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Activities 15 things to do in Wellington 15 things to do in Wellington

Nestling at the foot of Bainskloof Pass with the majestic Groenberg and Hawequa Mountains in the background, the historic town of Wellington lies in a picturesque valley on the banks of the Kromme River.

With an abundance of possibilities to fill ones day whilst visiting our beautiful town in the Winelands we found it necessary to compile a list of our favourite “15 things to do in Wellington”. The Grand Dédale team is ready to assist in making arrangements for any of the activities listed below.

(1) Bontebok Ridge Game Reserve

Experience a game drive through unique fynbos and enjoy exclusive personalized attention. In the heart of the Cape Winelands where one seldom finds such serenity and calm space lies Bontebok Ridge Reserve, Wellington. This is part of the Renosterveld Conservancy in the Limietberg Valley. Appreciate some of South Africa’s wildlife in their natural habitat- bontebok, found exclusively in the Cape, mingle with eland, wildebeest, red hartebeest, springbuck, duiker, grysbuck, grey rhebuck, and other indigenous species. The majestic mountains add to the rugged appeal of the area. The zebra in the reserve are part of a revolutionary attempt to re-breed the extinct quagga; a zebra like animal with no stripes on the rump and legs but with identical DNA to the Plains zebra. The name quagga is derived from the Khoi-San people, which imitated the cry of the animal.

Relax and unwind in the tranquil surroundings and enjoy sundowners and other refreshments at the lapa overlooking the extensive dam.

(2) Foxenburg Organic Cheese & Olive Estate

Foxenburg Estate is situated on the spectacular northern slopes of the Groenberg Mountain just 15 minutes from the center of Wellington.  Here, a herd of Swiss Saanen goats is expressly maintained on the certified organic farm pastures for the production of premium quality goat’s milk cheeses. Various types, such as soft fresh Chevre, Chabris and cream cheese as well as aged-ripened hard cheeses such as Crottin, Shepherd, Caprino Romano and Foxtail are all produced by hand honoring traditional northern Hemisphere farmhouse cheese-making methods.Made from 100% whole goat milk, free of preservatives, hormones, antibiotics and artificial colourant, each cheese is manually checked and packaged, ensuring optimum quality.The Estate also produces organic olives and olive oil as well as oyster mushrooms. Estate tours and tastings are available by prior arrangement.

(3) Upland Organic Wine & Brandy Estate

Upland – the name comes from the English for Boland – is a small SGS certified fruit and wine farm that has been producing world class organic Brandy, Grappa, Port and Cabernet Sauvignon for over a decade. What makes Upland unique is the dedication of its owners. For the past eleven years, Dr Edmund Oettlé and his wife, Elsie, have faithfully implemented organic farming techniques. As Edmund says, for him, ‘Organic is primarily philosophical as opposed to agricultural.’ Organic farming needs to be economically viable and sustainable in the long term and therefore making use of natural fertilizers and pest control is not a quick-fix solution, but rather a slow, sustainable process. On your way out, don’t forget to pick-up one of Elsie’s beautiful African themed cards and a bag of Porcini mushrooms, which happen to grow on the farm as well. Estate tours and tastings are available by prior arrangement.

(4) Buffalo Ridge Mozzarella

There are only two farms in the southern hemisphere producing the original Italian Mozzarella from original Italian water buffalo, one being in New Zealand and one in Wellington, South Africa. The farm is run on natural principles with no pesticides, herbicides or other ecologically harmful substances allowed, technically organic, but not seeking certification. The buffalo are pasture fed, which is good for the animals and improves the nutrient content of the milk. Buffalo milk is higher in protein and calcium than cow or goat milk and is a viable option for people who are lactose intolerant. While the fat content of buffalo milk is higher, the fat content of the buffalo mozzarella cheese is lower than other cheeses due to the stretching process. During a visit to the farm the owner of Buffalo Ridge, Wayne Rademeyer, will give you some insight on how the buffalo are kept and fed and how the Mozzarella is produced. By prior arrangement only.

(5) Wellington Wine Walk & Horse Riding

The team consists of five enthusiastic and passionate members with equal interest in the enterprise. On each Wellington Wine Walk, you will be accompanied by two guides for the day, who will introduce you to the local personalities and products of the area by guiding you along private property and quaint routes, inaccessible to the general public. They promise to unlock many of the well-kept secrets of Wellington and trust that your walk will be a true and very rewarding experience – one well worth while coming back for! There are five different guided walks through the various Wellington Valleys and the surroundings, which can be combined to create anything from a half day walk to a 4 day walk. With the main focus on wine, there are also other local farm products available for tasting. The team of the Wine Walk can also organize horse riding trails from half day to three day rides.

(6) Hildenbrand Wine & Olive Estate

When Reni Hildenbrand bought the over 300 year old farm, olive trees were already planted on it. Not being a person to let opportunities go by Reni decided to put the olives to good use. After spending some time in Tuscany, she tried her hand at making olive oil. Today, Hildenbrand olive oils are sought after by oil connoisseurs across the country. Reni is also a certified olive oil taster and her first book “Olives and Oils in South Africa” was launched in October 2003. Rumour has it, that the oldest olive tree ever planted in South Africa is located right here on her farm!

