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    Overberg Region

Welcome To Overberg Region

About Overberg Region

Within driving distance of one of South Africa's busiest cities, lies a region of contrasts and wonder. The Overberg has rugged mountain ranges, fynbos, rolling wheat and canola fields, and splendid coastal vistas. It is for you to reflect, discover and maybe even have the adventure of a lifetime.

Cool sea air flows across the Overberg region, bringing with it spectacular grape-growing conditions for producing award-winning wines. From Elgin to Elim, the Cape South Coast is speckled with wine estates, each offering exclusive wine tastings and cellar tours.

Within driving distance of one of South Africa's busiest cities, lies a region of contrasts and wonder. The Overberg has rugged mountain ranges, fynbos, rolling wheat and canola fields, and splendid coastal vistas. It is for you to reflect, discover and maybe even have the adventure of a lifetime.

The Overberg region of the Western Cape is most famous for its whale watching and varied scenery. Rolling hills, orchards, fynbos, sparkling canola fields and a rugged coastline with several sandy beaches all add to the area's aesthetic appeal.

Geographically, the Overberg is south of the Cape Winelands and south-west of the Klein Karoo. It is a wheat-growing area and there are few more beautiful sights than the first green flush of the new growth on the hills which are also home to the largest population of South Africa's national bird, the blue crane.

Cape Agulhas, a three-hour drive from Cape Town, is the most southerly tip of the African continent. It is also where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. There is a cairn on the shoreline, where visitors can stand with one foot on the Indian Ocean side and the other on the Atlantic side - an interesting photo opportunity.

Bathers are advised to stick to the warmer waters of the Indian Ocean, on the eastern shores of Overberg rather than brave the cold Atlantic Ocean. The town of Struisbaai boasts a long stretch of white, sandy beach; it's also a good bet for delicious fresh fish.

The Overberg coast is also known as the Whale Coast. Each year, from about June to November, southern right whales migrate to South Africa's waters to calve and nurse their young. Humpback whales also frequent the coastline and are generally spotted between May and December.

Towns like Hermanus have become famous for their whale watching viewpoints from the shoreline and from boats. Photographers who visit the area spend hours waiting for that perfect shot of a breaching whale.

Wine connoisseurs can explore the Elgin Wine Route, Hermanus Wine Route and the various estates in the Bot River area.

History-lovers should visit Swellendam, the third-oldest town in South Africa after Cape Town and Stellenbosch. The town, which lies at the foot of the Langeberg mountains, is home to more than 50 national monuments, many of them in the traditional Cape Dutch architectural style.

Nature reserves in the region include the De Hoop Nature Reserve, Agulhas National Park, Fernkloof Nature Reserve and Marloth Nature Reserve.

What you are likely to find
Driving southeast on the N2 from Cape Town, visitors will climb the Hottentots Holland Mountains via Sir Lowry’s Pass just after Somerset West. Fortunately, modern travellers have the luxury of a well-built highway, not like the early settlers who struggled over the mountain with ox and wagon.

Once on the other side of the mountain, the traveller will find a myriad of roads into the Overberg where the land, mountains, sea and people tell their own story. The Overberg is a region that stretches along coasts with beautiful beaches, and over mountain ranges with interesting geological formations, abundant birdlife and fynbos. The roads will take you on a journey through valleys with picturesque vineyards, orchards and beautiful landscapes of green, gold and brown.

Memories from the past – as illustrated by the Overberg’s rich collection of mission stations, ship wrecks and old architectural treasures – exist harmoniously with new developments in our towns, ensuring visitors find all they need.

The Overberg caters for sport enthusiasts and eco-adventurers alike, with its diverse activities on offer: tackle a 4x4 trail, dust off the old golf clubs, ride a horse, go on a sunset cruise, learn to fly fish, spot the whales or dare to go shark cage diving. For those who wish to spend their holiday at a more leisurely pace, enjoy our fragrant wines, sit back in our country gardens with a good book or relax in our natural hot springs.

Accommodation and restaurants are plentiful in the Overberg. All hungry and thirsty travellers are welcome. We cater for everyone’s budget – from backpackers and pub ’n grills to luxurious restaurants and romantic cafés with specialised cuisine.

So get away from the mad rush of your life and pay us a visit in the Overberg. Only here on our roads, do you have the freedom to decide whether to turn left, right, stop or drive on slowly.

Overberg Wine Region
The diverse landscape gives each winemaker something unique to work with, but overall, slow-ripening grapes burst with flavour and a distinctive coastal character.

The Overberg Wine region is best experienced with a leisurely tour, starting in the Elgin Valley, just 70km from Cape Town. From there, guests can choose which of the Overberg’s wine pockets they would like to visit, with Stanford, Hermanus, Bot River, Theewaterskloof, Greyton, Elim and Cape Agulhas each offering something unique to their region. Thanks to near-perfect situation, most of the wine estates along the way also showcase phenomenal sea views and exciting travel experiences.

Overberg on Horseback
The Overberg region of the Western Cape is still very removed from urban infrastructure, making travel by horseback seem a lot more authentic than it does in developed areas. Ride along the beach, ride up and down the mountains, and enjoy the fresh air while you do so.

With such a diverse range of natural scenery, the Overberg is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream destination. In addition to the expanse of ocean and the towering mountains, the colourful flowers and dense fynbos set the perfect scene for an unforgettable horseback trail ride.

