The warm and welcoming Swartland area of the Western Cape encompasses a uniquely diverse geographic region, from the undulating hills of the Paardeberg in the south to the rolling waters of the Berg River in the north.
Here lie the charming historic towns of Malmesbury, Piketberg and Porterville, and the twin villages of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West, nestled on the slopes of the looming Kasteelberg.
Sweeping wheat fields – golden in summer, mint-green in winter – are punctuated by azure dams on working farms, and sheep and cattle dot the landscape. Huge swathes of natural vegetation burst with fynbos plants – proteas, restios and ericas – and the rich resident birdlife is complemented in spring by migrants, with steppe buzzards and blackshouldered kites common along roadside fenceposts.
In this little Mediterranean corner of the world, fruit orchards abound, vineyards carpet the slopes and olive groves nestle around unexpected corners.
This quietly charming world of abundance and colour welcomes visitors – to be cosseted in guesthouses BnBs, to feast on fresh and deliciously prepared local produce and, above all, to sample a wide range of palate-pleasuring wines.
It's close enough to get to – yet it's a perfect place to get away from it all. Only an hour's drive from Cape Town, the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route, established in 1986, offers visitors the kind of country comfort and hospitality that quickly sweeps away the stress of city living.
This South African wine gem is an ideal day-trip destination from Cape Town, while tourists heading towards the West Coast, the Northern Cape or Namibia along the N7 will find a detour along the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route a delightful journey of discovery. Here, visitors are welcomed as family.
Each producer on the Santam Swartland Wine & Olive Route offers guests a uniquely different experience. Its 20 members include cooperatives, private cellars, garagistes and wine merchants. Explore the winemaking history of the region at some of the historic estates or enjoy exquisite wine experiences at modern tasting rooms. Smaller wineries present intimate wine tastings in rustic cellars, while family concerns dating back generations will welcome visitors with the customary Swartland warmth and cheer.