Western Cape Tourist AttractionsThe Cape Overberg
Literally over the Hottentots-Holland Mountains via Sir Lowry’s Pass lies a region of such immense beauty that it attracts thousands of visitors a year to its orchards, forests, grain fields and vistas surrounded by rolling mountain ranges.
What would have been a momentous journey in days gone by is today simply a case of driving "over the berg" (mountain) and into the Elgin Valley, one of the major apple-growing areas in South Africa today. The Cape Overberg is a great expanse of beautiful and diverse landscapes.
The Overberg stretches from the Hottentots-Holland Mountains in the west, to Swellendam in the east. In the north it reaches as far as the Riviersonderend Mountains and ventures south to include an incredible coastline that draws regular annual visits from those great beasts of the ocean, the Southern Right and the Bryde's whales (also see Cape Agulhas).
From Elgin and Grabouw the N2 wends its way through the incredible Houw Hoek Pass en route to Bot River. Here one's journey can either continue inland via Caledon and Riviersonderend to Swellendam or south towards a coastline that is rich in beauty and fast becoming one of the most famous coastlines in the country.
The towns of Hermanus and Gansbaai are particularly popular during the whale season between June and December - Hermanus boasts the best land based whale watching along its cliff path as well as the popular whale crier, whilst Gansbaai is famous for sightings of whales and the Great White shark. Yet it is other more remote and lesser known villages that offer the true 'jewel' of the Overberg. Each and every one of them has something to offer the visitor and is pretty on the eye.
The Overberg fruit route takes one through the villages of Barrydale, Elgin and Villiersdorp; wine is a product of Bot Rivier, Grabouw, the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, Villiersdorp, Elim and Stanford; whilst nature reserves and gardens abound – the Harold Porter Botanical Gardens, the Kogelberg Nature Reserve and the De Hoop Nature Reserve.
Popular Towns in the Cape Overberg
Overnight? Accommodation in Arabella Estate
The Arabella Country Estate is a prime golfing hotspot that is situated just off the coast of the Western Cape. It is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, and less than 30 kilometres outside the whale-watching town of Hermanus. Despite...
More info and photographs: Arabella Estate Information
Stay? Accommodation in Baardskeerdersbos
The little village of Baardskeerdersbos is seated at the foot of the spurs of the Koueberge and the Bredasdorp- berge 25 kilometres from Gansbaai. It is also known as “B’bos” by those for whom the lengthy title that names not only the...
More info and photographs: Baardskeerdersbos Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Barrydale
The little town of Barrydale lies nestled at the foot of the beautiful Langeberge in the heart of the Tradouw Valley, close to where the northern exit of the Tradouw Pass winds through the mountains to meet Route 62, the longest wine route...
More info and photographs: Barrydale Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Bettys Bay
Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, Betty’s Bay is a picturesque seaside village situated along the scenic Clarence Drive Route (R44) between Pringle Bay and Kleinmond. The pretty town is positioned in a narrow strip of land sandwiched...
More info and photographs: Bettys Bay Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Botrivier
The small, picturesque village of Botrivier lies in the foothills of the Houw Hoek Mountains, en route to Hermanus. The Bot River, after which the hamlet is named, meanders its way through a fertile valley surrounded by mountains...
More info and photographs: Botrivier Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Buffeljagsrivier
Buffeljagsrivier is a very small town in the heart of the Overberg region of the exquisite Western Cape Province. It is an official part of the Overberg District Municipality as it is part of the historical and scenic little town of Swellendam...
More info and photographs: Buffeljagsrivier Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Caledon
Caledon is famous for its hot springs, discovered by the early Khoi-Khoi people before the Europeans attributed healing properties to the iron-rich waters and opened a sick house and later a sanatorium, which was destroyed by fire. The...
More info and photographs: Caledon Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Cape Agulhas
The rocky headland of Cape Agulhas is the place where two great oceans – the Indian and Atlantic – meet. It's also the spot at which to have one's photo taken at the official southernmost tip of Africa, where there is a stone plaque...
