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LOCAL TIME: 10:12 pm | Thursday, 18 April
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Riebeek Kasteel, the Riebeek Valley, Swartland

 Riebeek Kasteel, Swartland, Western Cape

Riebeek Kasteel, set between the rolling patchwork of wheat fields,vineyards and olive groves in the Riebeek Valley, is protected by the imposing Kasteelberg Mountains. The magnificent Dutch Reformed Church sets the tone for one of the oldest villages in South Africa,  which boasts streets lined with restored Victorian homes, all adding to the village atmosphere. The landmark Royal Hotel, dating back to 1862, charms with its arches and outdoor courtyard.

Royal Hotel Riebeek Kasteel

The quaint village square, surrounded by art galleries, restaurants and coffee shops is a great place to browse and enjoy the work of the many artists and craftsmen that have made Riebeek Kasteel home.

The seasons also add to the constantly changing scenery – spring dresses the tranquil village in the softest hues of pink and white peach blossoms. The vineyards and wheat fields also change colour dramatically from winter emerald greens to autumn golds and rusts.

One could easily mistake the town and its accompanying valley for one set in the midst of the Tuscan hills of Italy, bathed in sunshine. It is almost equally as famous for its olives and Shiraz red wines. Visitors can enjoy the fruits of the vine, with an excellent choice from several wineries. If you are a wine lover, then take some time to do the Swartland Wine Route.

Riebeek Kasteel, Swartland, South Africa

The area is also produces olives, the products of which are available in town, and during season, tours are arranged to the olive farms. The Short Street Fine Food and Wine Market is held on the last Saturday of every month while the Royal Hotel’s Farmers Market takes place on the last Sunday of every month.

The Valley is also the perfect location to explore the outdoors. The Thunberg Hiking Trail rewards with great views of Table Mountain and the Cape in one direction, and the Piketberg, Cederberg and beyond in the other. The Pieter Cruythoff Hiking Trail is suitable for the whole family and also offers magnificent views. There are a range of cycling trails set in beautiful scenery, mainly along farm roads.

The country atmosphere and convenient location makes the valley a prime destination for weddings and functions. Day trips are easy to make to visit the Langebaan Lagoon and the West Coast National Park as well as to the quaint village of Tulbagh with its charming Cape Dutch architecture and wine estates – only 25 minutes away. Riebeek Kasteel is also the ideal base from which to explore the Cederberg, Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

Riebeek Valley Olive Festival is held annually in May – be sure to get there early, as this event is very popular. Equally popular are the Shiraz and Art Weekend in September, the Riebeek Valley Mediterranean Festival held in March and the PPC Marathon in August.

For more information about this area, visit ShowMe Swartland.

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