SLOW, STEADY, GO!
14:00 – 17:00: If you want to enjoy the Elgin Valley at your own pace, Villa Eike is conveniently situated in the town of Grabouw. There are different unit options to choose from to accommodate your needs. Villa Eike is modern and elegant with everything you need, including braai facilities. If you arrive in the valley early (2pm), arrange a wine-tasting at Shannon Vineyards. The turnoff to this wine estate is on the Rockview Dam Road as you approach Elgin. The landmark to look out for is the Eskom Visitors Centre. The Shannon wines are prized for their individuality, finesse, and longevity. You may also manage to fit in a visit to Paul Cluver to taste some more fabulous award-winning wines.
Their tasting room closes at 5pm.
09:00 – 10:00: After your morning coffee and rusk, anyone with the slightest bookworm tendency needs to visit Liberty Books at the Marsh Rose Mall in Grabouw. This bookshop is crammed with absolute gems, old and new. It is also the central hub for the Liberty Books Brigade, Burning Books and the Book Bus. Burning Books is a bookstore housed in a 1955 Bedford Green Goddess Fire Truck located at the Peregrine Farmstall; their Book Bus is a bookstore in a 1970s Provincial Library Bus parked at the Elgin Railway Market. Watch out for Kristy Loedolff’s new bookshop which is due to open at Peregrine Farmstall in time for the Christmas season.
10:00 – 13:00: If the books led you to the Elgin Railway Market, be prepared to spend some quality time here. This old warehouse was converted into a bustling steampunk station market. It is a beautiful and creative space where Art Deco meets Victorian architecture. The ceiling propellers are a wonder to behold. Make sure to enquire when the steam train is scheduled to arrive at the market. With a puff of steam and a loud toot to announce its arrival, it belches out exciting day-trippers from Cape Town. You can look forward to a great diversity of food offerings served throughout the day, including fragrant curries, pizzas, sushi, Thai dishes, smoothies, waffles, beer, wine and locally produced gin and fresh fruit juices.
13:30 – 17:00:If you are in hot pursuit of adrenalin, dedicate the rest of the day to an adventure with Cape Canopy Tours. Rest assured, it is super safe and a spectacular way to experience our fynbos and mountain-scapes. They also offer a fully guided adventure activity for nature enthusiasts of all from ages 5 to 75! Tours depart every 30 minutes.
Bookings are essential
19:30 – late: The Saturday night Dinner Dance at the Houw Hoek Hotel, South Africa’s oldest existing hotel, is something of an institution. The new owners have recently completed extensive renovations. Arrive early to explore the surrounds, enjoy sundowners overlooking the rolling lawns or rub shoulders with the locals in the wood-lined bar before you “trip the light fantastic” on the dance floor. Take a “raincheck” on their delicious English breakfast for your next visit to Elgin Grabouw.
09:00 – 12:00: Shake yourself awake and book a horse-riding experience at Long shadows Equestrian Centre. They will select a horse to match your horse-riding skills. What better way to take in the fresh air of undulating countryside? By now your tummy should be rumbling so head to our local smokehouse. The Hickory Shack, situated on the N2 not far from the turnoff to Paul Cluver Wines, offers ahearty Texas-styled barbeque meal of smoked meats and slow cooked, marrow-infused baked beans. Wash this down with a glass of their own locally brewed craft beer. And remember, most of the local wine estates are open until 16:00 on a Sunday, so stock up on some great local wines.
STAY AND PLAY ALL DAY
If you are looking for a weekend away that requires no driving whatsoever, you need to book in at Old Mac Daddy. This part-caravan park, part-designer farm lodge, is the spot to unwind. Set on the pine-whispering slopes in a beautiful corner of the Elgin Valley, Old Mac Daddy offers trailer units with artist-themed bedrooms and uber-contemporary living spaces as well as comfortable glamping style tented options and self-catering units.
The sooner you get there on a Friday, the better, because there is plenty to do.
The Barn Restaurant offers wholesome and delicious food during your stay, open daily from 08:00 till 22:00. Day visitors are welcome, although you will need to check on availability beforehand. The fun can start first thing in the morning after breakfast and may include archery, mountain biking, nature walks, stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, zorbing, tractor rides, and fishing on a catch and release basis. The choice is yours! Mom can visit the Zen Den for a pedicure or massage whilst the kids enjoy the indoor playroom and outdoor tractor jungle gym with swings, jungle gym and trampoline. Apart from swimming, waterslides can be arranged. During the school holidays, avid bakers can look forward to some additional hands-on activities. With so much on offer Sunday mornings are either spent enjoying activities you didn’t have a chance to experience on Saturday or possibly use to fit in a spot of wine tasting at the nearby South Hill Vineyards. Trust us, you will be back for more.