The Overberg region is widely regarded as the world’s best for land-based whale watching, and seeing these ocean giants breaching while trotting along on the back of a horse is an appealing offering.

The African Horse Company owns 300ha of land in the Southern Overberg, on which their horses (Arabian, Friesian and saddler) roam freely when they are not being ridden. They have also been allowed access to a number of neighbouring farms and are able to offer guests an authentic outride experience as a result.

These rides can be anything from a one-hour trail ride, to a nine-day expedition. Meals and accommodation are included in the packages. These trips can involve up to seven hours of riding per day, giving explorers the chance to live like the pioneers who came to this region centuries before them. On the longer trail rides, there are a lot of opportunities for cantering and trotting.

'Why the rush?' is a question frequently asked by staff at the African Horse Company. Away from the hustle and bustle of the urban working world, life is much simpler in many ways and an Overberg horseback expedition will remind you of this. The guides on these rides have expert knowledge of the area and are trained in basic first aid. Book your ride today and connect with nature on horseback.

Overberg Blue Cranes
When you drive through the Overberg region of the Western Cape, keep an eye out for South Africa's national bird, the blue crane, that gathers in numbers on the wheat fields here.

During spring and summer, breeding birds can often be seen in the open wheat fields with their young ones. In late summer, they start to gather in large flocks but during the winter months they become more nomadic as they go in search of food.

Blue cranes are monogamous and are believed to mate for life. If you're lucky, you might catch them engaged in an elegant courtship dance with their wings spread wide.

The female usually lays two eggs and both birds sit on the nest until they hatch. It takes the chicks three to five months before they can fly and the parents will be extremely protective during this period.

But while these birds might look plentiful when seen in flocks, the fact is that the blue crane is vulnerable.

There are only around 25 000 individuals left in the world, about half of which can be found in the Overberg. They are susceptible to illegal trade, power-line collisions, habitat loss and poisoning and their numbers have dropped significantly in grassland areas of the country.

Overberg bird conservation took off in 1991 when Cape Nature Conservation and the Overberg community established the Overberg Crane Group (OCG) to promote the conservation of cranes within the region east of Cape Town The OCG runs an ongoing campaign to determine the conservation status of the blue crane.

They also work to reduce crane mortalities, address problems that the big birds cause to farmers, monitor the effectiveness of present conservation methods and promote the long term survival of blue cranes outside of nature reserves by providing information and advice to the public. Each year, keen birders also gather for an annual coordinated avifaunal roadcount (CAR) to establish crane numbers.

Overberg birding is generally very rewarding for local and international birdwatchers. Besides the sought-after cranes, keen birders should keep their eyes peeled for Stanley's bustard, Cape vulture, Agulhas long-billed lark, Cape spurfowl and southern tchagra.

Golf in the Overberg
Drive an hour south-west of Cape Town and you are in the awesome Overberg. This is a beautiful coastal regional boasting rugged mountains, the world’s best land-based whale watching, and five golf courses; Arabella Golf Club, Hermanus Golf Club, Gansbaai Golf Club, Theewaterskloof Country Estate and Kleinmond Golf Club.

Gansbaai Golf Club is Africa’s most southerly golf club and one of the Western Cape’s most affordable courses. The par-72 course has nine holes with 18 tees. Here the main challenges for golfers are the strong summer winds and the beautiful ocean views that may cause distraction.

The Arabella Golf Club is perhaps the most prestigious and exclusive of the Overberg courses. It comes with a selection of luxury accommodation, including the Arabella Hotel & Spa. An array of indigenous flowers brightens the landscape surrounding the 18-hole course, which borders on the Kogelberg Nature Reserve.

Hermanus Golf Club has the ultimate offering for ‘marathon golfers’. It has a 27-hole course, originally designed by the acclaimed Bob Grimsdell, with Peter Matkovich creating the extra nine holes in 2006. The course is also very challenging, with numerous narrow fairways that allow little margin for error off the tee. Hermanus is famous for its whale watching and golfers are very likely to see southern right whales frolicking in the ocean during their rounds at Hermanus Golf Club.

Theewaterskloof Country Estate offers a serene nine-hole / 18-tee course for those who enjoy fresh country air. The 10-year-old course is situated on the Theewaterskloof Dam and has an old-school charm about it, despite its youth.

Kleinmond Golf Club is rated as one of the best nine-hole golf courses in South Africa, due to the excellent maintenance of fairways and greens, and its superb mountain scenery.

Quick Facts

Located: Western Cape
Country: South Africa

Why go?

- The entire region is adjacent to the famous False Bay where you can enjoy shark-cage diving and visit Seal Island - one of the only places you will see a Great White Shark breach the water
- Visit Cape Agulhus, the most southerly tip of the African continent
- Whale watching
- delight in fresh fish at a variety of restaurants
- Photographers are known to spend hours at various whale-watching viewpoints
- wine connoisseurs can explore the Eglin Wine Route, Hermanus Wine Route and various other estates in the Bot River area
- History lovers should visit Swellendam, the third-oldest town in South Africa and home to more than 50 national monuments
- Nature reserves in the region include the De Hoop Nature Reserve, Agulhas National Park, Fernkloof Nature Reserve and Marloth Nature Reserve

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