More info and photographs: Cape Agulhas Information
Overnight? Accommodation in De Hoop
The De Hoop Nature Reserve and adjacent marine reserve lie on the southern Cape coast between the towns of Arniston and Witsand, just 50 km east of Bredasdorp. This is one of the most biologically diverse sanctuaries in the world...
More info and photographs: De Hoop Information
Overnight? Accommodation in De Kelders
The little village of De Kelders, which lies just 5 km north of Gansbaai and about 25 minutes’ drive from Hermanus, has managed to remain largely immune to the large scale tourism that envelopes this part of the country, and is still...
More info and photographs: De Kelders Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Elgin
The Elgin Valley, one of the Cape’s most beautiful fruit growing areas, is literally an hour’s drive from Cape Town and one of the Western Cape’s better kept secrets in the sense that it is yet to be inundated with crowds over weekends...
More info and photographs: Elgin Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Franskraal
Situated right outside the shark cage diving centre of South Africa (Gansbaai), Franskraal is a quaint seaside village with an awesome array of things to do. These range from outdoors excursions for those who want to savour the gorgeous countryside...
More info and photographs: Franskraal Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Gansbaai
The unpretentious village of Gansbaai - named after a flock of wild Egyptian geese that are alleged to have congregated at the freshwater fountain next to the harbour - has a large reputation. Both Southern Right Whales and Great White...
More info and photographs: Gansbaai Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Genadendal
Genadendal is a quaint little historical village just six kilometres outside Greyton - one of the most popular towns to visit in the Western Cape. Genadendal is the oldest Moravian mission village on the continent and at its heart are the...
More info and photographs: Genadendal Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Grabouw
Reaching the town of Grabouw entails a mere hour’s drive from Cape Town over the Hottentots Holland Mountains with a descent into one of the most beautiful valleys in the Western Cape - the Elgin Valley - filled with flowers, fruit, fynbos...
More info and photographs: Grabouw Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Greyton
The peaceful little hamlet of Greyton lies surrounded by the Riviersonderend (river without end) mountains and farmlands some 90 minutes from Cape Town. Greyton is fast earning the reputation as a perfect weekend getaway. Lost in time...
More info and photographs: Greyton Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Heidelberg
Set on the banks of the Duiwenhoks River, with the soaring Langeberg peaks forming a dramatic backdrop, Heidelberg is a nature lover’s paradise and offers a peaceful and scenic atmosphere, particularly as the area remains largely unexplored...
More info and photographs: Heidelberg Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Hawston
Just past Hermanus, between Fisherhaven and Onrus, lies the village of Hawston, which is notably famous for its beautiful beach, more than the attraction Hawston might hold for visitors. The beach, tucked away in the little town, is truly...
More info and photographs: Hawston Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Hermanus
Hermanus, the world's foremost land based whale watching destination, is a thriving holiday resort offering residents and holiday makers all modern amenities, yet retaining its fisherman's village charm. The popular resort town of Hermanus...
More info and photographs: Hermanus Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Kleinbaai
The appealing little village of Kleinbaai has suffered the unmerited disadvantage of being the smaller of two towns that lie at Danger Point Peninsula, where shark diving and whale watching are world-renowned draw cards. As a result Kleinbaai...
More info and photographs: Kleinbaai Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Kleinmond
Kleinmond is within easy driving distance from Cape Town, along the scenic coastal road known as R44 or Clarence Drive, Kleinmond is a peaceful little village endowed with some of the coast’s most natural beauty. It lies within the UNESCO...
More info and photographs: Kleinmond Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Onrus
The Cape Overberg region in the province of the Western Cape comprises some of the most scenic and popular parts of South Africa. These include the shark cage diving Mecca of Gansbaai as well as the whale watching hub of Hermanus. Onrus...
