Discover the magic of the Riebeek Valley and surrounds! The valley and surrounding areas, offer visitors an authentic South African country experience. The different towns which comprise the valley (Riebeek Kasteel, Riebeek West and Hermon) and the areas around it (Porseleinberg, Paardeberg & Malmesbury), offer a varied experience, from a really rural to sophisticated country encounter. Below is a short description of each little town, hamlet or area, to help you choose just the right place for your stay in this beautiful Valley and Surrounds.
Riebeek Kasteel & Riebeek West are two of the oldest towns in South Africa. Riebeek Kasteel boasts the oldest hotel in South Africa, the Royal Hotel, along with numerous well known eateries. The town is the more 'quirky, lively and arty' of the two towns, and is home to more or less 2700 residents including some of South Africa’s most well-known artists attracted by the picturesque surroundings of the valley and Riebeek Kasteel is especially popular for its aesthetic beauty and rural atmosphere.
The town is referred as “the best kept secret of the Western Cape” and "Franschhoek of 15 years ago"
Riebeek West was established as a parish of the Dutch Reformed Church in 1858. Small as it was, Riebeek West became the birthplace and cradle of two successive South African Prime Ministers. General Jan Christiaan Smuts (United Party), who served two stints as Prime Minister, and Daniel François Malan (National Party).
Riebeek West, which was always considered the wealthier area of the two towns, with larger more majestic properties, is the 'quieter' of the two towns, and is popular for rural tourism, arts and crafts, a quiet stay and retirement.
In 1704, Willem Van der Stel proclaimed farms in the Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeeksrivier areas to be allocated as border farms. The original farm stretched down the entire Riebeeksrivier road and, over time, the farm was divided into sub farms and sold to individual farmers. Today, there are numerous vineyard, wheat and produce farms along the road.
Hermon is small hamlet, nestled on the border of the Riebeek Valley. Located only 10 km from Riebeek Kasteel, and 8 km from Porseleinberg, the area is mostly rural, and the locals are warm and friendly. Of Hebrew origin, the name means 'elevated, 'exalted', the reference being to the biblical Mount Hermon. The relaxed atmosphere compliments the rural and simple beauty of the mountain backdrop, the rolling wheat fields, vineyards and wide open spaces.
The Porseleinberg & Paardeberg are two beautiful, intermittent mountin ridge areas on the outskirts of the Riebeek Valley. The Paardeberg divides the Paarl and Swartland wine regions. The Porseleinberg is on the opposite side of the ridge to the Riebeek Valley. Despite Riebeek Kasteel and the Porseleinberg being very close (as the crow flies), one has to travel from the Riebeek Valley, towards Malmesbury, and then turn left onto the R45 towards Paarl to reach the Porseleinberg, as to travel over the mountain ridge one requires a 4x4 and local farmers permission.
The Paardeberg & Porseleinberg areas are well known their rural beauty and boutique wines. The Porseleinberg is also known for the annual 4x4 Rally, organised by the Riebeek Kasteel NG Church.
While not part of the Riebeek Valley, Malmesbury is located in the heart of the Swartland. With a kaleidoscope of colours, bright blue skies, golden wheat fields, hills overgrown with sunny yellow canola and green vineyards, and the Spring flowers from June through September, the beauty of the surrounding regions will delight tourists. Golfers can look forward to the exciting new 18-hole competition golf course and country estate, which will soon grace the northern skyline of the town.
For the enthusiastic sportsmen there are 4x4 trails, game and nature drives, clay pigeon shooting and mountain bike rides.
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