Western Cape DestinationsRiebeek Kasteel, Swartland
Lying in the heart of the Riebeek Valley on the slopes of the Kasteelberg (castle mountain), Riebeek Kasteel is an easy 75 kilometre drive along the N7 from Cape Town in the heart of the Swartland Region.
It is believed to be one of the oldest villages in South Africa and indeed one could easily mistake the town and its accompanying valley for one set in the midst of the Tuscan hills of Italy, bathed as it invariably is in sunshine, particularly as it is almost equally as famous for its olives and Shiraz red wines.
Riebeek Kasteel has worked its charm on more than a few writers, painters, alternate life-stylers and other artists who have gathered here for the creative energy exuded by the peaceful village's beauty and serenity.
The town's name is a traditional mixture of Jan van Riebeeck and the Kasteelberg that stands firm in amongst olive groves, vineyards, wheat fields and sunshine virtually the whole year round. But there is nothing traditional about the vibrant community that lends the town such appeal and local shops, bistros, restaurants and art studios are well worth a visit.
Riebeek Kasteel's sister village, Riebeek West, lies really close to Riebeek Kasteel; it is but a few minutes drive from the one to the other. Together they make for an essential day trip from Cape Town and a wonderful place to spend a few idyllic days, even weeks, exploring the countryside - the towns of Tulbagh, Paarl, Stellenbosch, interesting wine estates and on as far as the West Coast Nature Park and Langebaan - all easily within reach of Riebeek Kasteel.