Small towns provide a taste of what region has to offer

By Natalia Thomson
Robertson grape stompingCrossed Cape Town off the list? Oenophiles and foodies will enjoy a leisurely sojourn down Route 62, home to luscious fruit valleys that produce some of South Africa's best wine.

This scenic tourist corridor stretches from Cape Town in the west to as far as Port Elizabeth. Perhaps the most charming of its experiences lies in the prosperous valley of wine and roses encompassing the towns of Robertson and Montagu.

About two hours from Cape Town, Robertson is home to some 50 wineries. The most recognized of these are Robertson Winery, Van Loveren, Fraai Uitzicht 1798, Dewetshof Estate and Rietvalley Wine Estate. Most offer tasting and cellar tours.

There's a great deal to do year-round in Robertson. Highlights include a visit to Van Loveren's Tasting Garden, a horse-drawn carriage tour of the local wineries by the Robertson Riding School and Soekershof, an interactive and whimsical exploration of mazes and gardens in Klaas Voogds West.

Robertson is rich in food-and-wine events year-round.

The Hands-on Harvest festival in February presents a chance to experience a harvest, with grape picking, stomping, vineyard tractor trips and wine-blending.

Others festivals of note are the Wacky Wine Weekend in early June, the Robertson Slow Festival in August and the Robertson Wine on the River Festival in October.

Montagu may be best known for its hot mineral springs, the Montagu baths, located two-and-a-half hours from Cape Town.

Its Arts and Crafts Route takes visitors around the small town to see and buy local crafts. A must on this route is a visit to Alpacasfelt, which offers luxurious alpaca products.

Protea Farm offers a tractor ride followed by a legendary potjiekos lunch, a traditional Afrikaans stew, along with homemade bread with jam.

La Mont dairy farm is located south of Montagu on the way to Swellendam on the foot of the Langeberg mountains. The farm has partnered with Van Loveren Cellar and offers an absolutely gourmet experience, with cheese and wine pairings as well as freshly baked bread and other locally produced delicacies.
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