(7) Bainskloof Pass

Visit the Bains Trading Post antique shop, enjoy the views from the top of the pass overlooking the Bovlei Valley and Wellington or choose one of the many hikes or walks provided by the Limietberg Nature Reserve which start at the top of the Bainskloof Pass. A range of short ambles to full day or overnight hikes are available. Some 102 000 hectare of fynbos-covered mountain slopes, challenging cliffs and indigenous river valleys make up the Limietberg Nature Reserve. The area is an important water catchment for the Breede and Berg Rivers. Small antelope, dassies, baboon and the occasional caracal and leopard do occur. You may also be fortunate enough to spot endemic birds such as the Cape Sugarbird and the Protea Canary, as well as the majestic Black Eagle. Or choose to take a dip in one of the many rock pools in the reserve and just relax!

(8) Bovlei Wine & Nature Valley

For an authentic Winelands experience head towards the Bovlei Valley in Wellington. Taste delicious wines on award winning Wine Estates such as Doolhof, Dunstone, Nabygelegen, Welvanpas or Bosman, many of which offer country style lunches and snacks as well. The Estates (except for Bosman) are in walking distance to each other, so leave your car at either of the Estates and explore the valley on foot or by bike! For the adventurous there is a 1 ½ hour mountain bike trail starting from Welvanpas which takes you up high onto Groenberg and onto Bainskloof Pass, through orchard, vineyard and pristine fynbos, offering the most scenic views. Take a camera! Two well marked walks, the river and vineyard walk start from Doolhof Wine Estate. Order your picnic basket at the Wine Estate and stop at any of the designated picnic spots along the river, or just laze on the lawns. For nature lovers, who prefer a more relaxed ambience, we suggest visiting Klein Optenhorst’s Gardens. The garden terraces from the stoep of the nineteenth century farmhouse lead down to a large farm dam with fine views of the surrounding farms that lie on the foothills of the Groenberg. With all the activities on offer turn a day visit into a week-end away and stay at any of the 4* and 5* accommodation available in the valley… namely Grand Dédale Country House on Doolhof Wine Estate, Bovlei Valley Retreat, Kleinfontein and Val du Charron.

(9) Shopping

Wellington offers a mix of fabulous shopping treats to visitors, boasting two leather factories producing beautiful and quality leather products such as shoes, handbags, book covers and other smaller articles. Furthermore there are glassware gift shops, art galleries, book shops and antique furniture rounding off a true shopping experience. After a day of shopping stop by at the Red Pepper Mill for a freshly baked croissant and other farm products, for the best coffee in town, visit the Coffee Republic right opposite.

(10) Wellington Wine & Brandy Route

The fact that the majority of South Africa’s vine-cutting nurseries (better known as “stokkieskwekerye”) are found in the Wellington area, is due to the excellent soils and climate of the region. The Wellington wine and brandy route is small and compact and the cellars within easy driving distance of each other. Only 45 minutes from Cape Town, the area is known as the heart of the Boland. Members of this route are all open to the public, some only by appointment, and will welcome wine lovers to come and taste their products in a friendly and informal atmosphere. Make personal acquaintance with the winemakers and learn more about their wines which have achieved many medals on both national and international wine shows. We cordially invite you to taste the Boland hospitality at our wineries where quality of life is restored in one visit! Therefore, after a visit to our Wine Route you will admit, like so many others, that you have been truly conquered.

(11) Wellington Museum

The museum features not only the cultures of various African ethnic groups but also prides itself in having ties with countries as far afield as America, England, Scotland, France and the Netherlands. It also exhibits Stone-Age and a major collection of Egyptian artefacts and various pioneers who made their mark on the history of South Africa. Visit the Museum and discover the age-old mysteries of Africa – artefacts, traditional ethnic tools, musical instruments and jewellery of the Sotho and Tswana amongst others, a unique collection of Egyptian artefacts dating back to the time of King Akhenaten (± 1375 BC).

(12) Jorgensen’s Distillery

At Jorgensen’s Distillery, Roger and Dawn Jorgensen lovingly handcraft a range of super premium spirits including Savingnac Potstill Brandy, PRIMITIV Vodka, Field of Dreams Absinthe, Naked Lemon Limoncello and Jorgensen’s Gin.  “We invite you to visit us anytime and learn more about our range of products; please do give us a call to make an appointment.”

(13) Wellington Golf Club

Wellington Golf Club was established in 1908 and is the oldest 9-hole golf course in the country, with a membership of 850 and a par 70 rating.  The club is well known for its warm hospitality and casual facilities, for its members and visitors. With stunning views of the surrounding mountains which add to a tranquil and serene atmosphere, this relatively flat parkland course offers many challenges with 10 holes and 18 tees. The pleasant climate and windless days contribute to ideal golfing conditions.

The club is committed to junior golf and works closely with the Boland Golf Union in its various programmes and also making its various facilities available to the local schools.

(14) Historical Buildings

Anglo-Boer War Block House This is the most southerly relic of the Anglo-Boer war. It was one of a number of fortified Block Houses built by the British to protect the railway line from boer commandos.

Cummings House (1896) This beautiful sandstone and granite building served as both residence and classrooms for the training of teachers. It still serves as a residence for students at the teachers training college.

Lady Loch steel bridge The very first all steel bridge built in South Africa and is still in use today.

The Dutch Reformed Church The old Dutch Reformed Church and the statue of Dr. Andrew Murray date back to the 1840’s. Andrew Murray played an imperative role in the community with the training of missionaries.

(15) Langkloof Roses

The scenic farm at the foot of the Groenberg Mountains offers a wide variety of exquisite cut roses. Stroll through the array of roses and select your personal choice before heading back to the rose building where you can watch the professional preparation of your roses by the friendly staff. A selection of beverages, pastries and cakes is available in the beautiful stained glass decorated tea room.

View the “15 things to do in Wellington” as a pdf.

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