Aeroplanes approaching Cape Town from the North often fly over Wellington. If you happen to be sitting in a window seat on the right hand side of the aircraft look down. You will see a mountain which stands like a lonely sentinel amongst rolling wheat fields. On the side nearest you there are two villages on the lower slopes of the mountain. A little further away there is a small settlement built round a railway junction. These are the villages of Riebeek Kasteel, Riebeek West and Hermon which make up the Riebeek Valley. The Riebeek Valley is one of the most popular tourist areas in the Swartland (see video "Scenes from the Swartland below).
The Valley is a magical place and has reminded many commentators of either the south of France or Tuscany. While this is undoubtedly true - being near the southern tip of Africa - the area has a character all of its own. The stunning scenery, the climate, the laid back atmosphere and interesting mix of friendly people together with a diverse selection of locally produced wine and port, olives, fresh fruit, meat and excellent restaurants plus a variety of shops, create a heady mix which it is hard to resist. Indeed a number of visitors have stopped and gone no further. A few nights in one of the many places offering accommodation is all that it has taken to convince them that this is the place that they want to spend the rest of their lives.
The community, (historically mostly involved in agriculture and associated activities) has been boosted by increasing numbers of Cape Town commuters, computer based businesses, artists, those working in the hospitality industry and older folk who appreciate the stunning scenery, wonderful climate and great country living. With a number of super annual events like the Olive Festival, Solo Studios Art Weekend and the Go-Kart Derby (see video below), there is often something fun happening in the valley.
There is nowhere that you can get right away from life's trials and tribulations, but staying in the Valley certainly helps to soften any blows! It is country living without the disadvantages that can result from the remoteness of many rural locations. There is loads to do both as a visitor and resident, and most services are available locally and those that are not, are available within an hour or so's drive.
It is a mixed and unpretentious community. People tend to be accepted for what they are. The eclectic Valley folk of all ages and backgrounds regularly mix on a social basis and there is ready acceptance of both newcomers and visitors.
So, if you are not already in the Valley, maybe now is the time to make preparations to set out... All this - and only about an hour's drive from Cape Town!
The Riebeek Valley is a little piece of paradise, nestled on the slopes of the majestic and beautiful Kasteelberg Mountain. The rural atmosphere of this quaint valley, coupled with the beauty of the area, is the perfect getaway from city life, with the quirky & friendly locals adding an interesting flavour.
Various people post to this blog page.