Wellington, Cape Winelands

Wellington lies on the banks of the River Kromme at the foot of the Groenberg Mountain in a glorious valley just 45 minutes’ drive from Cape Town.

To the east are the majestic Hawequa Mountains and together these quiet monoliths watch over a valley that is quite literally home of the vines - almost 90% of the country’s vines are grown in vine-cutting nurseries (stokkieskwekerye) before they are transported elsewhere for planting.

Wellington once served as the last outpost of civilisation in the Cape before entering unfamiliar territory and was known as Limiet Vallei (frontier valley) and Val du Charron or Wagenmakersvallei (valley of the wagon maker) as it was here that wagons could receive attention before the start of a long and difficult journey.

Viticulture dates back to the time of the French Huguenots of the late 1600s, although the Wellington Wine Route is one of the youngest - launched in the mid 1990s. The wine route is small and cellars are easy driving distance from one another, making it extremely popular - head to the Wellington Tourism Office - housed in the Old Market Building dating back to 1847 and just one example of a range of historic building in the town - in Main Street for information about the route.

Sampling fruit other than wine is also on the agenda - Wellington’s berry farm has an array of strawberries, raspberries, youngberries and Cape gooseberries and, as well as guided tours, you can do your own berry picking.

The Limietberg Nature Reserve has nine different hiking trails through fynbos-rich terrain, and there are a number of wonderful scenic drives in and around Wellington.

And last but not least, the Wellington Wine Walk is a three-day hiking trail in the foothills of the Hawequa Mountains through vineyards, olive orchards, fields of buchu and vine cutting plantations with overnights in local Wellington guest houses.

Visit the Wellington Museum in Church Street and the Dutch Reformed Church. Beyond Wellington is the Bain's Kloof Pass which is a historical monument. Built by Andrew Bain in 1853, the pass links Wellington to Ceres and Worcester and the narrow winding road provides magnificent views of the valley below. The Wellington Tourist Bureau in Main Street will supply visitors with information on the area and its wine route.

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