Riebeek West, Swartland

One of two comparable towns lying in the stunning Riebeek Valley - Riebeek West and Riebeek Kasteel - with views that have had many a day tripper making rash decisions to relocate, Riebeek West might be regarded as the Cinderella of the two, but has its own draw cards - beautiful old Victorian houses, peace and quiet, and easy access to local vineyards.

The Valley has become the mecca of artists, alternate life-stylers and young self-sufficients who work from home and commute to Cape Town, which is only an hour away.

This is the scene of rolling hills, vineyards, olive groves and wheat fields, where an annual olive festival and a vibrant community have added to the town’s appeal and predictably resulted in estate agents calling it ‘the new Franschhoek’.

The imposing mountain, after which the valley is named, was called Riebeek’s Kasteel way back in 1661, in honour of the then governor of the Cape. Huguenots settled here and inevitably planted vineyards in what is still a wine growing region today, whilst wealthier farmers retired in Riebeek Kasteel.

Riebeek West is all about a laid-back way of life, bread, olives and, wine. A slightly bohemian atmosphere has only contributed to the valley’s appeal. That, and the tranquil existence that offers a unhurried pace and a place to get away; to slow down.

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