – was the rooibos tea tour on the Carmien Bergendal Rooibos Farm. It instilled a greater appreciation of the long journey from inconspicuous green bush to steaming cup. The tour also included tastings of their tea range (Vintage Romance Flower Tea was my favourite) and information on how tea is graded so it can be traced back to the organic farm on which it grew. Did you know that the leaves of the rooibos plant are green when harvested, then finely cut to bruise them and left to ferment naturally in the sun? That’s what develops the red colour and iconic flavour.

Here, a farmworker churns the rooibos that's been laid out to ferment dragging a metal plate behind a quad bike

Here, a farmworker churns the rooibos that’s been laid out to ferment dragging a metal plate behind a quad bike.

This is how the green rooibos plant looks, brought to the factory in bags from surrounding farms.

This is how the green rooibos plant looks, brought to the factory in bags from surrounding farms.

Melanie van Zyl

Tiny yellow flowers dot the rooibos plant in fields.

Tiny yellow flowers dot the rooibos plant in fields.

A tea and wine pairing at Hebron will give you a better idea of the aromas and tastes of local produce.

A tea and wine pairing at Hebron will give you a better idea of the aromas and tastes of local produce.

Citrus fruit laid to dry.

Citrus fruit laid to dry on Citrusdal farms. 

Read more about Citrusdal in the June 2015 issue of Getaway. Find out where to stay, what to eat and the best things to do in the citrus-farming town with a tourism problem.

Click the cover below to see more from this issue!

 

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More info on the town of Citrusdal More info on the Cederberg Region



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