More info and photographs: Onrus Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Pearly Beach
Pearly Beach is known for its wild beauty and serenity. Pearly Beach was, until recently, regarded as a remote seaside hamlet with no more than a few holiday homes and few permanent residents. The beach is uncultivated and scenic, with...
More info and photographs: Pearly Beach Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Pringle Bay
The little seaside village of Pringle Bay is one of the towns set within the natural beauty of the Kogelberg Biosphere, the only reserve in South Africa to be proclaimed by UNESCO, which supports over 1600 species of fynbos, 150 of which...
More info and photographs: Pringle Bay Information
Stay? Accommodation in Riviersonderend
Only an hour inland from the coast, Riviersonderend is marketed by some as part of the Garden Route, and it isn’t hard to see why the pretty farming village would want incorporating, even if technically it is hardly en route. This must...
More info and photographs: Riviersonderend Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Rooi Els
Rooi Els (sometimes spelt Rooiels or Rooi-Els), like its neighbours Pringle Bay, Betty's Bay and Kleinmond, borders the Kogelberg Nature Reserve, forming part of the larger Kogelberg Biosphere Reserve. The smallest of these towns...
More info and photographs: Rooi Els Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Sandbaai
Sandbaai is one of the newer suburbs in the Greater Hermanus area. It lies literally in a little sandy bay, hence its name, just past the L'Agulhas lighthouse. The village is only a stone’s throw away from Hermanus and to the east...
More info and photographs: Sandbaai Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Stanford
The unique little village of Stanford, overlooked by the moody slopes of the Klein River Mountains, lies just inland of False Bay, forming the tip of a triangle with the coastal towns of Hermanus and De Kelders. Peaceful and largely...
More info and photographs: Stanford Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Suurbraak
The little village of Suurbraak lies in a fold of the Langeberg Mountains just down from the incredible Tradouw Pass. It's a former mission village that gives the word 'quaint' new meaning, even if, on the whole, it also suffers from neglect...
More info and photographs: Suurbraak Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Suiderstrand
In the beautiful Overberg District Municipality of the Western Cape is the little settlement of Suiderstrand (which means "southernmost beach"). It has an area of some 1.4 square kilometres and is home to only a few dozen folk. Still, it...
More info and photographs: Suiderstrand Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Swellendam
Swellendam lies at the foot of the Langeberg Mountains and has become popular in recent times as a place to retire and as a retreat for artists seeking a lifestyle outside of the city rat race. One of the oldest settlements of colonial times...
More info and photographs: Swellendam Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Tesselaarsdal
In the heart of the Cape Overberg, roughly 21 kilometres from Caledon and the N2, lies the quaint, virtually unheard of village of Tesselaarsdal. It is one of those little towns that is close to everything - 38 kilometres from Stanford...
More info and photographs: Tesselaarsdal Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Vermont
The little village of Vermont is usually spoken of in the same breath as its immediate neighbour, Onrus, and indeed, the two lie close together on the coast where the Onrus River runs into the sea via a lagoon, just over an hour’s drive from...
More info and photographs: Vermont Information
Stay? Accommodation in Vermaaklikheid
If you have not heard of Vermaaklikheid it is probably better that you not know. Certainly once you do, you are sworn to secrecy, as this gorgeous escape from it all just 310 km from Cape Town in the heart of the Overberg Region, is the rarely...
More info and photographs: Vermaaklikheid Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Villiersdorp
Lying in the centre of a flourishing apple-growing region, which also happens to produce grapes, onions, peaches and apricots, it’s not hard to imagine Villiersdorp’s prettiness and its attraction to visitors. Villiersdorp lies between the...
More info and photographs: Villiersdorp Information
Overnight? Accommodation in Witsand
The peaceful, coastal town of Witsand (white sands) lies on St Sebastian’s Bay just off the N2 on the Cape South Coast, three hours from Cape Town and not to be confused with the Witsand Nature Reserve, which lies just west of the Langberg...
More info and photographs: Witsand Information