Tourism, Wildlife and Safaris

University of Stellenbosch Botanical Garden

Scaling the gates of the US Botanical Garden in the black of night is practically a rite of passage for Stellenbosch students, but this green retreat is really best viewed by the light of day. Established in 1923, it’s any aspiring botanist’s living encyclopedia, housing rare flora from across the globe. Lead yourself up the garden path past exotic ferns, succulents...

Eagle Encounters

Eagle Encounters Regal eagles are given a second chance at life at this raptor rehabilitation centre. On top of educational talks, the touching gallery gives you the chance to have up-close-and-personal encounters with barn owls and black eagles, while the interactive falconry display sees the majestic birds of prey jetting to and from the gloved arms of their expert handlers. Open 9....

Franschhoek Wine Bus

Franschhoek Wine Bus A new way to wander between wineries, the off-road ‘wine bus’ whisks you through vineyards and over mountains, tasting some of the valley’s best wines and meeting winemakers along the way. Booking is essential, as each tour can only accommodate 10 people. Departs from Rickety Bridge Wine Estate . Tours Weekends 11am. Winter 10am, 2pm Mon-Fri. Season 9.30am, 2.30pm Mon-...

Weltevrede tractor trips

This rollicking tractor trip through the vineyards is a fun way to learn more about the farm’s terroir and brush up on your wine-making knowledge. Trips include a riverside tasting (with some grape juice for the little ones). Trips 11am Sat. Bookings essential. Rates R24 adults; R10 children. Visit www.weltevrede.com for more info.

Mooivallei Suiwel Cheese Tours

Cheeseaholics shouldn’t miss the chance to see how it’s made. Join the resident cheese makers and observe them at work from an elevated walkway. Watch in awe while workers balancing on sky-high scaffolding paint hundreds of wheels of Gouda by hand. Tours are followed by a free tasting. Open 9am-4pm daily. Admission is Free.

Mary Rigg Memorial Church

All three daughters of Bonnievale’s founder, Christopher Forest Rigg, died very young. On her deathbed, the youngest, seven-year-old Mary Myrtle Rigg, asked her father to build a church in her name. These days her dying wish is a picture, complete with marble tiles from Agra (India), a bell from England and a 300-year-old jail door, all the way from Zanzibar. Free to...

The Olive Boutique

The Olive Boutique Juliana and Michael Meredith imported the first olive press in the valley 10 years ago and now customers will drive from as far afield as Port Elizabeth to get their olive fix. Taste, buy and indulge in Juliana’s philosophy that olives can be enjoyed all day long, from the tapenade with your eggs on toast in the morning to a massage at bedtime. Open 9am-4pm Mon-Fri; 10am-...

Kloovenburg

Owner Annalene du Toit was honoured as Sanlam’s female entrepreneur of the year 2008/9 for the business she started in her kitchen. In the revamped tasting room you can sample Annalene’s more than 30 delicious products including honey, figs, jams, tapenades, pestos, salsa, salts and of course olives in every shape and form. There is also a gorgeous range of olive oil...

The Cape Columbine Nature Reserve

Come here during spring for a stupendous floral display. It’s also home to small mammals like duiker, steenbok and porcupine. With the lighthouse as a clear beacon, this reserve is ideal to explore by car or on foot. And for a sleep with a difference, you can stay at a cottage next to the lighthouse. Open 8am-4.30 Mon-Sat; 8am-3pm Sun. Admission R11 adults; R7.70...

Grootvlei Guest Farm

Grootvlei Guest Farm Grootvlei offers friendly four-star accommodation in a beautifully restored homestead just outside of Lambert’s Bay. Opt for a sea-facing room and let the tempestuous Atlantic lull you to sleep. The additional three-star seashell cottages, situated right on the dunes, offer cosy accommodation for four couples in the traditional West Coast matjieshuis style. How to get...

Draaihoek Lodge

Draaihoek Lodge Bordering the untamed Atlantic West Coast and situated within a private nature reserve, Draaihoek Lodge is a perfect blend between a seaside retreat and a country escape. Unwind in your luxury West Coast-style cottage – complete with fireplace – while listening to the thumping waves metres away. The on-site à-la-carte restaurant offers modern South African cuisine and a...

Crayfish Hiking Trail

This fascinating five-day hike between Elandsbaai and Lambert’s Bay is a great experience. Led by a local guide, meander deserted beaches, wetlands, dune fields, river beds and mountain ranges while discovering a world of indigenous flora and fauna – not least of which the endemic Heaviside’s dolphin. Meals and authentic rural accommodation included. Rates R3 400-R4 100...

Bird Island Nature Reserve

Try your best to brave the guano stench as no trip to Lambert’s Bay is complete without visiting Bird Island. As one of only six sites in the world where Cape gannets breed, it’s a must-visit for birders and nature enthusiasts. Study the massive flock from a custom-built lookout point and observe behaviour such as beak scissoring and unique mating dances. Also be on the...

Elands Bay Hotel

Elands Bay Hotel Hotel: It’s not your average sea-facing hotel, but it has plenty of quirky, small-town appeal nonetheless. The interior is far from up-to-date – but that’s part of the charm. The hotel also manages the campsite right on the beach – a good option if you’re keen on hitting the surf at first light. Rates R150-R245 Restaurant: It’s not the most inspired menu on the West Coast...

Darling Lodge

Darling Lodge Sleep in style in this Victorian gem. There are no TVs in rooms, so that guests are assured of a more sociable yet tranquil stay. Rooms are named after local artists and all artworks are for sale. Manager Suzy Venter’s baked goods are a treat and she even offers a concierge service. Rates from R375-R400.